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The Results Of Net Neutrality Day

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net neutrality

On July 12, many well-known tech companies, websites, and activist groups participated in the “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality”…or just “Net Neutrality Day” for short. This day of protest sought to raise the alarm about net neutrality which is in danger thanks to a bill President Trump signed overturning rules put in place by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Many high-profile tech and media companies including Amazon, Reddit, Patreon, Vimeo, Kickstarter, Mozilla, and Etsy have voiced their support and/or participated in the protest.

Let’s back up a minute though. What is net neutrality and why should you care? Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow access to all web content regardless of where it comes from without favoring, blocking, or throttling a application or website. For example, let’s say you pay for a Netflix subscription. Because Netflix streaming requires a lot of bandwidth, your ISP (say Comcast) could charge Netflix for using bandwidth on its network. If Netflix doesn’t pay Comcast, then Comcast may reduce the bandwidth for their customers resulting in slower speeds and poor streaming for Netflix customers. Meanwhile, Comcast could prioritize its own streaming services. Net neutrality would prevent Comcast from prioritizing its own video streaming service and charging Netflix for the same kind of data. Video streams from both Comcast and Netflix would be equal or “neutral” instead of one preferred over the other.

Net neutrality proponents argue that data travelling over the internet should be equal and ISPs cannot prefer one website to another because it discourages competition. Larger companies such as Netflix and Amazon may be able to pay fees to ISPs for priority streaming but a smaller streaming company may not have the resources and so may not be able to compete. Further complicating the issue is that broadband competition is largely absent in many parts of the country. Many neighborhoods and apartment complexes only have access to one internet provider. Therefore, if Comcast throttled or blocked access to Netflix, a customer is unable to switch to another ISP because of the lack of choice (that’s another conversation).

Net neutrality opponents (mainly ISPs and conservatives) argue net neutrality regulations would stifle broadband innovation and make it harder for ISPs to recoup their network infrastructure investments. They argue that because it takes a lot of money to build out networks and keep internet traffic relatively fast, charging companies like Netflix for higher bandwidth will help pay for costs associated with having to accommodate higher fidelity content like 4K streaming and the addition of more internet users in general. Opponents also argue that net neutrality regulations would be harmful for small businesses or startups trying to enter the broadband space. ISPs reject the idea of becoming “dumb pipes” or having a network with little to no control or management of how users use the network. It’s analogous to how city infrastructure like water pipes are used. In fact, back in 2015, the Federal Communications Comission (FCC) ruled in favor of net neutrality and reclassified broadband as a Title II telecommunications service and thus placing new regulations from the Communications Act of 1934 and Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Alright, that was a lot of background, but let’s get back to Net Neutrality Day. Google published a blog post in defense of net neutrality but interestingly did not change the Google homepage or display any banner or Google Doodle about it. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg post on his personal page, “Right now, the FCC has rules in place to make sure the internet continues to be an open platform for everyone,” he writes. “At Facebook, we strongly support those rules. We’re also open to working with members of Congress and anyone else on laws to protect net neutrality.”

Popular message board/meme site Reddit placed a pop up that loads slowly. The point was to mimic what would happen if ISPs were allowed to throttle or slow down access to Reddit. Like Google, Twitter also published a blog post defending net neutrality. Netflix (which has had up and down support for net neutrality) posted a banner on its homepage saying “Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality.”

net neutrality day

Some of the more humorous protests came from Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and The Internet Archive. Mozilla (maker of the Firefox browser) released a nine hour YouTube video where the narrators “soothingly” reading pro net neutrality comments. The EFF and Internet Archive both had fake pop up messages that simulated what would happen without net neutrality.

What about the ISPs? Verizon and Comcast both released statements in response. Both companies support an “open internet” but reiterated their opposition to Title II with Comcast stating, “You can have strong and enforceable Open Internet protections without relying on rigid, innovation-killing utility regulation that was developed in the 1930s (Title II). While some seem to want to create hysteria that the Internet as we know it will disappear if their preferred regulatory scheme isn’t in place, that’s just not reality.” AT&T actually said that it was participating in the day of protest despite them being against net neutrality.

AT&T’s SVP of External and Legislative Affairs Bob Quinn wrote, “This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet. But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”

Whew. That was a lot. So here we are. Both sides of the net neutrality argument have valid arguments and the debate will probably never be settled soon. Based on the statements and actions by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and the Trump Administration, it seems that many net neutrality protections will be rolled back. However, that won’t stop the legions of net neutrality advocates from making their voices heard. More than 2 million comments have been sent to the FCC with millions more emails and phone calls going to members of Congress. Whatever side of the debate you claim, we must continue to respectfully hear arguments and ideas we disagree with in order to come to a compromise that will benefit us all. That will truly make the Internet better.

Business

How Sleep Affects Your Work

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Work Affected By Sleep

We don’t need any fancy research to know that lack of sleep can affect our work the next day. Insufficient sleep can cause drowsiness, lack of focus and tiredness which can negatively impact productivity. However, sleep is usually the first to go when you’re busy with work or school, parenting or have irregular work schedule. The busyness usually takes up lots of space in our lives, leaving little room for restful sleep. Here are some ways your lack of sleep can affect your business.

More Sick Days

Lack of sleep can lead to more sick days. Lack of sleep impacts the immune system so you are more likely to contract disease like the common cold and can affect how fast you recover from a virus. People who are sleep deprived are also at risk for hypertension. Lack of sleep affects stress hormones, which in turn can raise blood pressure levels.

Lost Productivity

According to a Harvard study, lack of sleep is costing the United States up to $63 billion due to lost productivity. People who do not get enough sleep or suffer from forms of insomnia cost US employers up to 8 days of lost productivity per year. This is because the less you sleep, the less productive you become. You are drowsy, tired, and unfocused at work, resulting in inefficiency.

Helps Prevent Burnout

Burnout can be a big problem in the workplace. Not only does it sap inspiration, but it can also cause job dissatisfaction. Studies show that getting more than 6 hours of sleep every night can help prevent job burnout. It also causes “difficulties detaching from thoughts of work during leisure time”.

Slows Thinking Process

Scientists discovered that sleep deprivation slows down the thinking process. In their study, people who lacked sleep had difficulties concentrating, had reduced capacity for attention and some activities led them to become confused. All of these can affect your abilities to do tasks that call for complexity or logic. People who are sleep deprived find it hard to make decisions because they find it more difficult to assess the situation.

Makes Learning Difficult

Sleep deprivation affects learning 2 ways. First, it makes it difficult to assimilate information because you are having a hard time focusing. Second, lack of sleep does not give neurons enough time to recover, which affects memory negatively. Lack of sleep also slows down reaction time, which is needed when you are driving or doing activities that require speed.

When you get enough sleep, your working memory capacity improves. According to studies by Michigan State, this memory is associated with problem solving, decision making, vocabulary and reading comprehension. This means getting enough shut eye makes you a better decision maker, communicator and troubleshooter.

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Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

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drive traffic to your blog

We’ve all been there before. We hit publish on our latest blog and wait for the avalanche of comments to come in, except they don’t. When this happens we can’t help but ask why. Before you lose your blogging confidence, here are some ways to drive traffic to your blog.

Share More Than Once

Most of us share our blogs across social media a few seconds after we hit publish. While this is sound strategy, there might be some people you missed during the first blast. To avoid too many people from seeping through the cracks, share your blog more than once. In fact, Garret Moon co-Founder and CEO of CoSchedule suggests that companies do not share content nearly as much as they need to. According to him we have a mentality of “share once and forget”.

A better solution is to share the same blog multiple times depending on the platform. For example, you might want to share a blog across all your social media accounts the moment it is published. Two hours later, you can share again on Twitter, the next day on Google+ and Facebook, next week on Tumblr. Some marketers think that this is spammy, but nobody really pays attention what you do online and this is just a way to make sure that nobody misses anything.

Leverage Twitter

Twitter is a great platform to make blogs go viral. Here are some things to do right away:

  • Complete your Twitter profile, avatar and header image.
  • Tweet on a regular basis, at least once a day.
  • Retweet interesting and related tweets from other members.
  • When sharing a post, make sure to include an image. You can use Twitshot to make things easier.
  • Always use a hashtag (#) when tweeting.

Optimize your Tweet text too. The best practice is to put the post title first followed by the URL and your Twitter handle. This optimized Twitter text will encourage users to click on the link and to follow you at the same time.

Get Influencers to Blog For You

Gain credibility and possibly followers by getting social influencers to blog for you. This means reaching out to people in your niche with the biggest followers and then asking them to contribute to your blog. By getting these guys involved, you get exceptional content while accessing a powerful distribution channel in the form of the contributor’s network. Unless your blog is super-prestigious, you might need to pay these influencers, but it is a good way to improve blog readership.

Include Visual Content or Videos

There are many studies suggesting that blogs with videos or images, especially infographic, find better engagement and more shares. Taking time and effort to add them to your blog can greatly impact traffic and readership.

Send Link To Relevant People

Send your blog to people or organizations that might be interested in what you have to say. Messages like “I recently published a blog on the impact of social media on entrepreneurs and thought you might be interested.” Offer to reciprocate so that your offer becomes tempting. Sending out your blog gives you the potential to expand your network while driving traffic to your blog.

These tips are not a substitute for good content but these strategies are simply about squeezing some more so that you end up with even more traffic. So make sure you have great content that has always has SEO in mind to drive more traffic to your blog.

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Business

5 Ways to Attract More Business

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business attraction

In this competitive era where every business is facing deep competition, it is essential to project a differentiating factor and adopt latest techniques for attracting more business to your business. It is often the failure of planning that leads to collapse and shut down of businesses. You need to have a proper strategy that can build a reputation of your business in the market. To run smooth and successful, have a prior construction of successive plans to target the potential customer base.

Here are 5 techniques to improve your business prospects.

Genuine Value

Be specific about the services or products that you offer so customers are not misguided. By going through the information that you provide, the targeted clientele must be able to understand the quality of your product or service offerings. Having a differentiating factor and projecting it effectively is essential to grab those choosy eyeballs of potential customers. Setting clear expectations and delivering the best within the deadline is the best way to retain customers and grow your business.

Business Website

The most important step to take when you start your business is to build your website. The website is your online identity and your biggest marketing weapon as far as the digital space is concerned. Make sure that the website is interactive, informative, and guides the visitors in the best possible way. It should be user-friendly and have the power to convert casual visitors into customers. Remember, a great website projects a great brand image.

Effective Communication

Be precise and dynamic when you communicate with potential patrons. Regularly updating your blog and listing the information related to your work will build a strong relationship between the reader and your business. Replying to queries and comments within a short time frame is very important and depicts that you value the interest which someone has in your business. Healthy communication will help frame a positive image of your business.

Socially Active

Socialization is very important in today’s world. With billions of people on social media, these platforms have become effective marketing channels and one of the best source of generating prospective clients for your business. Having well-defined social media marketing strategies and getting your business highlighted on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others has become essential. People these days have a tendency to refer to social media when they need any product or service and have a strong affinity for brands. The return on investment in case of social media marketing is also very high if the business adopts the right strategies.

Search Engine Optimization

This is the digital marketing technique that can help your business be listed on the top search pages of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. With a comprehensive list of well-researched keywords defining the nature of your business, SEO experts will target your business with informative content on the top search engine pages and improve your page ranking. Off-page SEO techniques have also become very important due to the cut throat competition in the SEO space.

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