Humanities Classmate Responses, Research Paper Example

  1. Question: The Net Neutrality Case Study in Chapter 11 of Exploring Media and Culture talks about net neutrality and concerns regarding speed and access on the Internet. What are the implications of a potential decline of neutrality on the Internet? Would you personally be affected if neutrality on the Internet ceased to exist? If so, how? If not, why not?

Classmate Response: The decline of neutrality on the Internet as expressed in our reading would mean that service providers will no longer be treated equal.  This would open the door for a tiered system which would allow companies to pay to have their information delivered faster.  This would harm small companies who could not compete with the larger companies in paying for faster services.  The smaller companies would be put out of business.  I believe I, the consumer, would be affected if neutrality on the Internet ceased to exist.  The cost of doing business on the Internet would be passed to the consumer.  The companies, who are now paying more to have faster delivery of information, would in turn charge their customers more money for the service.  The smaller companies who were forced out of business are no longer an option to compete.  This would limit us to the companies available who would now be those that are paying top dollar to compete.  The cost will be passed to me, the consumer.  I think having laws in place is a good thing to prevent larger companies from squeezing out the smaller companies and from squeezing more money out of the consumer.  DQ1WK3Cohn

My colleague’s response concentrates on what he terms “service providers being treated equal.”  My classmate then goes on to speculate that this would lead to a “tiered system”, whereby capital determines whose information could be delivered faster. Certainly, the very phenomenon of net neutrality and its loss seems to depend on someone holding “power” in the system: in other words, neutrality is a synonym for a certain equality and democracy, whereas any loss of neutrality means that this same equality has been compromised. And certainly, it seems that the loss of this neutrality is tied to an economic concept of power, as my classmate points out: those who have access to capital may ultimately eliminate those who have less capital, and thereby decrease such neutrality.

  1. Question: The Net Neutrality Case Study in Chapter 11 of Exploring Media and Culture talks about net neutrality and concerns regarding speed and access on the Internet. What are the implications of a potential decline of neutrality on the Internet? Would you personally be affected if neutrality on the Internet ceased to exist? If so, how? If not, why not?

Classmate Response: The implications of a potential decline of neutrality on the internet is that it will decline or slow down internet growth with large and small companies.  It will force internet providers to a second tier.  By reading the course material it will effect large companies such as AT&T, Comast, Verizon and others. These companies of course will not be happy about the speed and accessing the internet.  By doing this companies have to spend out more money to utilize a higher speed of internet.  It will have a downfall on small business as well and may put small business out of business or loose customers.  Yes I would personally be affect by neutrality on the internet if it cease to exit because I rely on my internet daily.  It will hinder me with my business and probably force me to shut down my office. DQ1WK3 Bailey

My classmate here makes an interesting point: he does not look at the decline of net neutrality in terms of an equality of equal voice, but rather in terms of the growth of the Internet as a whole. Namely, it is only through a diversity of voices that have access to the Internet which will allow the Internet to become plural and heterogeneous. This point seems to be entirely accurate: growth is dependent not on dominance, but rather on allowing new opportunities, which by definition combat stagnation. Accordingly, my classmate makes the quite crucial point that the decrease in net neutrality is an affront to the Internet itself.

  1. Question: Do you think the Internet can make democracy work better? If so, how? If not, why not?

Classmate Response: If when you speak of a democracy, you are speaking of the way we vote in elections?  Then I would say no.  It would not make a Democracy work better.  There is no accountability and no way to verify who people say they are.  In the United States, if the state you live in grants you the right to vote in state and federal elections.  You can not do so legally until you reach the age of eighteen, and then you get one and only one vote per ballot per candidate.  There is no way to be certain that I am not going under another name to vote using the internet.  It’s bad enough that people will already vote more than once in person using different means of deception.  Just imagine what would happen if it were done over the internet.  We would have people from Tibet voting in our elections just to mess with us. DQ2WK3 Sloan

The classmate frames the question in fully specific terms: that is, if the Internet may serve as a pragmatic tool for democracy, namely, how the Internet may be used in the voting process. Afterwards, the colleague gives various examples of how such a voting system in regards to the Internet may be the victim of electoral fraud. However, this is only the question of how a democracy would pragmatically implement the Internet for voting; my classmate therefore overlooks the democratic essence of the Internet itself. As I stated in my own answer, in so far as the Internet is democratic, that is, that it allows for a plurality of voices, the Internet can be used as a model for how democracy should function, instead of merely the Internet being a tool which existing political systems can use: in short, the Internet forces political systems to think if they are truly democratic, because of the Internet’s democratic plurality.

  1. Question: Do you think the Internet can make democracy work better? If so, how? If not, why not?

Classmate Response: I personally believe that the internet would hold no value to democracy except for maybe getting issues out into the public. Government controls and biases of the people posting information on political heads would make to much noise and cloud issues even further. This could flood the knowledge pool with more deception and misinformation than we already receive, and create more serious issues. If there were sites that were third party reviewed for factual content then the internet could possibly work for democracy. Questions could be answered and facts that politicians speak on could be verifiable. It is an interesting concept but, in the terms of using the internet to better democracy I can not see it working well. There are to many influential people setting the pace for our opinions and beliefs and what we are exposed to in our media. These powers that be have been studying the human reaction and actions for way to long not to be able to steer the public opinion. DQ2WK3 Alger

My classmate looks at the question from the perspective of what the Internet can do for the existing political establishment. However, as I noted in my own response, I think this overlooks the fundamental point: it looks at the question from the perspective of the political establishment and how they can use the Internet. As I have suggested the more fundamental question is as follows: because of the very plurality of the Internet, there is a sense in which the Internet is more democratic than the political institutions that claim to be democratic. We have to understand that democracy is an idea that does not belong entirely to the political sphere, and can be realized in other forms, such as the Internet, after which the task becomes, if we are tied to democracy, to make our political institutions more democratic based on non-political examples.

  1. Question: Do you think the concentration of media ownership limits the number of voices in the marketplace? Explain.

Classmate Response: Yes, I think the concentration of media ownership could limit the number of voices in the marketplace.  I think it mainly has to do with the motivation of the owner.  If the owner’s only agenda is to make money then it would be wise to own a little chunk on both sides of the isle.  This way you sell a little to the left, a little to the right, and then sell what’s left to those in the middle.  Who really cares about the views of the red or the blue because all of their money is green.  Now, on the other side of the coin.  If the owner does have a right/left side leaning in politics and his holdings reflect his views.  Then the owner will only profit off of the one side.  This could also be said of sports media as well.  Someone selling a magazine devoted exclusively to Ping Pong may appeal to some.  But if the owner had a magazine that appeals to more than just this one game of this type.  Now you have cast a broader net to catch more readers. DQ3WK3 Sloan

My classmate makes the crucial point, in my view, that if the motivation behind media concentration is money, then corruption can occur, in so far as this approach means to limit voices to accrue a profit. But is this not the same problem with any type of domination and control? Any time power is at stake, some one is trying to silence the voice of another, and media concentration by definition means that only one voice is heard: in this regard, concepts such as hegemony, from political science, can help us understand that any exertion of “media concentration” implies an attempt to dominate another and thereby eliminate a democratic plurality of voices.

  1. Question: How do you know whether you can trust Wikipedia or another online resource?

Classmate Response: First of all, I have to mention that I do use Wikipedia more often that not when it comes to non-academic research. I think that it can provide some good information; however, I would never use it as a reference for any of my academic research essays, nor anything that had to do with school. Even though sites like Wikipedia are somewhat trustworthy, there is also some reason to not trust it’s sources sometimes. On sites such as Wikipedia there are thousands – if not millions – of information that has been typed up by any person, in other words, a non-authentic source — and authenticity is a big deal for me(!). Authenticity is something we as university students should focus on with emphasis because in the end we always have to provide a good batch of from where we got our references from. For example, if we ever come across a search result off of Wikipedia and it does not have it’s direct informational source(s), then it is not something we can trust! DQ4WK3 Hernandez

My client notes that Wikipedia itself should never be cited for academic research, which is entirely accurate, because a given Wikipedia article may be changed at a whim by whomever and at whatever time. This, however, does not mean that Wikipedia articles cannot provide a starting point for research, since most Wikipedia articles include sources and quotations, which allow us to cross-reference the information: Wikipedia can be a constructive tool, but the research, student or academic cannot merely accept it at face value, which is both naïve and ignorant. Rather, Wikipedia becomes a source just like any other source for the academic: if one finds a quote in a printed book, this does not mean that this information is accurate, simply because it is printed. One has to continually double and triple check sources, and Wikipedia, in this sense, can help us become even more rigorous in our studies, since it forces us to think about where our information is coming from.

  1. Question: The digital divide refers to people that have access to digital media versus those that do not. Are people who do not have a smartphone at a disadvantage (that is, are they on the wrong side of the digital divide)?

Classmate Response: I do not think that people that do not have a smartphone or any other new device is at any disadvantage more than anyone else.  If this is how they wish to live, I do not see a problem with it.  I look at what all smartphones are capable of like texting, surfing the internet, taking pictures, playing games, multiple apps, listening to music, and I almost forgot.  You can even make a phone call from them. Now, I look at what all I use one for.  I do like having internet access available to me if I need to use it, but I will not have a fit if I do not use it.  In fact, I like to leave my phone in the car whenever my family and I go into restaurants.  It is very seldom that I will take a cell phone in there while I’m with my family.  I just think it is not needed especially while I am eating with the people that I would get up from the table and leave for.  Everybody else can wait thirty minutes or so until I finish and check my phone for calls when we get back into our vehicle. DQ5WK3 Sloan

My classmate discusses the possible advantages or disadvantages of having a smartphone in terms of individual choice: in other words, the decision to now have a smartphone or have one is merely an autonomous decision. My colleague then mentions some of the pragmatic advantages of a smartphone. The question I would ask from this answer is as follows: to what extent are individual choices and pragmatic choices interrelated? In other words, sometimes, if something is practical and we need it, we have no individual choice: for example, the modern student seems to be unable to function with a computer or the Internet. Therefore, reducing everything to merely individual choice overlooks the role the social discourse and social structure plays in shaping our choices.

  1. Question: The digital divide refers to people that have access to digital media versus those that do not. Are people who do not have a smartphone at a disadvantage (that is, are they on the wrong side of the digital divide)?

Classmate Response: The digital divide also explains and is defined in the text as the knowledge on how to use the technology that is currently available to access the media. So I would have to say, yes, a person without a smart phone is on one side of the digital divide. I can not say if it would be on the right or wrong side, because after reading some of the downsides of technology and there affects on culture, I do not know if technology is such a positive thing for everybody. Personally I do not have a smart phone, I never had one so I do not miss it. That being said my wife has one and every now and then I get a little jealous because of the things she can do with her phone any where she goes. I still need to get up and go to a computer, or stop and ask for directions. DQ5WK3 Alger

My client addresses the digital divide in terms of the textbook definition, whereby the digital divide refers to the knowledge of how to use the current technologies. But I would ask a subsequent question: why does this divide itself exist and who controls these accesses to knowledge? It would seem that such access is inevitably not the result of technology, but rather economics and social discourses which allow such access and potentially knowledge. Therefore, as I argued in my own answer, the digital divide and whether or not one has a smartphone has to be seen as symbolic of a greater social question: firstly, who controls the access to technology and its mastery?; and secondly, if such access is not free to all, why is this the case? This would seem to introduce a political element into the concept of the digital divide, however, one that seems entirely justified.