Three better names for the Web’s issues than “net neutrality”
This past week, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a Democrat from California, took to the famously active board of Reddit in an effort to "rebrand" the term and sensation that is net neutrality. Believing that the concept has become convoluted and difficult to nail down following the 24-hour news cycle and celebrity and politicians over-sharing their opinions, Eshoo felt that the best way to spark a fresh discussion about the state of the Internet would be to rename it.
True to form, Reddit users, called "Redditors," have been hard at work putting their impeccable graphic design and marketing skillsets to craft an entirely new campaign designed to engage citizens and give net neutrality a whole new identity. While Eshoo's initiation is a brilliant move in sparking civic engagement in itself, users have already generated a number of top contender names, according to a recent article from PC World. While "Internet independence" and "Internet limiting" are all well and good, here is our shortlist of names the public should consider adopting into the zeitgeist.
Suggestion #1: "Internet accessibility"
Boiled down, isn't net neutrality simply a question of how easily we can access certain websites after a decision is reached by the Supreme Court. Putting the high school football style rivalry of Internet Service Providers and major Internet giants like Netflix and Facebook, the change that users face if net neutrality policies are changed on a national level is ease of access to smaller companies. Regardless of what inter-business drama ensues, Netflix will either have to pay up to ISPs or not – the true issue of "accessibility" is more relevant when it comes to smaller websites whose growth could be stunted if they don't have the funds to afford the same connection prices as their competition.
Suggestion #2: "Internet awareness"
While a term like "net neutrality" doesn't explain itself or provide a much-needed call to action within its termage, using the word "awareness" makes the idea sound like a cause that requires engagement. Much like the same word is attached to causes involving medical research or matters of social importance (bullying and fraud are great examples), tacking on "awareness" engages a reader from the first moment. Awareness fosters engagement – those who hear the term may try and investigate ways they can learn more about the cause.
Suggestion #3: "Taylor Swift"
In comparison to where net neutrality currently stands in the ever-regurgitating news cycle, professionals may be better off just talking about something journalists are being forced to talk about. A cursory Google news search for Taylor Swift yields over two million results from just the past week, compared to about 85,000 regarding the term "net neutrality" in the past several months.
Though the suggestion is silly at its core, there is something to be said for making the cause of discussing Internet freedom "sexy" – this is part of what John Oliver did in his broadcast from June, using accessible terms like "cable company f***ery" to discuss the Web and subsequently opened the topic to an entirely new audience.
No matter what name, color scheme or poster boy it's making use of, the issue of net neutrality needs to be discussed in a clear, concise way that isn't currently happening in popular culture. While Oliver's now famous broadcast addressing the broader overview of the matter, according to Slate, engagement has slowed since then and become convoluted in a sea of headlines addressing what combating companies and Internet Service Providers are fighting about on a particular day.
In the case of net neutrality, a new name can help with but not guarantee engagement, and that is what those seeking to make a change should remain focused on.