Over the past several decades it’s become clear the key to the “secret” social sauce is the ability to electronically communicate. While phone, radio, and television provided a limited open loop return channel between mediums in the past (see Marshall McLuhan’s work). As for example remember the days when your mom would call her friends and gossip about what was on daytime TV? She was part of an “analog tribe” as she would take from one medium and share via a second (TV to phone). Some of you might even remember the day of the party (phone) line where the entire neighborhood got in on the discussions! Talk about a means of social networking at the time!
Well the Internet came and solved many of the “analog” based problems of the disparate (i.e. television to phone in your mothers case) connections, thus allowing vast and complex networks to be built. However I now question why I can buy unlimited phone service for $40 bucks (USD) a month however I have to pay $60 bucks (USD) for a lousy 5 gigs a month of data transfer which is nothing! Think about it, I can dial a phone number, and leave the phone on the kitchen table for as long as I want (days, weeks months) tying up circuits, etc. However when I hit 5 gig of data which I could do in a couple hours, bang, I am hit with a surcharge! As a side bar I asked the young person who was selling me this service in the cellular store this question “why so little bandwidth”, and their retort was “it’s just to stop DJs from downloading music” What? Ok and I bet they got to vote too, scary.
Here’s the analogy, as think about your internet access as being like a breath of air. Then you’re told you can take only a certain number of breaths per day and once you hit that limit? Well sorry, either pay up or hold it till the next day! The metaphor here is the business models of today are suffocating us economically when it comes to accessing the largest economy on earth, the internet! As we are expected to run as a marathoner, however breathe like a couch potato!
However what grabs me about this even more is we (well the government with our money) is bailing out all of this old school stuff and not investing a dime in new school. With the collapse of the housing market people aren’t moving for work because they can’t move even if they wanted to (unless they gave the house back to the bank which would further worsen things). Therefore how do we solve the problem of bringing the folks with the right minds together to connect them to the right places? Well the Internet of course!
The Internet has entered as the great equalizer, yet I only get 5 gigabytes a month? Ok you might be saying you can get a cable modem or DSL, and again I point to old school. Success is built upon mobility and you need a long cord to drag a cable modem around and second why do I need to have two? That’s like saying you need a home phone and cell phone, why? What’s worse is the market wants me to buy even more! One for my iPad another for the Kindle, then my notebook, and my phone! All pure nonsense as I want to pay for only one access point and I want it to go with me! Please understand one thing “economic duplication of something” is the erosion of social effluancy as if I re-buy internet access then it takes away money which could have been used to buy other goods or services.
What makes this worse as I can afford this, what about those that can’t? Is this the start of “Digital Homelessness“? Where a homeless person couldn’t get a job because they didn’t have an (physical) address, now in 2010 you won’t be able to get one without and IP (address). Where is the government in this, as they sit there scratching their heads over a jobless recovery (guys got news for ya), companies are just holding on to margins for what they have and cutting back where not, which isn’t a recipe for job creation. We need the government to step in with a “no person left behind on the internet” program which legislates the right to open access.
While I’m a true blooded capitalist, I do feel it’s the government’s job to support me in this quest. Note I did not say provide for me, that’s my job, however we do need the best groomed playing field possible if we are going to play the global game and win. Yes I’ve seen some of the nonsense we have “some” note I’ve placed that in quotes best internet access in the world and I can prove statistically we also have the most swampland too, so let’s get real and fix a real problem rather than fooling ourselves.