Within the week the FCC is going to rule on the integral idea of internet neutrality, and the resulting effects could have lasting impact on the way the internet is used and viewed as a technological medium. The debate of net neutrality it is the idea of whether or not the internet should remain a public outlet for citizens. Major internet providers like Verizon are claiming that since they provide the infrastructure for public internet access, then they should be allowed to charge the public for use of their framework. The case of FCC v. Verizon brings into question the societal understanding of the internet as a free and public medium. The current chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, speaks to the pressures from both internet providers on one side and proponents of net neutrality, such as an outspoken President Obama, on the other. The current debate about internet neutrality interestingly ties into this week’s readings in Kriess’ book about political campaign’s organization. Kriess highlighted the way politicians have been able to use the changing technological landscape to aid in their campaign’s organization. If the internet were to become a privatized medium for the American people, it could radically alter the ways campaigns not only organized but diffused information. Despite the current, heated debates over the FCC’s impending decision, future political campaigns will have no choice but to adapt to the constantly changing technological landscape if they want to be successful.
Net neutrality could potentially hinder campaign’s utilization of the internet, but they will adapt to the new challenges and find alternative outlets for their message. The most successful political campaigns since the 20th century have been the ones that have successfully utilized the state of new technology to propel their campaign forward. The advent of television famously shaped the election between Kennedy and Nixon. The 21st century has brought the internet as a free and public forum for politicians to quickly and efficiently disperse their messages to millions of people. This week’s reading by Kriess stated that modern campaigns use the wealth of information on the internet to hone their organization and target specific voters. He states that the current idea of new media infrastructure, “encompasses the technical artifacts, organizational forms, and social practices that provide background context for action.” Depending on the FCC’s ruling, the free information on the internet could become difficult and costly for campaigns to access. This will force campaigns to either pay expensive internet usage fees or find creative ways to diffuse their campaign information. This relevant technological issue could reshape the campaign process, but not derail it. Successful campaigns will understand the new landscape and adapt their organization accordingly. Forward thinking campaigns have historically been very adaptable to the changes in the mediums that they utilize.
The privatization of the internet would not devastate the situation of political campaigns, but it is nevertheless a relevant tie in to the discussion of how technology has abetted political organization. While not necessarily a game changer, the decision of internet neutrality highlights the importance of campaigns to predicts the technological landscape to help shape their organization and messaging.