Why Net Neutrality is Important (Site Update, December 18, 2017)
Ajit Pai is an asshat.
Now, I know that’s a pretty easy jab—the man thought the Harlem Shake was still relevant in 2017. However, his attack on net neutrality is more than just a philosophical point of contention, or a decision made in D.C. that will never affect me.
I do have some site updates for UnInkable readers today, which I’ll put down at the bottom of this article—if you’ve already heard about net neutrality to the point of vomiting, feel free to skip down there and check those out. If you want to hear my take on it, or if you’re just a glutton for FCC punishment, please, read on.
Republicans Hate Small Business
To put it simply, I am a small business owner. You know those mythical people whom Republicans so frequently cream their jeans over? Supposedly, you can’t have socialized healthcare, or trade regulations, or unions, or basic environmental protocols, because those things will hurt businesses like mine.
All of that is a crock of shit, by the way, but I digress.
Point is, the one time Republicans could do something to actually help small businesses like mine, they instead push for this Idiot Pai to fuck us. Hard. Because now, the one thing we had that made competing with large businesses, multinational conglomerates, and billions of dollars in investments, lobbying, and rule-bending, has been stripped away from us by Pai-nut Butter Jelly Time and the FCC.
Business is Hard. The Internet is Harder.
For those of you who are self-employed, or who have ever run your own business—large or small—you probably know how much work it can be, particularly if you’re starting on your own, or, as is often the case, working around a day job or other time commitments.
I started UnInkable—and the company that I operate the site through—about two years ago. I did it with pocket money and a fistful of articles printed out from the web about starting a business, not a small loan of a million dollars and a team of well-payed advisors and staff.
Paperwork is a bitch. I hate it, actually, but it’s all part of doing what I love, so I push on. I have a site to manage, social media accounts, articles to write and edit, contributors to wrangle, taxes to file, etc. Until recently, I had no permanent staff to help me. I also suffer from chronic depression—a topic for another day and another article—which can really put a wrench into productivity when it flares up.
Producing content for the web is a whole other maze to map. It’s difficult starting a new site already, but deciding on content and building a community of people who actually want what you’re making is the real challenge.
Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving, so things that only a few years ago would help you boost search rankings, now either don’t work, or may actually harm you, while social media is quickly becoming a pay-to-play environment—if I want to get a Facebook post in front of more than around 20 people, often I have to drop at least $20. Even if you consider it an investment, that adds up quickly, and frankly, doesn’t pay off soon enough for a site the size of mine.
Net Neutrality Levels the Playing Field
Want to know the one thing I didn’t have to worry about?
Despite all the challenges, and knowing that there would be a huge initial investment of time, effort, and money, I started my small online business knowing that, no matter what else, if I made something good, it would be seen by someone. I could not, would not, have started this journey if I didn’t believe that I was on some kind of a fair playing field with other sites like mine, with other content creators, or even with media giants.
I firmly held the belief that, even if they could outspend me, or outproduce me, what I had to bring to the table would have a place to grow and flourish on its own.
But then Pai Guy stuck his gross Verizon dick into everything, and I honestly don’t know if this will be the end to sites like mine.
For those of you who may not know, net neutrality is a basic idea that all internet content should be treated equally in terms of access. If you have a tab open to CNN, a tab open to UnInkable, and four more tabs open to your favorite porn sites, all those websites are coming to you through the same internet, and so get the same treatment in terms of access and bandwidth.
You already pay your internet service provider for monthly service. Why pay more for individual sites?
And that’s why Raspberry Pai and his vote to repeal net neutrality is so dangerous. Now, instead of just paying a monthly service charge, your internet package will probably start to look a lot like your cable TV package, where you pay a certain amount to have access to different types of content — think about sports fans paying extra for ESPN, or parents buying the children’s TV package.
Content producers, like UnInkable, also get the shaft. Just like ESPN or children’s networks have to pay cable companies to have their content broadcast, content creators will likely have to pay just to have our sites put in front of people online. Sure, we may still be able to start a site and make things, but if we want the majority of people to see it as part of their service package, we’ll have to grease the wheels.
I, for one, am not going to give up my site, nor will I give up pushing for net neutrality. Even if there’s only the smallest hope of success, I think it’s too important not to push for a better internet for everyone, an internet where, hopefully, UnInkable will have a place to shine.
Please, take a moment to call or write your members of Congress. Tell people about net neutrality and why it’s important. Join protests. Be loud. Stand up for yourselves, for the public, and for the greatest free system of thought and information exchange in human history.
Your grandchildren, and your favorite websites, will thank you.
And Now, a Quick Update on UnInkable
As promised, I had a couple of quick words about UnInkable and our content this week to update people. If you’re just now joining us after skipping down from the top of the page, welcome!
New this week, we finally start our full spread of content, as promised in our last site update. There is one important difference, however – our review articles and In Media Res have been swapped. We thought it would be better this way, since it gives us a little more flexibility, but also puts the movie reviews right before the weekend, when people are most likely to see a movie.
Our Patreon will also be revamped to make things more simplified and a bit easier, both for us and for Patrons. We’ll have more updates on this as it is completed.
We’re also working out a few ideas for podcasts, which we can hopefully bring out to you all in a couple weeks, and reaching out to video producers to see what kind of content we can work on together. Right now, we’re thinking some comedy—not everything should be so serious—and also some vlogs and topical videos covering news and events. If you’re interested in something in particular, please reach out, we would love some constructive feedback and suggestions!
That about wraps it up. We’re excited to get started this week, and hope you like what’s in store!