Geeks Beware: Interweb Gatekeepers Want To Restrict Your Access To Technology
Being a geek comes with certain obligations. You don’t need to read every new sci-fi novel or buy every WoW expansion, but you do need to make regular use of technology. You can fulfill your geekdom duties whether you’re gaming, coding, or blogging. Except, you can’t blog if you attend Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, New Jersey. According to the school, banning students from having a personal blog isn’t censorship – it’s a lesson in civility, courtesy, and respect.
It’s clear this school has a one-sided view of blogging. While the popular crowd might use blogs to complain about and make fun of others, geeks blog for good reasons. Some of us enjoy sharing our passions with others. Some of us write fan fiction with our friends. Some of us use our blogs to experiment with PHP, and other programming languages we’re determined to master.
Geeks thrive on technology
As geeks, we love technology and want to steep ourselves in it as deeply as possible. Banning us from having a blog is like stripping away our entire foundation for our life’s purpose. We can’t perfect our coding skills if we can’t build a blog and create custom plugins. We’re not going to write fan fic if we can’t publish it for others to read. And what about video blogging? Plenty of geeks (think PewDiePie) make their living geeking out about math and memes, and reviewing video games on YouTube.
It’s bad enough that Net Neutrality has been eliminated, allowing ISPs to control access to content, and throttle speeds for content owners who can’t afford to pay for higher speeds. Back in the day, ISPs provided you with the speed you paid for. If you were on a T-1 line and a website was slow, it was the website’s error. Today, if you can’t access a website quickly, it may not be the website’s fault. Your ISP could be slowing down your speed because the website owner didn’t pay up.
Unfortunately, technology bans and restrictions are happening everywhere. It’s happening in New York, and other places, giving rise to important questions: who owns the internet? What about free speech? Isn’t parody protected? Is the end of Net Netruality the end of free expression? Why should everyone pay the price for people who use blogs to complain?
Underground projects are being threatened
When the internet was fairly new, anyone could launch a new game, host it on a server, and ISPs couldn’t block or throttle access. Today, they can. In fact, companies able to pay ISPs large sums of money are able to serve their content to customers faster than those who can’t afford to pay. This is part of the reason you don’t come across underground games on Google anymore. They’re out there, but good luck finding them. Applications launched by independent game creators and programmers are buried in the search engines. The only way to find them is through word of mouth, or, if you’re lucky enough to come across the developer on social media. However, search algorithms filter out unpopular content, and give more weight to popular content. That’s bad news for geeks looking to find underground applications.
Before Newgrounds collected a community of game creators, similar independent game sites used to pop up all over the place in the late 90s and early 00s. Gamers would launch experimental web applications left and right, testing them out on random visitors. You could find these sites through the major search engines. Today, you can’t.
Turn your geek up full blast
If you’re a geek with a good idea or an application, turn up your efforts full blast. Get on social media, get on the discussion forums, post on Reddit, and keep making noise. Start a YouTube channel. If you don’t like talking to the camera, pretend you’re talking to your dog.
Other geeks are looking for your game, your blog, or your ideas. Get on social media to spread the word. Don’t let your work get buried by the powers that want to suppress unpopular content.