I took part in a protest of sorts yesterday along with millions of other citizens against some legal measures that, if enacted, would likely severely limit what websites I have access to. This post is not to hash out the arguments for and against. Rather, its meant as a testament to the incredible Power (with a capital P) we may wield when joined together in a common cause.
The internet represents a completely new, non-physical realm. Much of what I do on a daily basis in my work life takes place on the internet in some way shape or form. As someone who builds things that run on the internet, it’s tremendously pleasing to me personally that I am part of an emerging population of individuals that can coalece around an objective and make something happen.
Some Preliminary Results:
Fight for the Future reports about 75,000 websites took part in the protest Wed. Wikipedia says 162 million people viewed the blackout landing page, 8 million U.S. visitors looked up Congressional representatives and 12,000 people posted comments on Wikimedia Foundation’s blog post announcing the blackout.
The Los Angeles Times says Google confirmed that 4.5 million people signed the company’s petition to protest SOPA and PIPA, while 350,000 emails were sent to representatives via SopaStrike.com and AmericanCensorship.org.
Twitter reported over 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST on Jan. 18, with the top five terms being SOPA, Stop SOPA, PIPA, Tell Congress and #factswithoutwikipedia.
According to the White House, a combined 103,785 signed a petition to kill the bill. About 24 U.S. Senators have now come out against the bills, including former co-sponsors Ben Cardin, Marco Rubio and Roy Blunt.
This sort of action makes me wonder what might be possible if this same group of indivdiuals decided to move towards forcing political goals on a larger scale. Whereas our elected representatives often answer to business lobbies, what if we could force an answer to a progressive citizenry?
Or as Jeff Jarvis put it so well:
…we’re all lobbyists now, and that’s just as it should be. This movement didn’t need influence peddlers. It didn’t need political commercials. It didn’t need media. It needed only citizens who give a shit. Democracy.
Bravo Mr. Jarvis. Bravo Internet. Bravo Democracy!