“Re-brand” of net neutrality demanded from U.S. Senator
For many in the United States, the past months of arguing about net neutrality has been at different times harrowing, confusing and downright aggressive. They've witnessed some top figures in the media, both in entertainment and politics, give their individual two cents on the matter, leaving one question in mind – what is net neutrality, actually?
Like any subject that's been talked about through several media cycles, it's unclear where the term currently stands in definition and in legitimacy. Is it possible that "the end of the Internet," as many have been calling it, has been completely over-hyped? Senator Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, has taken it upon herself to set the record straight in an ambitious "re-branding" campaign she stated the intent to launch on Reddit.com this week.
Why does net neutrality need to be rebranded?
As it stands, the neutrality debate boils down to the everyman and small businesses trying to succeed in e-commerce versus the American government and major Internet Service Providers like AT&T and Comcast seeking money. Eshoo thinks that this rivalry has been blown out of proportion, according to a recent article from PC World's Grant Gross.
"Internet users know what they want and expect from the Internet, but these days all the jargon about net neutrality rules is making it difficult to know what box to check that advances their best interest," Eshoo said in a recent statement.
The Senator appealed to the Internet masses, especially those graphic art whizzes and advertising gurus who regularly send viral content sweeping through the cybersphere, to start crafting their own campaigns to be submitted as a formal rebranding. The adjustment, she noted, should not just be visual – alternative phrasing like "Internet equality," "Internet lanes" and "Internet limiting" were thrown out as potential contenders to fill the old "net neutrality" void. Ideally, Eshoo's concept would cause the everyday consumer, often spurred by media outlets to direct their frustration one way or another, to take a look at the national issue from a fresh perspective and form their own opinions.
Where net neutrality stands today
As autumn quickly approaches as well as the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on proposed adjustments to current net neutrality, American citizens have once again been invited to share their opinions with the FCC through September 15. This open discussion caused quite a stir earlier in the summer when comedian John Oliver appealed to his viewers to "troll" the Federal Communications Commission in order to reclaim an Internet that he felt was in danger, leading thousands to share their opinions and eventually amassing well over a million responses shared.
News blog Seattle Pi riffed on the positive aspects of a rebrand in a recent column, but pointed out how the move may be seen as trendy. The piece jokingly said that the rebrand should simply call itself Beyonce:
"It's sexy. It's creative. And it's always featured prominently by news," the source joked.
Beyonce may not be the exact target Reddit designers and marketers should be emulating in their advertising materials, but the column does point out that if well executed, this net neutrality rebrand could get the cause a lot of much-needed press, ideally resulting in further engagement and interest from the average person.
Though there will be some controversy and potential confusion if a "rebrand" on net neutrality is effectively deployed, Senator Eshoo's efforts are speaking to citizens in a straightforward way that the government often neglects to. By reaching out to the Internet aficionados of Reddit instead of sticking to a press release, she has made the issue an accessible and collaborative one – whether it succeeds or fails, this type of civic engagement is a win for all involved.