Net neutrality is a hot topic right now, especially in the United States where President Obama has waded into the debate over the future of the Internet. We care more about your views on net neutrality than the views of any world leader. Welcome to the MakeUseOf Poll.
Facebook Photo Fanatics
To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “How Do You Share Your Photos Online?”
Out of a total of 320 votes, 21.3% chose Facebook, 16.6% chose Google+, 14.1% chose Flickr, 9.7% chose Instagram, 8.4% chose Dropbox, 0.9% chose Twitter, 0.9% chose Tumblr, 14.1% chose Other, and 14.1% chose I Never Share My Photos Online.
Facebook won by a clear but insignificant margin over Google+. Flickr, Instagram, and Dropbox are clearly all popular options as well. However, the most interesting result may just be the number of people who claim never to share photos online.
Is this a stance against the culture of oversharing that’s becoming increasingly common? It could, of course, be more of a generational thing, as youngsters who have grown up in the age of the Internet have no compunction sharing every aspect of their lives online.
Comment Of The Week
OK, I fall in the “I Never Share My Photos Online” category. I don’t even have a Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram account.
A general remark first: of all the “personal” photos I occasionally encounter online, 82% are totally uninteresting and boring. 17% are not people’s own photos at all, but stolen (sometimes photoshopped) copies of originals found elsewhere. Only the remaining 1% may be worth a look. Yes, these percentages are estimates ;-)
Why don’t I share mine?
(1) I don’t make that many photos. My phone (Galaxy Note II) has a fairly good camera, but I only use it when there is a clear, specific reason to snap a picture. Let me check… my last two photos were taken Oct. 29, so that’s 10 days ago. These two show an old painting: I needed some photos for an online search to try and identify the subject and the artist who painted the original. I don’t see a reason to bother the entire world with things like this.
(2) Most of my own photos are… you guess it, uninteresting and boring. I’m not a truly intriguing photographer with truly unique subjects. I can also put this in another way: apparently, most people grandiosely overestimate their own qualities as a photographer. Many seem to think they make great or interesting photos every day, while in fact most of the time they do not. I guess my own self-perception is a little more realistic.
(3) If once in a while one of my photos may be of interest to someone else, then why share it with 1000 people instead of just sharing it with that particular person? If I see a reason why someone (friend, family) should actually see one of my photos, I simply email it to them. And the nicest and easiest way is to show them the photo not online but in person, by just having them take a look at my 5.5? phone screen. In the rare case they say they want a copy for themselves, I still can mail it to them.
(4) Frequent uploading? I happen to live in a rural low-bandwidth area. All those nice Premium Internet company offers do never apply here because of inadequate infrastructure. My download speed is fair (though never over 6 Mbps) but my upload speed is at best 0.5 Mbps and often much lower, slow as molasses. Yes, dear urban geeks: even in the civilized Western world, situations like this are still very common and this may still be a factor to consider!
(5) Perhaps most important here is a prime matter of basic philosophy. It looks like for some people, the evident way to enjoy memorable moments has degenerated into just snapping and sharing some photos — and then to forget. This makes the phone or the camera into a shield that stands between you and the actual experience. This diverts your concentration from the event itself towards marginal activities. Please believe me: the ideal way to experience and remember a beautiful sunset is not by making and sharing a photo of it, but allowing all your senses to be totally immersed by it: really seeing colors and silhouettes, really hearing birds and insects, really smelling grass and leaves or the salt of the sea, really feeling the touch of a breeze or a hand.
Living in a truly mindful way requires fully concentrating on the experience that matters, without thinking of anything else. If you manage to bring that off, then you may be more happy and more intense with less photos.
We chose this comment because it offers a sensible and comprehensive argument against sharing photos online, and against taking too many photographs in the first place. There are some hard truths here that the younger generation would do well to consider.
Net Neutrality Is Good/Bad/Meaningless
Net neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally.” If you need a fuller understanding of the issue read our primer on net neutrality or watch net neutrality explained by various YouTube geniuses.
The argument for net neutrality is that it’s essential to keep the Internet open and equal for all. The Internet without net neutrality would consist of fast lanes offered to companies willing to pay for the privilege, and ISPs blocking access to websites unwilling to play ball.
The argument against net neutrality is that private companies shouldn’t be hamstrung by regulation. Instead, each ISP should be able to act as they please, with competition being the driving force preventing any of them from screwing over their customers.
Even those who agree that net neutrality is a good thing disagree on how best to ensure it remains the default. President Obama wants the Internet to be reclassified as a utility, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking a milder solution. There is no easy answer.
So, what do you think?
Please vote in the poll above, and then explain in the comments below why you voted that way and expand on your thoughts regarding net neutrality. The best Comment Of The Week will win our everlasting admiration and affection. Well, at least until we meet back here again this time next week.