Thoughts from a pretty weird, disturbing Saturday.I was supposed to be watching tennis. Instead, I had my neck bent at an uncomfortable angle, my fingers scrolling through a Twitter timeline that would prove to engulf my day and imbue it with a frenetic energy that, sitting on a couch hundreds of miles away, I had trouble controlling.
What happened in Charlottesville unfolded in real time, on Twitter and elsewhere, similar to other events that we now, months or years later, refer to primarily by their location — Ferguson, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino — or the name of the victim. There are so many victims.
Yesterday, though, I had a sober thought amidst the chaos: that despite the divisive and horrific nature of the images being captured and conveyed across myriad channels, they were being captured by everyone, all at once, and disseminated through an open internet that does not discriminate of the type or origin of the content itself. Whether it was Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Livestream or any number of platforms, no one was being prevented — no company or government stood in the way — from seeing the turmoil and judging for him or herself the verisimilitude of the claims therein.
The networks stayed up and performed their function without bias — they were dumb pipes.
On the other side of the argument — and this isn’t sexy, but it’s business — the recent ramp-up of competition in the wireless space in the U.S., led by T-Mobile, allowed people in Charlottesville to continue streaming without fear of enormous overage charges or punitive throttling. And that despite the concentration of people, we didn’t hear about any one network struggling to keep up with the strain of people hammering its core with a stream of video-intensive activities. The carriers performed as they were meant to: