The FCC recently voted to end what is known as net neutrality. That’s the idea that all web traffic is treated equally. Finger Lakes Daily News dot com has the same ability to get its message out as does the New York Times.
Not any more. Now, the Times, or anyone else, can pay your local internet provider to prioritize its traffic over someone else’s. Nazi master of propaganda Joseph Goebbels wrote “He who runs the information, runs the show.” The people who ran the show before the internet came along want their show back and this vote just gave it to them.
First, the mass media. For most of the 20th century, a handful of entities decided what you were allowed to read, watch or listen to. The internet changed that. Now, the audience could talk back and even scarier, they could talk to each other. Now, when the media report on an event, someone who was there can say “no, that’s not quite how it happened.” Now, we are all the media.
Second, the people who pay for mass media, corporate America. Their advertising makes mass media possible. For years, corporate America said “buy our product, it’s great.” Then one day, someone on the internet said “no it’s not, I bought one and it broke.” Then, someone else said “mine broke, too.” Holy crap, the game changed overnight. The groundbreaking book “The Cluetrain Manifesto” talked about how businesses struggled under the new reality. It wasn’t enough to say your product was good, it actually had to be good. Your customers want to talk to you about it and if you want to stay in business, you’d better be willing to listen.
Third, the government and politicians. That statement you just made? It contradicts the one you made six months ago and I just posted the video to prove it.
The free flow of information has proven to be a pain in the ass for a lot of people and they’re more than happy to put the cork back in the bottle. Megacorp pays the major internet providers and now, that pesky consumer blog that says their products are junk and they’re major polluters? Seems to be loading pretty slowly. Get ready for a conservative internet provider to decide that Breitbart comes to you at lightning speed. The Daily Kos? That’s funny, it loaded just fine yesterday.
From now on, you don’t run the show any more. Goebbels would be thrilled.