ISPs and Internet Privacy

Back in October, the FCC passed a law that never went into effect. This law would have required that Internet Service Providers receive explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data like financial or health information, or browsing history were to be shared or sold. The law never went into effect because Congress repealed it recently.

Today advertisers’ audiences are spread across devices. Internet Service Providers are the missing piece of information that advertisers need to connect internet users across devices. There is an incredible amount of user behavior data in this. This would greatly increase the amount of data that is mined from people and sold to companies.

For advertisers, the most interested and valuable data is search, social media data and ISPs can get them closer to understanding this.  Would this give marketers and advertisers too much of an insight into consumers?  Or because this is the time of instant gratification,  do today’s consumers want hyper targeted advertisements to cut out media noise?



3 Companies Bridging The Digital Divide

What is the Digital Divide?

The digital divide is the gap between demographics, regions, and personal choices that separate the computer literate an the computer illiterate. This is the difference between persons with access to modern information and information platforms. The digital divide exists between:

  • the educated and uneducated
  • between socioeconomic groups
  • globally – nations that have access and nations that do not or have limited/restricted

The digital divide can be seen in low-performance computers, lower-speed wireless connections, limited access to subscription-based content and more…


The digital divide is very real. In a 2013 study, the U.S White House broadband report showed that only 71% of American homes have adopted broadband. 


How can we improve on the digital divide?

There are many ways to improve the digital divide including:

  • improved literacy
  • democracy
  • social mobility
  • economic growth
  • economic equality


3 Companies Helping Bridge The Digital Divide Gap

  1. Amazon Prime Student Subscription

Prime student seeks to bridge the digital divide for students. If you have a .edu email address you can sign up for Prime Student. This give you access to a free six-month Amazon Prime trial. You will receive free two day shipping on eligible products, unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and media, unlimited photo storage and student exclusive discounts/deals. At the ends of the trial, you will be eligible for 50% off a Prime membership.

    2. Comcast’s Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials seeks to bridge the digital divide for low-income families. It provides families discounted monthly broadband internet service. They also provide the hardware on a need basis. The program takes bridging the digital divide a step further by also offering extensive free digital literacy instruction, on-line and in-person in English or Spanish.

     3. The Accountability Lab

The Accountability Lab is trying to bridge the digital divide gap globally. They are currently working with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism in Liberia to build an open data hub and government information portal. This project combined with mobile penetration and internet literacy initiatives are helping provide critical information to thousands of citizens in Liberia.




What is ‘Social’ by ‘Social Definitions’?

Social media – we live by it, companies are desperately trying to grasp it, and your older relatives are telling you it is rotting your brain. (Funny thing is they use it more than anyone!)

We are all familiar with the concept- create your profile, build your friend base…use it…use it…use it. But what actually is a social network and what makes it social? Why are all website social media? You can interact with people on them. You can create a profile on some of them, make comments, and engage with others, but many of our favorite websites that do this are not considered ‘social’ by the ‘social definition’.  So, what is a social network and what defines it? 

What is a social network?

Social networks are virtual communities, usually profile based, that bring people together who share certain interests or ideas, to interact with each other, make new friends, and post media. On social networks, millions of different people can create new content to be distributed, shared, or altered. Sounds similar to a website right? Wrong, there are 3 distinct features that a social network must have to define it as ‘social’.

What defines a social network?

A social networking site is defined as a web-based service that allows individuals to:

  1. Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system. 
  2. Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection. 
  3. View and traverse their list of connection and those made by others within in the system.

This defines a ‘true’ social network, according to a 2007 scholarly article by Boyd and Ellison.

Now that you know the true definition of a social network, which platforms that you use are ‘social’ by ‘social definitions’?



The Internet … 30 Years Ago

In a land far, far away, there was no modern day internet. Today we: send emails; make calls; share media and information, and develop relationships over the internet. A study by Pew Research Center conducted in December 2015, found that 73% of people who live in the United States use the internet daily.

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The internet is everything superficial to us. But in the year 1957, the internet as we know it did not exist. What was the internet like in 1957 and what concepts help shape it into the internet of today?

The Internet in 1957

In the year 1957, computers only worked on one task at a time. This was called batch processing. Computers were extremely large machines and had to be stored in special cool rooms. Developers were not able to work directly with them. This indirect programming leads to many computer bugs.

Remote Connections – The First Step

In 1957, remote connections were installed so developers could work directly on computers.

Time Sharing – Another One

Time sharing is the sharing of the processing power of one computer with multiple users. The idea of time sharing was first introduced in 1957 and became the first concept in computer technology as we know it today.

The Cold War Heats Up The Internet

The next step in the development of the internet was on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik 1.  This was the Earth’s first official satellite in space. The United States fired back with a technology of their own, DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, was the large scale knowledge transferring system. From DARPA’s central role in the information revolution that helped further the development of ARPANET.  The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, also known as ARPANET, was an early packet switching network. It was also the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP.

Packet switching and the protocol suite TCP/IP were fundamental concepts in the development of the internet. Check out the whole history of the internet.


Media Convergence: Changing the World – One Connection At A Time

Smart phones, Facebook, and tablets. Oh, my! This just touches the surface on how many devices we have nowadays to connect us with each other. Don’t have my number, Facebook message me, not on Facebook, slide into my Instagram DMs. It is almost impossible to fall off the map. And what’s more impossible, turning a blind eye to media.
So what makes us so connected? Is it our constant longing for human attention? What about our obsession with knowing everything that is happening in the world, at all times? It’s both, but you can blame media convergence. Media convergence is the interconnectivity of platforms and devices. In English, you can now watch your favorite television show on your smart phone, tablet, computer, or desktop. You can catch a basketball game LIVE on Facebook. That’s media convergence. And it’s changing the world!
How might you ask? Well, there are three ways it is altering the way we interact with media, companies, and each other.

Big Data and Media Convergence

The first and most important way media convergence is changing the world is the rise of big data. Media convergence is one of the reasons companies can literally market to you anywhere. Because all of our internet touch points are being tracked in combination with our devices, the ‘eye in the sky’ knows exactly what you Google. It knows exactly how long you spent watching Netflix today- 5 hours, #alwayswatching. It is changing what companies know about us. We are no longer apart of a demographic, we are categorized by our online behaviors. Don’t believe me, every time you see a “like us on Facebook” plugin on a website you are being tracked. Every time you enter a website, there are cookies on it. However, big data is not all bad. Marketers and advertisers can now fully understand you. They can present you with products, services, and content you never knew you wanted. My only advice, watch what you are Googling late night.

Instant Gratification and Social Media

The second way media convergence is changing the world is the idea of instant gratification. You can now watch your favorite shows, listen to your favorite music, or see what your friends are doing on Snapchat, anytime and anywhere.  The media you want to consume is at your fingertips at all times. You can have it in the time it takes to load a mobile app, a web page, or platform. In the past, TV shows were events. Everyone gathered around the television at 8:00 PM on Thursday to watch Friends. Today, you can use your smart phone to watch it live or your DVR to record it and skip commercials. Media convergence, taking couch potatoes to the next level!

“Do It For The Gram – Or Whatever Platform You Use”

The third way media convergence is changing the world is creating media producers out of media consumers.  Social media and Web 2.0 are a direct result of media convergence.  You can create posts, tweet, take pictures; in a matter of minutes. And with the rise of instant gratification we discussed before, people are doing this more and more. “How many likes did I get?” “Did you see what I just shared with you?” “Do it for the gram!” These are all examples of everyday language that has evolved because we as media consumers are also producers. And companies are capitalizing on this! What a better way to get people involved with your marketing campaigns then having them make a video for you. Every day more companies are turning to curated content to push out to their consumers. And what better way to know what consumers want to see from advertising then letting them do it themselves.
Media convergence has changed the world in many ways. It allows for media consumers to be in control of what they consume and when. It lets them create their own media and most importantly it gives us, marketing, communications, and advertising professionals insights into the consumer behavior that we have never had before.