CELEBRATE! profile: Jeffrey Flitter '14

The junior broadcast major analyzed remarks at a 2012 international conference for trends on how technology thought leaders view the future the Internet.

By Caitlin O’Donnell ’13

The future of the Internet is bright, if the research of Jeff Flitter ’14 is any indication. 

Last spring, Flitter traveled to Geneva, Switzerland with a team of multimedia journalists from Elon University’s Imagining the Internet center to cover the Internet Society’s 20th anniversary Global INET Conference.

There, pioneers and leaders met to network, discuss the future of the Internet and address critical issues affecting its maintenance. The conference also included the induction of an inaugural Internet Hall of Fame, which recognized Internet pioneers and innovators.

Flitter later conducted a content study of footage from interviews, panel discussions and speeches, including those given during the induction ceremony, to determine what trends characterized participants’ opinion of the Internet.

His findings are the latest to be featured this week in a series of E-Net stories on students taking part in the university’s CELEBRATE! program. He’ll share his work on April 23 during the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum.

“The majority of (opinions) aligned with the Internet Society’s key core values, which are the ability to speak, share, connect, collaborate and innovate – and the ability to trust you can do these things securely and without fear of government repercussions,” Flitter said.

Flitter’s conclusion took the form of a short video that highlighted comments from participants. He screened the video earlier this month at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse and hopes to feature the footage on Imagining the Internet’s website. 

“We found that these six things are core values that were behind the creation of the Internet, behind what the Internet stands for today and what Internet creators and innovators hope will carry forward into the next generation as they let go of the Internet and let our generation take control,” he said.

The broadcast major said the process of combining his interest in broadcast with scholarly research was both new and exciting.

“I really had to work for it, look deeply at what everyone was saying,” he said. “I had to take a scholarly view we don’t often have in the communications field and mix it with my production skills to come up with the project and create the video.”

Flitter said undergraduate research is something every student should consider, though it might not always be the best fit for all students.

“I think that there are definite benefits to research,” Flitter said. “I’m a firm believer that every experience you have is what you make of it so I think anyone can get a lot out of research by making it their own and applying it to what they’re interested in.”

CELEBRATE! Is Elon University’s annual, weeklong celebration of student achievements in academics and the arts. For more information, visit elon.edu/celebrate.

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