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No Motrin Moms effect on CRTC’s decision on net neutrality November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts.
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5 comments

The writers of an excellent New-West-based-and-focused blog, “10th To The Fraser” tweeted earlier this morning:

Where is the #motrinmoms effort for #netneutrality? Where’s the passion to put the same level of pressure on the CRTC as moms put on Motrin?

Sadly, nowhere to be found. Numerous (some of the best) bloggers in Vancouver and elsewhere wrote and tweeted about the Motrin Moms Twitter debacle (you can use Summize to find out about that discussion, I think the hashtag is #motrinmoms).

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

I have read a few blog posts and tweets about net neutrality and the CRTC decision, but not nearly as many as I’ve glanced at with regards to the Motrin Moms debacle. I admit that even I hadn’t really written much about net neutrality until recently, when Steve Anderson sent me a link to his site, SaveOurNet.ca

I completely agree with 10thToTheFraser’s tweet that it’s unfortunate that the same level of effort is nowhere to be found. This can be attributed to several reasons. Let’s pose a few hypotheses (no need to discount any just yet):
1.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t care about net neutrality.
2.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t understand the implications of Bell Canada throttling bandwith.
3.- Even if they care AND understand the implications, they have better things to write about.
4.- The impact of Motrin’s ad on moms worldwide is larger than the impact of net neutrality on Canadians.
5.- …. [insert your own hypothesis]

Why is it that when it comes to galvanizing people’s opinion, we seem to be unable to do so? This irks me to no end. I have undertaken scholarly studies of environmental mobilizations, and have found that, unless the issue at stake is of PERCEIVED vital relevance (e.g. toxic emissions in the vicinity of your neighbourhood), environmental non-governmental organizations fail to mobilize the public. Inertia and inactivity are just too easy. It seems that the same is true for social media. ARGH.

EDIT – Hat tips again to Rob Cottingham who pointed me out to this blog post of Michael Geist.

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Net neutrality in Canada: The challenges ahead November 18, 2008

Posted by Raul in academic life, blogosphere, food for thought, geekifying myself, net neutrality, public policy issues, social media.
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2 comments

While I have become much more involved with social media in the past year than I had ever before (I am in almost every Web 2.0 application except for Facebook), I hadn’t really thought a lot about the issues with net neutrality until the day when I live-blogged Michael Geist’s talk at Saint John’s College (UBC) as a guest blogger for my friend Rebecca Bollwitt (Miss604) in April of 2008.

Recently, I’ve become more aware that my role in Vancouver’s social media scene is much more than just being the Organizer of Vancouver Bloggers Meetup. It is also part of my role to raise awareness about issues that affect those of us who use the Internet on a regular basis. Moreover, we social media folks are also substantially affected by these challenges.

Steve Anderson (the co-founder of the SaveOurNet.ca Coalition and National Coordinator of Campaign for Democratic Media) and Kate Milberry (SFU doctoral candidate, a good friend and an expert in digital activism) both reminded me of the need to think about social media as an ecosystem. As an expert in environmental issues, I often use ecosystems as a metaphor to analyze phenomena. I have to say that I had thought of social media as an ecosystem, but hadn’t thought of Canadian legislation on net neutrality as one of the challenges. Steve’s article actually gave me good insight on this issue. He writes:

The Conservative federal government is NOT inclined to support an open Internet. To keep a level playing field on the Internet we’ll need a robust citizens movement to put pressure on politicians and policy makers and shape policy that protects equal access. The social web community can provide the foundation for this burgeoning movement – perhaps even serve as a catalyst. Consider this a call to action.[SaveOurNet.ca]

Having engaged in academic activism myself, researched and studied environmental mobilizations, and often preaching to the public to become more involved in public policy, I am always up for supporting activism that benefits our society. So, I would sincerely encourage you to get informed, get involved, and become part of the white cells of the social media biological system. You can help, and if you have a stake in the future of Canadian internet, you probably should.