MySpace blazed a trail that Facebook paved over with a massive Interstate, iTunes has pretty much killed retail music stores, Amazon is now beginning to conquer book stores and Hulu and NetFlix are biting away at traditional TV and video stores like Blockbuster. Our lives are moving more and more online, but calling it social media does not make being online social. But there are some that just cannot keep up – rural America. Believe it or not, there are areas of the United States that has no dsl service. Poor souls like me are limited to satellite internet services like HughesNet or Wild Blue.
What few gather from the advertisements for HughesNet is that they limit the amount of information that can be downloaded in a 24 hour period. So, one is able to feel they have something similar to dsl until they try joining the social network of life online. The download limits prevent enjoying youtube, hulu or or even network tv streaming services. To aggravate these customers with limited internet access even more, NetFlix changes its plans to a streaming service for all (even the ones that cannot take advantage of it) and eliminates the multiple dvd plans for only a singular dvd plan. This results in even less movies per month on dvd for these rural customers with satellite internet.
I live with debilitating Multiple Sclerosis and the Internet is the main way I can keep connected to a world I am not always able to take part in fully. NetFlix was a salvation for entertainment since this little rural area has no movie theater and my limited driving even negates the local Blockbuster as an option to be my movie source. Congress feels no need to discuss issues of accessibility. Actually the US has now fallen to 27th in the world for household usage, broadband penetration and 22nd place in broadband use by population.1 As progress is made, the US is not only NOT the leader, the US is falling behind the rest of the world.
So many think of rural areas as redneck, backwards and a little lost in time, what does this say of us as a nation that it acceptable to leave so many behind when as a nation, the US is falling behind on many of what used to be its leadership. Americans will be seen as the world’s rednecks – not that there is anything wrong with being redneck (speaking of being dated, let me see who got that Sienfeld reference lol).
I have limits because of my MS, I am limited for social opportunities being gay in a small town, I have limited entertainment options and even have limited download capacity to interact and be social with the world. Not that it matters, someone recently said to me, “I did not know you were back home.” I replied, “I told everyone, I posted it on facebook.” How social am I being to not even call, text, or e-mail anymore that I let a facebook post be my social interaction with friends and family? How nonsocial am I becoming? Where will this lead us as a nation to become so socially – nonsocial where we are already behind the rest of the world with the application of this technology?
Recently I have been trying to win a trip to New York City and I invite friends and family to “vote” for my about.me page. I have about 250 friends on facebook, but only have 45 votes after 2 days of requests for friends and family to vote (some of those votes are people who vote each day). Socially I am striking out in my social network because I cannot even get friends and family to clink one link to help me win a trip! lol It is prom and I am campaigning to be King in a school where few even want me to have a ticket! lol But so few even care if I have a ticket! 😦 It is like the paypal button that NO ONE has used in the year and a half since I added it! lol