For lesson 10 we are also reading Astra Taylor’s chapter “Unequal Uptake,” which focuses on whether the Internet has a democratic nature, and whether it is an equal space or not.
Let’s begin with whether the Internet democratizes the media, activism, and politics. I believe that the Internet does democratize the media, activism, and politics to some extent, however, there are always exceptions.
Every user online has the ability to create, post, and share what they believe is important, or will make a difference. By doing so, they are able to become a part of the media, and have the ability to make a difference. I believe that this the democratic part of the Internet.
Some examples would include the success of the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge. After countless videos, and celebrities spreading awareness, the organization was able to raise close to a billion dollars towards finding a cure for ALS. The ability for people to share their opinions with like-minded people towards a greater cause makes the Internet a powerful tool. Another example where this occurred was when social media was credited for overthrowing the Tunisian government. By look at these examples we can see that the Internet gives users the ability to make a choice, and by doing so they can have power to change the course of the media, activism, and politics.
However, there are times when we see this go the opposite way. A prime example of this is BP’s oil spill. They bought out search terms from Google that promoted sites with positive views on BP and the actions they were taking to clean up the spill. By doing so, BP’s sites could’ve pushed down other sites that might’ve provided a more unbiased view on the matter.
In addition to this, we see the Internet leading more towards a monopoly. If you’re familiar with the debates on net neutrality then you know what I’m talking about. If ISPs have the ability to control the speeds of different websites it could put smaller websites at a disadvantage. This could even affect large corporations whose site have huge amounts of traffic and as a result would get regulated by ISPs more.
So what are your thoughts on this? Do you believe that the Internet is a democratic space that provides every user with free and equal access to information? Are monopolies taking over the Internet, and is it a good or bad thing?
Let me know your thoughts, and I’ll get back to ya’ll soon with another post!