Net Neutrality- Is it a Good or Bad idea?

Net neutrality has become quite the hot topic in recent months due to the fact that it may affect what we get to do on the web. Right now, there are no restrictions of any kind on access to content on the internet, we can download or upload content freely, and have no restrictions on communication methods such as email, chat, instant messaging, etc. Net neutrality ensures that access to the Web and its content will not be blocked, slowed down, or sped up depending on where that access is based or who owns the access point. 

 

Most households in the United States have access to only one, maybe two ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in their local area. If net neutrality came to an end, internet service providers would have the authority to regulate Internet access, and since the consumer would most likely be unable to choose a different service provider, they are now put in a position where they have to pay their designated ISP more money to gain access to the internet “fast lane.”

If you take away the openness of the internet, it ceases to be the internet. It becomes clickable cable television and we will find ourselves buying our subscriptions to certain blocks of websites. Obviously, businesses have a right to influence free speech, but should the telecom companies own all of the internet just because the content has to cross cables and equipment that were developed with massive government support? NO.

In the year 2014 the internet is essential, if not required, for conducting business, communication, education, etc. If the internet disappeared in the US only tomorrow, we wouldn’t be able to compete with other companies on a global level any longer. That same principle should apply if equal access to the internet was not granted for all here in the U.S.A. Think about all the electronic banking/financial transactions that take place on the web? If the internet wasn’t so important the NSA would not be monitoring it either. Bottom line: The internet needs to remain a neutral arena.

What I Read This Week- Chelsea Handler calls Instagram sexist for taking down her topless photo

For years audiences have enjoyed the, often crude, humor of comedian Chelsea Handler. Recently she posted a topless picture mocking Russian president Vladimir Putin. Just minutes after posting the picture Instagram workers deleted it stating Handler violated their terms and conditions. She responded by stating Instagram is sexist and shortly after deleted her account with them.

calm down

While I do agree that men and women should have equal rights, I think Handler made one mistake in her fight with Instagram. She stated that her first amendment rights were violated however the First Amendment doesn’t state you can say anything you want to say. The 1st Amendment protects you from your government censoring you. Unfortunately Facebook owns Instagram, not the American government.

A woman should have the right to choose how she represents her body — and should make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. Handler personally stated what she is doing is NOT arguing woman’s rights but she is arguing the cites censorship of what she is allowed to post on their site which they have rules and policies in place that she agreed to when she registered to be on the site. My advice to her as well as anyone else who has been censored by any social network should read their terms and conditions before creating a profile. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with women showing a part of their body, but there is nothing illegal about what Instagram is doing. They are a private company who has their own guidelines, therefore, they can do what they want. The 1st Amendment protects you from the government not from private companies.

Slacktivism in Social Media

Social media is defined as the democratization of content and a shift in the role that made humans in the process of reading and disseminating information. Gone are the days where we as humans mainly communicate with others through physical interaction. Today’s young adults live a life caught between two worlds: the physical world of human interaction and the digital universe that sits just a mouse click away. This is an age in which entire relationships are formed over online digital platforms, and a single person’s opinion can be broadcasted worldwide in a matter of seconds. Lately, the freedom of expression that social media has given young adults has triggered interesting behavior among users of such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter. The term “slacktivism” was created in 1995 by Dwight Ozard and Fred Clark. It is defined as an expression of doing something in support of an issue or cause that requires minimal personal effort, and is now used to describe this new behavior; where everyday activists broadcast their different causes to the Web to gain exposure and support, and users believe they’ve done their part to support the cause by commenting or tweeting about it. Every day, hundreds of new pages or videos are created and shared on Facebook and Twitter and passive online supporters are quick to hit the ‘like’ button, but is that really enough? The question that is raised today is; can social media activism have a tangible effect on real problems?

It’s easy to notice the change in how our generation communicates with one another in comparison to older generations. My parents grew up in an era where the primary source of interaction was with each other in person or over the phone; nowadays that level of physical interaction has been greatly reduced. Social media networking sites has changed the way in which we communicate and the interaction we obtain face-to-face.

With the lack of physical interaction, it becomes increasingly difficult to truly get to know a person which leaves us with the question of; how do we find out more about on another? We create an opinion about who a person may be based on their digital profile. Some examples of this would be your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile. And much like when you fill a house with furniture that reflects your style, one will fill their digital profile with elements that they believe make up who they are. Everything from the decorative colors you use to the pages that you follow or ‘like’ is indicative of the person you are. People use digital profiles to bring awareness and support to a cause however some of us take a more passive route to show support for the causes we believe in. Our digital effort gives us a false sense of feeling very useful and important but in essence we have zero social impact. It takes nothing to join yet another Facebook group so we click “yes” without even blinking, but the truth is that it may distract us from helping the same cause in more productive ways. Our efforts to lend a helping hand to the cause ends there instead of getting out in the world and really making a change.

I’m sure everyone in America is privy to a recent trend in the media called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If not, I can easily sum it up by saying one will pour a bucket of ice water on themselves after nominating other people to do the same challenge; most choose a few friends to participate. The deal was: if nominated you had 24 hours to complete the challenge or donate $100. However this exchange quickly evaded most people. Pouring ice water over one’s head hardly begins the journey to benefit this cause on top of organizations dedicated to researching a cure for this disease not receiving extra funding. The purpose of the ice bucket challenge was to bring awareness to ALS, a disease that didn’t receive much recognition in comparison to other diseases such as Breast Cancer. Ultimately this goal was achieved; it had people who never heard of ALS prior to this year finally becoming aware of it. It quickly became popular in the media once celebrities started participating and nominated other influential people. However, bringing only awareness to a cause is half the battle. What really makes a difference are fund raising events, just talking about an issue isn’t enough anymore.

als

So again I ask; can social media activism have a tangible effect on real problems? To that I’d have to say NO. Social media helps bring awareness of an issue but I don’t believe any actual changes occur even with awareness. Out of one million people who believe in the same cause, only a handful will actually dedicate the time and effort to help. Others think they did their part by reading a clip of information about it.