I've written several essays here about social media such as Facebook (one of many possible social network sites), Twitter,etc. I've also touched on the undefinably intense level of evil associated with the tethered network appliance - such as the cellphone bound to a particular carrier, the embedded smartphone browser with general either tied to a single set of sites, or otherwise standards disabled, or the random blu-ray player bound to a handful of vendor websites to receive a general protocol stream.

I've never said the two were connected. I've written carefully about social networking because it's defining and shaping a new generation of young children whose exposure to the intense environment of the net - has possibly affected the children in a negative way, and web pages such as facebook, or iphone 'apps' (really , also just web pages with embedded application capability) - are their primary means of undoing the damage. Children have become aware of the difficulty associated with being completely anonymous - they've figured out that we must maintain a certain level of identity in order to do business, and to create networks - but they are unable to deal with the mass effect of social dispersal and many to many connectivity that the internet has delivered. Their coping mechanisms are failing. Evidence of this can be seen from any street corner near a school - with children staring down at their cellphones, manically updating their facebook status.

This weekend, I visited a nondescript yard sale - with little more than 15 or so poor items to survey. The person who gave the sale proudly stated that "when she tweeted about the yard sale, many friends she'd never seen before contacted her". I replied, that perhaps the problem is that you don't see them now.

But far more sinister - is the attack against Net Neutrality. The broad internet has always been open and free. But Bush Republicans wanted to create tiers within the internet that allow internet service traffic to be segregated. This has huge consequences. What you pay for, when you get an internet connection - is the network segment from wherever you are, to a point of presence , or POP - located upstream. That POP, in turn, connects , usually, to a switch that then joins a large and publicly routed internet cloud. This cloud takes any date from those segments near you - that you are paying for, and tries to find equivalent path of speed to any other network - looking for the shortest path first, or the best path at the border of any other network.

This keeps the internet service provider honest, and the service content providers on equal footing. You are paying for a good connection and the ISP focus is to keep that connection active and strong.

But those who are fighting to kill network neutrality - are working to create structure that charges internet service providers within that cloud. This will set one site, over another one - and create sites that are habitually slower than others - even though all things are equal, getting from you - to the nearest point of presence. When you pay for an internet connection, do you want to pay for a connection that makes a random handful of websites, you might visit one day - slower, than any other set? Do you want to pay extra for the same service you already receive?

Keeping network neutrality in place is key to the growth and health of the internet. Large commercial players have come onto the net, and they want to try to bend and change the rules to benefit themselves. This is no different than the large and powerful financial institutions and corporations - who have been bending and in some cases breaking the rules to operate their shady businesses that, under the reign of the Bush Republicans, created a worldwide global financial network meltdown.

If big players want better performance on the net - as long as network neutrality is in place, they have to demand it from an Internet Service Provider who will overhaul larger segements of their own backbone network - which will, in turn, benefit you. Otherwise, you will allow them to create separate virtual and real networks whose equipment will be released only to the bigger client - their diaspora ultimately becoming the kill seed of the entire public internet. And, inevitably, the Bush Republicans who oppose network neutrality - if they are given control - will ultimately crash the entire public internet as hard and fast as they crashed the worldwide financial networks. The cost will be much greater, however. Can you live without your bank doing a derivatives based transaction for a mortgage backed security? Yes. Now, what about shutting down , for all intents and purposes - owing to its speed of delivery - your internet connection - because your favorite site didn't suck into a tiered agreement with an ISP. The killing joke, being, you paid for an internet connection at a certain speed, but if Network Neutrality dies - you won't get it.

So these are three important issues. But they are resolved by simple answers, to simple questions.

First, why is Facebook operating? And then, why vendors tether their appliances? Finally, why would anyone want to shut down the almost first amendment/free speech open character of the internet?

It turns out, the answer to all three questions is the same: because they can. And in a funny way, ranking your favorite films on Netflix and other sites - leads into the same issue. It's all about someone else trying to make a decision for you, that you would freely and willingly give away if you didn't notice it.

And how do we resolve it? Simple. Demand otherwise. Use the tools they give you, against them. For example, on your Netflix account - select and check similiar or suggested films to a point where the classic films you want to see or may have already seen, outweigh the second and third page films that they want you to see. Ignore the 'suggested rank' for the film, that they are giving you and simply go with content. When you rank a film, don't be afraid to express your complete rating - the artist lives or dies by how you really felt or what you really experienced, and not what you think you should say.

For Facebook, a supposed communications medium - the best way to deal with them is not to use them that much. They really want people to use them as a form of communication - that is how they will operate and intercede within the fabric of social communication, and if left to their device, the origin of the site - a means by which a boyfriend attempted to castigate his ex girlfriend publicly - will trace a network path into your life. Facebook's origin was evil, and they are evil. They are the friend you can't get rid of, that talks about you behind your back. The number of people that are 'on' Facebook, are not really 'on'. They're just registered web accounts, and represent filled out forms that are filed and saved electronically. 400 million single page web forms completed out of 20 billion human beings on the planet. Don't make Facebook part of your social network. Instead, use it as they use you - make it an advertising medium. And understand that any connection there, is just an advertisement. Just as any connection you receive. He wanted to put her face up there on the internet, without her permission, and have everyone tell her that she's ugly. Is this guy your friend?

And as far as getting a clean, strong, decent cellphone that doesn't have to have a two year contract with some single, proprietary cellphone provider - at this point, the only way that's going to happen is by legislation. America keeps getting passed on the street by Europe and Japan when it comes to high quality cellular tech and networking - going to Japan is an eye opening experience. The service is better, the phones are better, and all because the Japanese can buy whatever phone they like, and choose whatever carrier they wish with which to utilize it. That, and of course, the Japanese are cool but that's another story.

In general, it's the same with Net Neutrality. There are multiple faces to the problem - bordering on hydra - but the primary thing to do , is shut down the Bush Republicans. Wherever they are.

So. Play with rank. Don't become an avatar. Hack your appliance. And Vote. Get out and Vote this year. And you'll do ok.