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A World Without Net Neutrality Illustrated – Why it’s Critical



Ignoring articles on net neutrality? Don’t!

I’ll admit, net neutrality seemed like a geeky nerd dork fight that I heard about a long time ago, and I ignored any article that talked about it. Then, a few years ago I read an article that made my ears perk up and take note- net neutrality is what is keeping the internet open and free. Sure, you pay to access it but you don’t pay for use and if the telecommunications companies of the world have their way, that ends. This is what a world without net neutrality could look like (click image to enlarge):


What do we do about it?

First and foremost, brush up on the topic, Jim Duncan wrote an article outlining net neutrality and it is very easy to read and understand and is a comprehensive guide to the issue. Telecommunications companies are saying that we’re running out of bandwidth and Nick Bostic discussed how this claim is bogus.

Without net neutrality, the Internet may become cost prohibitive both for consumers and agents and all of this effort we’re putting into our web presence is all for naught.

The National Association of Realtors supports net neutrality and getting involved NOW before it is a reality is the best action anyone can take. Write your local politician and tell them your view and ask them to fight for you, tell others what you think and don’t be quiet, this isn’t a minor issue, it’s a game changer.

Article originally published December 3, 2009

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Benn Rosales

    December 3, 2009 at 1:28 am

    The name of this issue needs to change to get people understanding it- it just sounds so damn confusing. With the right messaging, and using social media, this issue could be killed across the board. I fear it may be to late before anyone really realizes that no one get’s why it matters.

  2. Karen Rice

    December 3, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I agree with Ben – the name is very confusing. And what can we do about this to stop it?

  3. Amanda Wernick

    December 3, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I too had heard of “Net Neutrality” and even read up on it some, and will admit that when I fell into reading about it, thought it had more to do with internet censorship, not the cost of being online.

    As a Realtor and Social Media Trainer, I will definitely be writing to as many local politicians as I can and lof course, tweeting and RT this. Lani, since you are so articulate, how do you recommend we write the letters to make an impact as opposed to sounding like a whiny babies? Is there a petition that we could start that could be sent to everyone we know or to our local Real Estate boards, for example.

    Look forward to your words of wisdom! 🙂

    • Lani Rosales

      December 3, 2009 at 10:21 am

      Amanda, stay tuned for letter writing tips (or maybe even a form letter)… 🙂 coming shortly.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    December 3, 2009 at 10:33 am

    @LaniAR – As I told you, I think this graphic is one of the best explanations of why net neutrality is so important. It amazes me that the telco industry passes it off as a “necessary” thing in order to continue to bring us more bandwidth. Why do we let industries like this hold us hostage? The power industry does it all the time. You want wind power? Pay us more. Wind is a free resource, how can it be more expensive? The answer lies in the fact that companies have stopped believing in the “cost of doing business” and just want to pass the bills down to the consumer level. We even see it in real estate with “transaction fees.”

    I wonder what would happen if the telco companies did get away with it. Would we take a stand and give up the internet? Or would we just follow along blindly like we did when they offered packaged minutes on cell and home phones (minutes that you pay for, but don’t necessarily use – where’s the sense in that?)? One of the greatest tricks played on the world was convincing us to buy blocks of time for our phone usage. All those unused minutes are money in their pockets – for doing nothing at all.

    I’ll take this issue head on…I’ve got a few letters to write.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 3, 2009 at 10:40 am

      “The answer lies in the fact that companies have stopped believing in the “cost of doing business””

      One could argue that so have consumers? Infrastructure does cost money, but how much?

  5. Matt Stigliano

    December 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

    @BennRosales – True. I think my real frustration lies with companies who just cry poor and talk about how much these new innovations cost, when in the long run, they will profit from them. Should I as a consumer be responsible for building more windfarms (by buying wind power at a higher cost than my current electric) when in the long term, that company is using that windfarm as a profit center for themselves? Will they give me a return on my investment in the long term? Of course they won’t.

    • Matt Stigliano

      December 3, 2009 at 11:35 am

      I need to start making use of the “reply” feature on AgentGenius.

  6. jeremyjisaac

    December 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Call me cynical, but this issue is really pretty simple… If NAR supports it, then I don’t. Simple as that – almost.

    • Matt Stigliano

      December 4, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Jeremy – While I can take a few wild guesses why you would say that, I’d love to hear a bit more background and explanation. While I have never proclaimed my undying allegiance to NAR, I still support them in many efforts (but I’m not afraid to call them nuts when I disagree).

      • jeremyjisaac

        December 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm


        I was obviously overstated my point for emphasis, as indicated by the word “almost”. However, I do not often agree with NAR. The problem is that NAR (and local and state boards) feel the need to lobby for legislation that will supposedly help Realtors (and purportedly homeowners) in the short term. Now this is noble enough, but all to often it conflicts with principles. The first time buyer tax credit is a prime example. It helps homeowners and Realtors in the short term, but it is terrible long term economic and housing policy.

  7. Benn Rosales

    December 4, 2009 at 10:48 am

    NAR is correct in their position.

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    December 5, 2009 at 3:51 am

    I don’t often agree with NAR – but in this case I do. The Obama Administration is for net neutrality – the danger was greater during the Bush years. Unfortunately, opponents of net neutrality have websites with misleading names such as “Hands off the internet” which is Chinese for “let the telecom companies do anything they want.”

    Interestingly enough – those who appose net-neutrality come from the right wing of our society – conservative think tanks such as the Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute, and Americans for tax reform” claim net netrality violates the frist amendment to the consititution??? Really? I don’t think the writers of the Bill of Rights was thinking in terms of the internet when they wrote the first 10 amendments to the constitution…

  9. Pingback: Even Twitter proclaims they support net neutrality, hooray! - AGBeat

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Social Media

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.



Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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Social Media

Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.



Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?



Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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