The country is debating rules that could give big companies like Verizon and Comcast much more control over the internet. We look at how why feminists—and anyone who cares about independent media—should care about the future of the internet.
In June, Google revealed that its next innovation needs to be a way to promote gender equity: women hold only 17 percent of the company’s technology positions. According to Google, the statistics were released with the hopes of recruiting and developing “the world’s most talented and diverse people.”
Two weeks ago, Facebook made a small change to its Community Standards, redefining what is considered “obscene.” Specifically, the company now allows its customers to publish photographs of women breastfeeding in which an exposed nipple might be seen. This may seem like a small change, but since Facebook has one billion users—making it the third largest “country” in the world—this new approach to breastfeeding is significant.
Women rarely get credit for anything, especially not in the tech field, and generally not in any field where women are in the minority.
So, when the New York Times wrote about Ellen Pao's sexual discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, it will not suprise you that the lead essentially obscured women's contributions to the creation of the Internet while also managing to be a pretty crappy start to an otherwise compelling story:
In a room full of powerful women in communications, a former politician essentially bragged about not using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. In 2012. To each her own, but seriously? It's too late in the game for all that. Don't be that lady. There are billions of dollars floating around in social media. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.
We're (not so) slowly creating a new social contract where oversharing has become de rigueur. Blame it on the popularity of reality TV or the easy access the Internet provides—either way, we're currently at a place where a video of a mom intentionally terrifying her young son while he belts out Britney Spears has over 10 million hits on YouTube.
It was oddly apropos to be mulling over the idea of social bubbles over bubble tea. Totally unplanned, though (as was the choking on a tapioca pearl). A friend and I were discussing the need to stop accepting online culture as the status quo. It's exclusive and exclusionary, with its own language, its own jargon and touchstones and for all of its ubiquity, the culture of the internet isn't universal*, not even amongst our generation. My brother-in-law doesn't have a Facebook account, my former coworkers had no idea what LinkedIn was, people who aren't using it don't give a flying...fig about Twitter and on and on. But if you're immersed in internet culture, it seems like the norm. Everyone blogs! Or comments on message boards. Or knows what a lolcat is, etc. It's not the norm, though. It's a bubble. And given that the topic recently came up again in an online (har, har, har) discussion wherein the majority sided in favor of the supportive power of surrounding oneself with like-minded folks for the sake of encouragement and motivation, I thought I should finally get around to digging out my hatpin and getting to work on breaking down (bursting if you're the punny sort) the idea of the bubble.