Blog

First Post (January 14 2019)

Hola! My name is Annie Mai Love (pronounced Annie “My” Love). I was adopted from Hanoi, Vietnam and I now live in Stamford, Connecticut in the United States. I am a psychology major, and in my junior year at Syracuse University. My hobbies include, listening to rap/r&b music, writing, singing, and photography. To be honest, I did experience culture shock when I first came to Barcelona because everything here is smaller and complex compared to the U.S.

This is my favorite rapper: Dave East.

This tweet resonates with me because this is the type of person that I am.

The facebook page of another one of my favorite R&B artists: Trey Songz.

This is the website link to my favorite online store: Fashionnova.

This is a picture of my favorite place in the world: the beach.

beaches.jpg

 You have to live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, speak without offending

– Drake

Special Assignment: My Personal Social Media Experience While Abroad

Embarking on my study abroad journey, I knew that social media would play a vital role in not only me sharing my experiences with my friends and family, but also in creating an online digital identity for myself. I have built my personal online identity by the 2 principle concepts: action and interaction. The actions I have taken are posting my content, and I interact with other people such as my followers and my friends, as well as other digital influencers who I watch videos of. Social media is a very interesting concept, because it can portray your life in any way to strangers you’ve never met or people you barely speak to. It allows your viewers to be connected with you as you experience the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of life. On the contrary, there are benefits and downfalls to sharing your life with people via the internet. However, I use a lot of social media platforms on the daily and I knew when I went abroad that would not change.

The major platforms I used were Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. These platforms allowed me to connect my viewers to real life situations, places I’ve traveled to, and my subconscious thoughts. Snapchat, which allows you to record brief videos of where you are and send them to close friends and relatives, was something I did on the daily. I would keep up streaks, which was a feature to Snapchat, where you would create a streak if you consecutively snapchatted the same people every day. On top of that, a handful of my followers and viewers looked forward to my daily check-ins and updates about where I was in the world and what I was experiencing on a day to day basis. I loved that I could build a sense of connection with people who were also abroad like myself, as well as share and trade stories about our experiences. Social media also allowed me to keep in touch and be updated on my friends who were at my home university, my family in different parts of the United States, as well as my international friends.

Instagram had a similar function to Snapchat, but it also gave me a platform to showcase my photography skills and create my digital identity. Just like Snapchat, Instagram allowed me to record videos, but it also allowed me to take and post photos of the places I’ve traveled to and capture moments that changed my life forever. I created a narrative of my study abroad experience, by posting photos from my trips and activities, but also posting highlights of the places I have travelled to so that anyone can look back and view them. I am a lover and student of photography so capturing all the joys of my abroad experience was important to me, so that in the future I could look back and reflect on the things I accomplished and did while I was abroad. When you post these photos, anyone of your followers has the option to like and comment on the photo, which can really boost your self esteem. There were a lot of photos I took while abroad that really captured the essence of my happiness as well as my downfalls. One post in particular that was extremely popular was my Paris trip with my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. The pictures taken and the videos recorded while we were there really gave my viewers a look into my personal and private love life. It was already Valentine’s Day weekend where couples posted how much their significant other meant to them, so showing my viewers how romantic my weekend was really created a romantic aspect of my identity as well. I was thousands of miles away from my home, family and friends, but they still connected with me on this level because the idea and concept of love was highly relatable.

However, posting your happiness all over the Internet can create enemies because seeing the exciting activities that other people do via social media, makes it extremely easy to compare your life to other people’s lives. This can cause people to feel resentment towards you due to jealousy, insecurity, and the fear of missing out. I lost a handful of friends who used to be the closest people to me, however, they could not stop comparing their lives to mine. They would be so worried about what I was doing and wishing they could be doing the same, they made themselves miserable because they depended on me for happiness instead of creating their own. It is almost too easy to get lost in the lives of other people because you start to question your own life and actions and overthink if what you are doing is good enough compared to the people you see on your newsfeed, Instagram/Snapchat/Twitter feed, timeline etc.

But, on the other hand, Instagram was also a way for me to explain the negative parts about studying abroad in a judgment free way. On Instagram, you have the option of making multiple accounts and can control who follows you and who is informed on your personal agendas. This is called a “finsta” account aka “fake instagram”. I only allowed my closest friends to follow this account because I showed the uncut and raw version of myself and showed my extreme vulnerability. Through my vulnerability, I was able to express myself to people who I trusted without feeling shame or insecurity. With finsta, it also eliminates all the stereotypes, expectations and standards of what we call, Rinsta, aka real-Instagram. Finsta gives us a platform to talk shit, make fun ourselves, our lives, and vent to our closest friends all in a comical manner and in our own creative way.

Nevertheless, as I said earlier, Social media makes it extremely easy to compare your life to other people’s and to feel like you are missing out on things. Not only that, but also with Social media you grant people access to certain aspects of your life who do not necessarily care or appreciate the events. Also, when you portray a certain image or narrative on your social media page, people get fixated on that one specific image or occasion, and ignore everything else. What you see is not necessarily all that there is, and nobody knows the full extremity until they ask. Because of the lack of appreciation and care as well as assumptions made about what I posted during my abroad experience, I had to take multiple breaks from social media to clear my head. It was quite refreshing because I also realized that I depended on social media far too much for entertainment, that I did not pay attention to other things going on in my life. I logged out of my Instagram and Snapchat accounts for one week, and when I did click on the app, I never logged back in. It was repulsive in a way because I found myself clicking on the app about 3 or 4 times within half an hour. This social media break also made me realize that I do not always have to be updated on other people’s lives because I have my own life to worry about, care for and focus on.










Seventh Story: Big Data & The Future of Social Media

Social Media will influence the world as it consistently becomes more digital and wireless, and divide the world into groups of people who share similar interests that don’t have to be face-to-face. Social media will continue to connect people as the world becomes more technologically developed and advanced, while reaching new age groups and minimizing the digital and generational divide. It is hard to predict the future of something so complex, but we believe that artificial intelligence will be more present and grow more intelligent, making ordering things (plus other functions) available via artificial intelligence, brands will advertised on more stories and native ads will become more prevalent and more connected to your search history. Big Data is important and a useful and vital tool from a marketing standpoint because it allows us to understand and follow trends to make a profit. Although it can be seen as manipulative and invasive by using personal data for commercial gain, Big Data is also beneficial in health care, the government, for traffic flow, voting prediction and for other platforms like Netflix and Spotify. Although it is hard to predict the future of something so dynamic and complex as social media, using what we learned in this class we make these predictions and hope to see it in the near future.

Maggie Lesmes & Annie Love

Bibliography:

Abbott, Erica. “The Future of Social Media: 32 Experts Share Their 2018 Predictions.” Business 2 Community. December 11, 2017. Accessed April 09, 2019. https://www.business2community.com/social-media/future-social-media-32-experts-share-2018-predictions-01973207.

B.Simone – The One of a Kind Digital Celebrity/Influencer & the Honeycomb Framework

B.Simone, a comedian, recording artist, digital celebrity, influencer and promoter residing in Atlanta, Georgia, conducts a narrative of being a funny, single, and angry African-American woman who is attractive to appeal to female audiences. She is recognized by Nick Cannon’s American TV show on MTV “Wild N Out”, and other famous celebrities and uses this platform to promote herself, her beliefs and other products given to her by sponsors. B.Simone is an influencer because young females can relate to her without feeling judged or embarrassed.


Although with the help of other celebrities as well as the popular TV show gives her a promotional platform, she also engages with other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, to share her content with the world. On Instagram, she has 2.7 million followers– 69.4K followers on Twitter– 167K subscribers on YouTube– and about 300K followers on Facebook. Her presence on Instagram includes not only a sneak peek into her personal life, but also posting funny videos, promoting her beauty line (beautybyBSimone), promotion of other products and clothing, sharing her hashtag “#BSimoneTone” and videos of fans imitating her trademark tone of voice, as well as videos of her comedy shows and more. B.Simone also recently partnered up with the Zeus Network, and now promotes her own TV show on her Instagram page. Her presence on Twitter includes the promotion of her TV show also, as well as promoting her other social media pages, content and current videos, but her main focus is sharing/re-sharing her personal content and communicating with fans. On B.Simone’s YouTube page, you will find her music, funny challenges, vlogs, tutorials, etc. Finally, her Facebook presence involves B.Simone reposting videos from her other platforms, photos, memes, and reminders about her upcoming events and shows.

Social media is an excellent and proficient tool to promote yourself as well as brands and other products. According to a concept known as the Honeycomb Framework, the functionality and usage of social media can be broken down into 7 building blocks that can help understand user experience and implications for organizations [1]. These building blocks consist of identity, presence, conversations, sharing, relationships, reputation and groups [2]. Not only does this model help us understand the functioning of social networks, this model provides elements that should also be considered when attempting to design a social software [2]. The first building block of the honeycomb model is identity, which is something that represents the user. Presence signifies knowing if a certain identity is online or not [2]. Conversations are resources for communication and the extent to which users communicate with one another [2]. Sharing is the extent of how users exchange, share and distribute content [1]. Relationships are the extent to which users are connected with one another. Reputation is the extent of how users know the social standing, and also the content of others [1]. Groups are how users manage, maintain and form communities with others users who have similar interests [2].

In terms of the honeycomb model itself, the identity block is in the center because it is “the most basic requirement for any social system” [2]. Not to mention that elements of conversation and sharing reinforce the creation of an online virtual identity, because a user’s ‘reputation’ is influenced by what the user says, posts, and by whom the user interacts with [2]. The importance of the other building blocks of this model are essential, but not mutually exclusive and do not all have to be present in the chosen form of social media. Some social media sites utilize more blocks than others, and some sites only focus on a few. Social media systems normally use three or four of the elements, while focusing on one or two [2]. For example, for my influencer B.Simone, her presence on YouTube in terms of the honeycomb framework focuses on the ‘sharing’ element because the main purpose is to share, post and watch videos [2]. YouTube also utilizes the ‘identity’ aspect because users are able to make profiles with their favorite videos [2]. On Twitter, B.Simone utilizes the ‘conversation’ element by taking the time to communicate with her followers/fans by liking and retweeting posts from her fans. Twitter is the social media system that is more about ‘conversation’ than ‘identity’. Her Facebook page creates a ‘group’ because people have the opportunity to follow and like the page and participate in conversations with others who also are fans of B.Simone. B.Simone’s Instagram page also demonstrates the elements of ‘sharing’ and ‘conversation’ because they are visible on the content the user posts. Online users, including B.Simone and other influencers, effectively communicate, interact and collaborate with one another by not only sharing products, events and other ideas, but also their culture, preferences, interests and context of life [2]. B.Simone collaborates with other digital celebrities/influencers on Instagram about doing skits and videos together. Instagram live is also an outlet that is used for conversation, but also ‘presence’ because users know that the person filming live is online, and users can see other internet browsers tuning in online as well.

Identity may be the center block because it is the most basic requirement for social media systems, but I also believe that reputation is an important building block of the honeycomb framework. It is essential to know how people think of you in order to appeal to your followers, and for your content to be considered relatable and credible.

Bibliography:

[1] Oktavia, Tanty, Harco Leslie Hendric Spits Warnars, Suruto Adi. “Integration Model of Knowledge Management and Social Media for Higher Education.” Telkomnika 15. June 2017. https://search-proquest-com.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu/docview/1925417239/fulltextPDF/AB53449094C54623PQ/5?accountid=8117

[2] Pereira, Roberto, Baranauskas, M. Cecilia C., Pereira da Silva, Sergio Roberto. “Social Software Building Blocks: Revisiting the Honeycomb Framework.” July 2010. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224827639_Social_software_building_blocks_Revisiting_the_honeycomb_framework


My Horrendous First Attempt with Wikipedia

Wikipedia, a website that everyone knows, and a site that I thought was easy to write on and edit, however, it is not as easy as I thought. I had not realized that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I always thought that encyclopedias were giant books with lots of information, not a website. To start the process of making my own page, I had to think about what I wanted to write about. Now, this topic had to be something that did not already exist on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia said not to write about anyone you know, I still chose my father because he had sources online that could give credibility to what I was saying.

That being said, in the process of creating this Wikipedia entry I have encountered several issues that have made this process very tedious and complicated. The first problem being that trying to write the code for my footnotes to appear correctly was extremely complicated in the beginning. The tedious process of switching back and forth between the Wikitext Cheatsheet with the coding information and the actual draft to check if I was doing it right was exhausting. Especially when I would make small mistakes and it would not be in the correct format, I would have to scan the entire sentence or paragraph to find what was wrong with my coding. After every piece of information where sources needed to be cited, I had to type out the code and put the URL. There was also information that I could not find online and there were no ‘credible’ sources that could provide evidence of the accuracy. This information would be like my father’s birthday, or where he is from and things about his family. This was a lot for my brain to handle already, so the first day I attempted this I got very frustrated and had to pick up where I left off another day. Another thing that I came across that was very hard, was that no matter what I tried I could not figure out how to correctly format my references at the end. So they ended up just being numbers with smaller letters and numbers beside them. I was just happy that something showed up.

The second issue I had with Wikipedia, is that it does not let you save the draft you are working on, even though it gives you the option to save it. Maybe it could have been my computer glitching, but it never worked and I had to save what I wrote from the draft, including all of the codes at the end of the sentences, in a Google Doc. The page says, “this is only a preview; your changes have not yet been saved! –> go to editing area” and when I clicked on it, it would just take me back to the bottom of the page.

Another issue that I ran into was on how to organize my thoughts on the page and what I wanted to write about. Information is limited when it comes to choosing what to write about because there are not sources for everything when you write about a family member/someone that you know. Wikipedia said not to use someone’s own website because it is not considered ‘credible’ but I used his website from his company anyways. Not even sure if that is allowed or not.

Wikipedia works in more complex ways than I had originally thought. They have a whole list of content guidelines. These guidelines include: anarchism referencing guidelines, policies on writing autobiographies, guidelines on how to cite your sources, guidelines on days of the year (depending on what time it is in your residing country), guidelines for accuracy, external links, content forking, fringe theories, policies on creating hoaxes, guidelines on selecting reliable sources, logos, copyrights, plagiarism, public domain, scientific citation guidelines, and many others as well that are listed below —

Now listed above are the general guidelines, but in terms of guidelines for making your first article, they are as followed:

  1. You must first register for an account on Wikipedia
  2. Consider something easier than writing a biography about a living person because those articles are the hardest to get right
  3. Search for an existing article in your topic because you cannot repeat
  4. Ask yourself, “does my topic belong in an encyclopedia?”
  5. Make sure you have high-quality sources
  6. Be mindful of conflict of interest – if you have one you will probably have a hard time writing a Wikipedia article that is good enough
  7. Things to avoid: articles about yourself, family or friends, advertising, attacks on a person/organization, personal essays, online research, non-notable topics, a single sentence or only a website link
  8. Be careful about: violating copyright, good research and citing your sources, articles about living people, advocacy and controversial material, organization, local-interest articles, breaking news events, editing on the wrong page
  9. Editors must be volunteers, and cannot be paid directly or indirectly
  10. Create your draft

Memes: A Sports Meme and Story No One Will Ever Forget

The term “meme’ was created by an evolutionary biologist known as Richard Dawkins, in his book called The Selfish Gene. It discusses cultural material and how Dawkins observed that fashion and customs evolve so quickly that they act in the way genes evolve. Due to the fact Dawkins was so interested in how such influential norms could change so rapidly, Dawkins broke down cultural products into units and called them memes [4]. These memes included: ideas, catch phrases, tunes, fashion, etc. and explained that “memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process that can broadly be called imitation” just like how genes propagate themselves by jumping from one body to the next [5]. Other marketers and theorists use the term “meme” as a description for specific Internet trends. According to Dawkins, certain memes will be more successful than others because they fulfill a cultural need or are focused around a specific situation [4]. The fate of memes depends on the selective forces that act directly on the physical platforms that embody them [2].

In today’s media, contemporary memes are separated into two groups: viral videos & memetic videos. Viral videos, for example, the song “Gangnam Style” which became a huge hit from its origin country Korea and world-wide. Memetic videos are simply extensive creative user engagement that come in different forms such as parody, pastiches, mash-ups and other derivative works [4]. While some memes are only trendy photos or videos that get passed around, others encourage a type of imitation and satire that can spawn thousands of variants. Only then, can memes become raw material for innovation. Memes tackle the key logics of online culture: sociability, replicability and participation; while they spread through an affective bond and circulate through everyday communication channels [4].

The most common type of meme that people see on the internet is referred to as an image macro, which consists of text superimposed on an image. This makes each individual element easy and accessible for modification. Any person can make changes to stock image macros, but only original, funny, creative and or surprising contributions will be shared, liked and spread [6]. The meme I will be discussing is the Lebron James and J.R. Smith NBA finals meme.

This is a meme that has been modified countless times over and over again with different text linked with the image. The origin of this meme derives from the first game of the 2018 NBA Finals. The matchup was between the Cleveland Cavaliers, James’ and Smith’s team, and the Golden State Warriors. The score was tied and the Cavs had possession of the ball, there was 4.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the game when JR Smith got a rebound of the ball from a missed free throw. Instead of Smith shooting the ball to potentially win the first game, he dribbled away from the basket because he thought that his team was up a point and that Cleveland had already secured their victory. Unfortunately, the game went to overtime and Cleveland fell to the Golden State Warriors 124-114 [3]. Smith’s teammate James, immediately displayed total exasperation towards Smith, and his reaction quickly became viral [1]. Smith admits his blunder to being an honest mistake, but James the Internet felt otherwise.

This meme has undergone many modifications with text and other witty idioms/concepts that people can relate to. The whole idea around Lebron James’ reaction that turned into a meme is the face he made at the time which illustrates a feeling of disbelief.

Even a bunch of NBA players who were watching from afar, commented their reactions about this blunder on their social media platforms [1].

Although in the end, all have forgiven J.R. Smith for his misunderstanding/unawareness of the score, the Internet and no other person will be able to forget what happened.

  1. Bieler, Des. “JR What are you doing!: NBA Players were stunned by J.R. Smith’s Game 1 gaffe.” The Washington Post. June 1, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/06/01/jr-what-are-you-doing-nba-players-were-stunned-by-j-r-smiths-game-1-gaffe/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.345e6537a8da
  2. Dennett, Daniel C. “Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48, no. 2 (1990): 127-35. doi:10.2307/430902.
  3. Gleeson, Scott. “Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith opens up about NBA Finals blunder: It was an ‘honest mistake’.” USA Today. September 26, 2018. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/09/26/jr-smith-cavaliers-nba-finals-blunder-warriors/1430220002/
  4. Marwick, Alice. “Memes.” Contexts 12, no. 4 (2013): 12-13. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/24710851.
  5. Holdcroft, David, and Harry Lewis. “Memes, Minds and Evolution.” Philosophy 75, no. 292 (2000): 161-82. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/3751809.
  6. Zenner, Eline, and Dirk Geeraerts. “One Does Not Simply Process Memes: Image Macros as Multimodal Constructions.” In Cultures and Traditions of Wordplay and Wordplay Research, edited by Winter-Froemel Esme and Thaler Verena, 167-94. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/j.ctvbkjv1f.10.

Do Media Literacies Help or Hinder Millennials ?

The misconceptions about the Millennial generation, or digital natives, is that we lack work ethic, are impatient, self-centered, impulsive, and have everything easy and accessible among other things.

However, people do see millennials in a positive light as well, describing them to be more accepting of diversity than past generations, are capable of handling complex and advanced communication and technologies, have more precise problem-solving skills, have better collaboration skills as well as fresher perspectives on things than people of older generations (3). Despite the negative things people say about millennials, with the help of media literacies and technology and a younger, more refreshing perspective on the world, millennials have all the potential to be even more productive and organized than the older people in the workplace.

The defining characteristic that distinguishes millennials from anybody else is that we were the first generation to be immersed in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) that will last for the rest of our lives. Therefore, digital natives are fluent in the language of technology and using this technology in many innovative ways (1). This technology, also referred to as media literacies, which have been defined as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and effectively communicate in a variety of forms that include print and nonprint texts is very beneficial to how young people learn and become informed citizens. Although, media literacies do not mean soley learning with or through technology, it is essential that media literacy teaches about media itself, as well as the the language, codes and conventions it uses along with its narrative (1). The importance of learning through media is important to practice two reasons: the first being students who can analyze and understand the meaning of printed texts may not find it as easy to understand sound, images or multimedia texts; and secondly the fact that students have different strengths, the usage of sounds and images encourage them to go beyond their comfort zones of printed texts (1). Media literacies do far more than just emphasize analyzing and and evaluating media texts, but also focuses on media audiences and seeing young people as consumers and creators of media messages. This concept is very important because millennials are accustomed to living and working in a multimedia environment (1). Media literacies also recognizes the pleasure derived from from media texts beyond academic environments and highly values the exposure it gives to popular culture which plays an important aspect in young individuals’ identities (1).

Now that the importance and benefits of media literacies have been examined, we now must examine the downfalls of digital natives in the workplace. Although digital natives are more effective in areas like multitasking, filtering information, and responding to visual stimulation, they are less masterful at face-to-face interaction and deciphering nonverbal cues (2). Millennials’ brains have been hard wired by technology and media literacies which makes it hard to interact with the world without that technology. In other words, digital natives have become extremely comfortable with all the technological gadgets, therefore they lack the experience of delivering engaging presentations without the help of technologically enhanced visual cues (2). Millennials believe that everything can be readily found on the Internet, without being aware of the accuracy and validity. Consequently, this causes a lack of motivation to seek more nuanced answers. Taking all of this into consideration, millennials have been significantly shaped by the Internet, full of different vocabularies, resources, and forms/patterns of communication (2).

It is evident that millennials have all the tools and resources to prove how productive they can be in the workforce, but these tools are still controversial in how effective they truly are in being efficient. We can see how media literacies benefit the youth in becoming well informed citizens and and playing an important role in establishing young people’s identities. Learning through media helps young minds get out of their comfort zones, and become dynamic students in learning not only with printed texts, but multimedia texts and images. Media literacies also emphasize individuals being the creators and consumers of media as well as providing exposure to popular culture and current events. In contrast, because millennials have been programmed to by technology and the Internet, it can cause individuals to lose sight of how things were done before the age of technology. Also, it can result in a lack of experience and motivation to complete tasks without the help of media literacies, in addition to a reluctance to step outside the box to find the answer. It has been said that, “if millennials are going to become valued knowledge workers, they must learn not only what information to gather, but also how to verify and understand it in context. In order to analyze, synthesize, and represent that information in a way that is relevant to the problem at hand, they will need to know more than how to scan; they need to learn to read deeply and between the lines. To do so, they will have to draw on history, books, education, and the theoretical grounding and experience base that older generations can provide” (2). According to this above quote, millennials must learn to problem solve with old-school tools and go back to the books in order to be valuable and knowledgeable employees. Subsequently it has also been said that, “as technological devices, web-based search capacities and web enabled mashups continue to evolve, millennials, as early adapters of emerging technologies, may have an advantage in instinctively understanding and building upon their potential applications” (2). After hearing both quotes, it could go positively or negatively for digital natives in the professional world, I believe it all depends on the balance of knowing how to do things according to today’s age and how people used to do things in previous generations.

Bibliography

(1) Considine, David, Julie Horton, and Gary Moorman. “Teaching and Reading the Millennial Generation through Media Literacy.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 52, no. 6 (2009): 471-81. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/20468390.

(2) Hershatter, Andrea, and Molly Epstein. “Millennials and the World of Work: An Organization and Management Perspective.” Journal of Business and Psychology 25, no. 2 (2010): 211-23. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/40605780.

(3) Myers, Karen K., and Kamyab Sadaghiani. “Millennials in the Workplace: A Communication Perspective on Millennials’ Organizational Relationships and Performance.” Journal of Business and Psychology 25, no. 2 (2010): 225-38. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/40605781.

What’s the Deal with Net Neutrality?

The controversial topic of net neutrality has been debated by many people, whether it be politicians, scholars, bloggers or famous icons. But what is net neutrality? Why is it important? In a general sense, net neutrality aims to address concerns raised by some specific behavior of the broadband service providers such as: (1) blocking of some content providers; (2) preferential treatment of one content provider over another; and (3) transparency failures, whereby a broadband provider fails to notify its customers and content providers what service they offer in terms of estimated bandwidth, latency, etc” [1]. Net neutrality is important because “net neutrality levels the playing field so that anyone with any idea or story, regardless of how much money they have, will be able to share it, just by having access to the internet”. Depending on how the Internet continues to expand, phone companies could sell access to different parts of the Web at different prices, slowing down or speeding up access to certain content [3]. Therefore, the possibility of online platforms being charged more for content delivery through “fast lanes” or “prioritization” undermines the idea of a level playing field [4].

As said earlier, without net neutrality, those ISPs (Internet Service Provider) would have the power to block their consumers from visiting those petitions or slow the delivery of the websites, which make a significant impact on accessing educational content, fundraisers, petitions, etc [4]. Everybody should have access to the Internet, because while it is regulated appropriately, the Web drives economic progress and knowledge. It is where new businesses thrive and where government transparency and efficiency. It is also the most important venue for global culture and information, where histories are found alongside people’s personal narratives, and where education is accessible to anyone. The Internet is empowering to everyone where individuals can seek advice from peers and prosper in all trades [3]. According to, “The Debate on Net Neutrality: A Policy Perspective”, supporters of the concept of maintaining net neutrality explain that online startups would not be able to pay the proposed fees when their revenue streams are almost nonexistent, because they have to give away most of their content to build a loyal customer base. Other venture capitalists also argue that putting an end to net neutrality would result in potential entrepreneurs becoming more hesitant to start a business which could hurt the competitiveness of American online firms in the long run [1]. Tim Berners-Lee, known as the founder of the World Wide Web, favors net neutrality, because “the Internet is the basis of a fair and competitive market economy” [1]. If Internet Service Providers offered services to their consumers at rates that undercut competing rivals, they would also struggle to remain competitive if they were required to pay these fees [1]. Therefore, if consumers were to have a prioritized access over others and ISPs gave out rates that would sabotage other companies, it would become an extremely unfair market economy. Nobody wants to charged more money, and nobody wants slow Internet access.

Bibliography

On the contrary, ISPs argued that they have given their resources to maintain and upgrade physical infrastructure to provide the services to consumers, while the popular websites have thus far gotten a “free ride” on their resources and that the ISPs should be allowed to strike deals to give certain websites or services priority in reaching computer users” [1]. In some instances, ISPs take on the idea that the new payment mechanisms might prelude the beginning of new business models that demand priority access/treatment and that the “vertical integration of new features and services by broadband network operators is an essential part of the innovation strategy companies need to use to compete and offer customers the services they demand” [1]. Basically, the ISPs argue that Internet users have had privileged or “free” access to the Internet and that these fees will incite new competition to give consumers what they demand and they deserve. ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T oppose network neutrality regulations because they claim that these regulations would discourage investment in broadband networks [2]. The logic behind this claim is that those companies would have no incentive to invest in network capacity unless content providers supporting bandwidth-intensive multimedia applications pay a premium for heavy Internet traffic [2]. In other words, they face an evident “free-rider” problem, unless content providers who support bandwidth-intensive Internet traffic pay a premium. However, net neutrality regulations could actually boost the incentive for ISP capacity expansion because it relieves the need to obtain the priority right and unfavorably affects the ability to acquire fees from content providers. Therefore, as content providers’ margins increase and Internet Service Providers’ bargaining power becomes stronger, it becomes more likely that the ISP will have more incentives to invest in neutral network [2].

[1] Cheng, Hsing Kenneth, Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay, and Hong Guo. “The Debate on Net Neutrality: A Policy Perspective.” Information Systems Research 22, no. 1 (2011): 60-82. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/23015624.

[2] Choi, Jay Pil, and Byung-Cheol Kim. “Net Neutrality and Investment Incentives.” The RAND Journal of Economics 41, no. 3 (2010): 446-71. http://www.jstor.org.unh-proxy01.newhaven.edu:2048/stable/25746037.

[3] Larsen, Solana. “Who Saved The Web?”. Last modified August, 4 2016. Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. https://webwewant.org/news/who-saved-the-web/

[4] Perri, Jonathan. “Why we need net neutrality in order to change the world”. Last modified December 7, 2017. https://mashable.com/2017/12/07/net-neutrality-digital-activism-free-speech/?europe=true#FuP5DXayHiqA