A Mompreneur’s View On The Repeal Of Net Neutrality

TODAY is a big day for Momprenuers, and really anyone who uses and relies on the internet (which if you are reading this article, that’s you). Net neutrality was voted to be repealed, which basically means companies like Comcast can control what you see and don’t see, and the internet is not on an even playing field anymore. It will be a pay to play atmosphere, and our internet comfort bubble is radically being popped.

So yes, naturally, A LOT of people are freaking out and posting about how upset they are about this. I get it – I am not excited about this because I am comfortable as a business and as a mom with what the internet currently does for me.

When I first started my photography business, I spent my time learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Instead of paying for marketing, I was paying with my time. It has been the biggest pay-off because it helped me acquire clients, build my brand and continually keeps new clients coming in. If I lost my ranking, it would definitely affect my business. With the repeal of net neutrality, this could actually have a large financial impact on me. I am not happy about that.

But you know what?

I can’t change what is happening.

So in light of recent events, I am trying to think about the bright side of this. It’s never black and white, and whether I like it or not I will always have to be adapting to change.

What does this really mean?

How does it affect your family?

Your business?

The New Internet Landscape

This section has some political information, so if you want to skip down to the Mom + Business stuff and ignore messy politics feel free to…

After reading a bit, one of the articles I read suggested that larger companies like Google might create their own “internet” and allow net neutrality, so it would basically not change much except for you would pay for access to Google as a subscription. Facebook, Amazon and other big companies could do something similar.

I think what is changing more than anything is the internet landscape though – it’s not going to run and operate the same way, and that sounds scary. Why are things scary? Because we are comfortable with how things are and change rocks our boat a little bit. At the end of the day though, we can either fight the change or embrace it if it is inevitable.

Now, the goal of repealing net neutrality is to allow the free markets to take control verses allowing the government to decide what should be controlled and what shouldn’t. This is a typical Conservative vs. Liberal theoretical snafu.

My social justice champions out there have been explaining to me that the old rich caucasian men will have control over everything if this happens which will affect the message being sent to our children, and silence the grassroots protests and progressive change. Another argument is that it will be impossible to find out what is actually true if everything is being censored, similar to North Korea or China.

Now I totally see these perspectives – I do. I am not discounting them at all. However, I do want to point out, that Google, one of the biggest power players if not the biggest, would most likely side with the social justice champions and they would have the freedom AND MONEY to do that. This means the freedom to fight for women, change, protest racism and more. This insert from an article in The Economist was an interesting take:

“… free markets tend to foster democracy because private property, which is central to any notion of capitalism, produces a sphere of autonomy that grants each individual certain liberties. Private property disperses power and shields each person from coercion. Further, well-defined property rights tend to encourage the emergence of private civil associations. … these private associations provide individuals with an alternative form of governance where the state is ineffective or absent. A robust civil society fosters self-reliance and individual responsibility, characteristics necessary for any liberal democratic order. “ (The Economist).

What this looks like:

In the TV world, conservatives would make a choice to subscribe to Fox News while liberals would make a choice to subscribe to CNN verses having the entire cable package in their subscription. This is what they are doing here and isn’t this what we do anyway with what we choose to watch? I mean, usually people watch things that side with their bias and support how they feel about something; that’s just reality. If you look at the social media sites like Facebook, what you are seeing is already being censored, so does real net neutrality even exist? This is where I am saying that the entire internet landscape would be changing.

Instead of having the “whole” internet we subscribe to “websites” as our internet, which also include search engines.

Regardless, people make a choice to listen to what they want and subscribe to what they want.

So in the end this gives freedom back to the people to choose. There is literally so much to go into here on a political and economic level – but I thought these articles were interesting perspectives and I am really just trying to process what this could mean (Net Neutrality and Digital Marketing Perspectives, Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality?).

Fake News? I do fear with having pro and con sides to everything that real news will be hard to find in this landscape, but at the same time we filter through so much online crap anyway that I doubt it would be any different. Those same sites that you would subscribe to that have a reputation for being neutral and accurate will still be there. I truly see how the intention in repealing net neutrality is an effort to stop the US from becoming more like N. Korea and limit the government interference, big brother mentality and censorship.

Phew…through the politics section. It is hard to address it all so please be kind. My goal was to focus on the facts and the positive aspects.

The Effect of Net Neutrality on Your Family

These are the two things that really come to mind.

Internet Safety For Your Children

You can subscribe to what you want, meaning the filth, pornography, sick websites and more don’t have to in anyway make it into your household. It’s like when I was younger my mom had this program installed called the “Net Nanny.” That program was super annoying and didn’t work that well – I mean it was probably the late 90s’ so the internet was definitely not at it’s peak. But now that I have children, I kind of like the concept. I don’t want my kids going into chat rooms (if that’s still a thing) or getting into online trouble; especially when they are so young and innocent. There is no need to grow up any faster than they already will with the outside influences of their peers, school and the media.

You Get To Raise Your Own Children

Yup, when the internet is not constantly telling them what to believe, you can do your job as a parent with less distractions. This is your chance to change the world you guys. The biggest influence you will ever have will be with your kids. You can decide what they are allowed to be exposed to depending on YOUR VALUES as a family. I am not saying this to promote cult-like sheltering craziness, but at the end of the day, it just simplifies it all and gives you more freedom to be the voice of reason in your family while your children are still young and impressionable.

I don’t know about you but it freaks me out to think of a 9 year old with complete access to the internet via an Iphone – maybe giving the parents a little bit more choice about what their kids see online will actually help lower teen suicide rates, put an end to cyber bullying and promote healthier lifestyles by limiting the amount of online distractions available. I’m assuming most of us are in agreement that it’s not ideal to be addicted to the internet/smart phones/social media, etc., which many of us are.

If you want to change the world then change your family first.

The Effect of Net Neutrality on Your Business

There are the obvious things like SEO rankings, who will be able to access your website and more, but I want to focus on the bigger picture here.

Life is constantly changing, and your marketing will need to adapt to the times.

Heck, maybe it’s a good thing because people will be forced to get off of their computer and learn to have conversations with people again. Email is seriously the death of me – there is SO MUCH EMAIL. At the end of the day, relationships and reputation will be what will keep a business floating. You can’t be so dependent on one source of marketing to provide all of your clients or income either, and trusting that the internet is going to stay the same and not change on you will keep you from growing, thriving and surviving as a business.

Be open to change if you want to succeed, and don’t blame anyone for why you can’t because you can succeed; you just might have to be a little more creative and start doing things differently than what you are used to.

So with all the things that the repeal of net neutrality might affect – maybe there will be some positive ones.

The world is not going to end, I promise.