Break the Internet

A few weekends ago, before the Westchester County elections, everywhere I looked I saw lawns dotted with George Latimer signs.

Latimer is a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Democratic county in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. Yet he had an uphill battle against multi-term incumbent Republican Rob Astorino. This is proof that in local politics, candidates aren’t fighting on the issues, they are fighting everyone’s natural tendency to stay home.

And all I could think was: since turnout is the problem, why do those signs say “Latimer for Congress” and not “Vote Latimer for Congress on November 7th and here is where you vote if you’re seeing this sign.” (Nevertheless, Latimer won).

It’s the same thing with Net Neutrality. We have this vague sense that it is a good thing, but the people who care more about it than we do are winning, mostly because we are willing to stay home on the issue.

Let’s not make that mistake.

The issue is simple: today, all content on the Internet has to be treated in the same way, meaning that folks like Verizon, Comcast, etc. can’t prioritize what you see or how fast download speeds are for different content. If Net Neutrality goes away–which is likely unless there’s a massive public outcry today and tomorrow–these companies will have much more control and power. They will be able to charge more for access to content, and one of the fundamental tenets of the Internet will have been broken.

Today there’s a massive campaign to “Break the Internet” which is a call to action for everyone to contact their local congressperson before the December 14th vote (this THURSDAY).

So here’s the deal:

  1. Click on the image below
  2. Fill in the form
  3. Or, if you don’t want to click anywhere, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard, tell them where you’re calling from and that you want to talk to your representative about Net Neutrality, and you in touch with your representative. Call 202-224-3121. And tell them you support Net Neutrality.

This video explains Net Neutrality nicely. Or, for a more out-there version, check this out. But don’t click first, call first: 202-224-3121.


In case you didn’t get my blog today

A couple of people mentioned to me that my blog posts have started ending up in their spam filters.

Seth Godin explained better than I could what is going on here and what you can do about it (below).

I guess if this post also ends up in your own spam filter the only way for you to find out that this is happening is to talk, ceaselessly, with your friends about Seth’s blog posts (or mine), and see if you’ve missed anything.  Statistically this seems like a low-yield strategy, so I’m hoping that if posts you’re expecting from bloggers seem to disappear, you’ll know why and know what to do about it.

Between this and the fact that any thing I see online – not only on Amazon, but definitely also on Amazon – follows me virtually everywhere I go (most recently, these solar panels that I wasn’t even interested in buying), it is starting to feel like there was a “good ‘ol days” of the Internet and those are behind us.

From Seth:

This is not a promotion

The internet and big media are wrestling with chokepoints.

Cable TV companies, for example, are a natural monopoly in the home. Everyone only has one provider. If the provider has an argument with a TV network, they kick them off, the signal doesn’t get through, the viewer gets nothing.

One of the arguments behind the common sense of net neutrality is that chokepoints and tollbooths aren’t in the interest of the users.

Now, of course, online stores, if they get big enough, can act as chokepoints. And so can Google.

If you’re used to getting this blog delivered for free to your gmail account, it might be missing (I understand the irony in telling you this via a medium you no longer get). That’s because Google unilaterally misfiled my daily blog into the promotions folder they created, and I have no recourse and no way (other than this post) to explain the error to them…

(But you do: follow these instructions to get it back). Here’s a video on how to do something you never should have had to do…

And it’s not just my email that’s misfiled. I just discovered that the Acumen course I’m taking online is showing up unbidden in the same promotions folder…

Permission marketing is about delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them. It’s a disservice to reader and writer when an uninvited third party decides to change that relationship.

PS there are lots of ways to follow this blog for free. My favorite is RSS, which has no chokepoints.