Net Neutrality: What does it mean? How does it impact PR?

Net NeutralityPhoto credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote this week.

The policy ensures “that no one – whether government or corporation – should control free open access to the Internet,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

The topic is dense and can be confusing for even the most tech-savvy of us all. Basically, the FCC proposal is that the Internet will be classified as a public telecommunications utility, meaning the government can regulate it.

This proposal also stipulates that Internet service providers are to be a neutral gateway, instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways and at varying costs—in other words, no fast lanes.

How It Impacts Communicators

  • The government guarantees protection against fast lanes to give consumers access to reliable, fast Internet connection
  • Regulations for service providers indicate that the government is backing communicators against greedy service providers
  • Companies will be forced to prove that all new services comply with the law, impeding the speed and reliability of service providers having to deal with the FCC’s regulations
  • Regulations could challenge investment in new Internet technology and infrastructure
  • If the Internet becomes unreliable, communicators may be forced to ditch social media and real-time, and revisit traditional communications vehicles instead

Reactions: For and Against

The ACLU’s legislative counsel Gabe Rottman says:

“This is a victory for free speech, plain and simple. Americans use the Internet not just to work and play, but to discuss politics and learn about the world around them. The FCC has a critical role to play in protecting citizens’ ability to see what they want and say what they want online, without interference. Title II provides the firmest possible foundation for such protections . . .”

Broadband for America, a group whose members include major Internet service providers is calling for Congress to intervene. Its honorary co-chairs John Sununu and Harold Ford Jr. say:

“The FCC’s decision to impose obsolete telephone-era regulations on the high-speed Internet is one giant step backwards for America’s broadband networks and everyone who depends upon them. These ‘Title II’ rules go far beyond protecting the Open Internet, launching a costly and destructive era of government micromanagement that will discourage private investment in new networks and slow down the breakneck innovation that is the soul of the Internet today.”

A post written by Comcast executive vice president David Cohen reads:

“We fully embrace the open Internet principles that have been laid out by President Obama and Chairman Wheeler and that now have been adopted by the FCC. We just don’t believe statutory provisions designed for the telephone industry and adopted when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president should be stretched to govern the 21stcentury Internet.” 

Verizon issued a statement written in Morse code and titled “FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet.” In a translated version of Verizon’s statement, the company rebuked the FCC for deciding “to change the way the commercial Internet has operated since its creation.”

Netflix said, “The net neutrality debate is about who picks winners and losers online: Internet service providers or consumers. Today, the FCC settled it: Consumers win.”

What are your views on the issue?

#TheDress — Black and Blue vs. White and Gold

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen this dress:


What’s the deal?

The dress first appeared on Tumblr with the caption, “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f–k out.”

Essentially, some see a black and blue dress, while others see a dress that is white and gold. Some see one combo at one time and later see the other. According to one poll on BuzzFeed, about three-quarters of respondents see white and gold.

Business Insider put the dress to the test on Photoshop, where it could not be susceptible to variations in genetics or eye strength.

Here is what they found:

Photoshop The Dress

Basically, one of the colors falls on the black/gold border and the other falls on the blue/white border.

The Science Behind the Dress: It has to do with the way human eyes have evolved to see color. Wired explains:

“Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors . . . Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object.”

While the system usually works just fine, this image hits some sort of perceptual border.

“What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.”

So when context varies, so will the visual perception. On a white background, most people will see blue, but on a black background, some might see white. 

One thing is for sure: it can drive a person crazy! Indeed, many were perplexed by the dress, which sparked a viral color debate and  storm of tweets:

The 21-year-old singer, Caitlin McNeill who originally posted the photo told Business Insider, “I thought my followers on Tumblr would maybe have a good reaction, but I never would have considered that Taylor Swift and Mindy Kaling would be tweeting about it.”

Brands got a piece of the dress, too:

What colors do you see?

Uber vs. Lyft

The competition between Uber and Lyft has been rough–I might even say cutthroat–but it hasn’t stopped Boston consumers from using these car-sharing services. So, I asked students at Boston University which they prefer, Uber or Lyft. See their hilarious responses, reasons, and interesting experiences, here.

What side are you on?? Comment here!

I’m a Blogger, and That’s OK.

Great post about the difference between press and blogger. Love the look and feel of this blog. He really tells it like it is.

Snark Attack

When I went up to pick up my press pass at HR Technology this year, I was told, instead, that I had been issued a blogger badge. This makes sense, since, well, I run a blog, but thought that the distinction between press and blogger was interesting. This argument, of course, has been going on since newsrooms started shutting down a few years ago and more and more publications turned to online content for revenue creation. But the fact that it’s still going on fascinates me.

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