I recently wrote an article on the web blackouts. Old media versus new media and all that jazz. What happened? Minds changed in Congress, including the authors and major supporters of the bills. Why is this an epic turn of events? The people, armed with the new media tools (social networking, emails and websites) and old school tools (phones and conversations) were heard and made change happen. How? Read the link above.
With the old guard of the powerful recording industry and motion picture industry working hard with Congress to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and Protect I.P. Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
New media giants answered back wielding a powerful sward—the support of the people. Facebook, Google, Amazon and many more have been communicating directly with Congress on ways to improve the proposed legislation without impeding progress in technology and communications whilst rallying worldwide awareness through their massively popular sites.
And one by one, emails and phone calls poured into Congress opposing the bills from all across America. Petitions were signed in mass and brought forward. The internet giants were quickly impacting politics in a fashion never seen before.
How did they do this? January 18, 2012, the internet went black. Well, not exactly. Several internet sites went dark in protest to SOPA and PIPA. This marks the first time in history that major internet sites used their substantial power to communicate a single message to the people and to the government. It worked.
Wikipedia and reddit were among the most dramatic internet sites to “go dark” in protest. Neither of these sites were accessible when you went to their sites on this fateful day. Wikipedia did have a few different ways you could get around its blackout and still use the site if you insisted, such as via mobile phone and tablet apps.
Other internet big shots used their power to communicate with a mass audience in different ways. Google put a black banner over its famous Google logo that lead to an on-line petition against the proposed bills, which it encouraged its users to sign. Facebook took on a life of its own in the social fashion that is all Facebook—its users spread the message on a viral scale…
While protests are notorious for making a lot of noise at worst and raising awareness at best, this one had teeth. . .
While the premise of preventing piracy is a legitimate concern to protect the intellectual property rights of creators and those who lay claim to the ownership of such things, most agree, upon hearing a resounding cry from across the land, that the legislation proposed needs significant changes. These changes include language that ensures progress in technology continues and people can continue to use this platform in innovative ways.
What might possibly be even more significant than all of this change of hearts and minds is that the people have learned, first hand, that they have not lost total control over their government. Perhaps with support of new media and the platforms they provide, change, meaningful change, is possible.
It’s worth studying this grand accomplishment to see how in the future, the people can wield this powerful sward again. Yes, the new media giants had a lot to do with this change as well. But, it wasn’t until the people spoke up that Congress echoed its collective change of heart. Now, let’s do this damn thing again!
Again, here’s the link to my full article: http://saintpetersblog.com/2012/01/battle-between-old-world-media-and-new-media-the-new-kids-have-teeth-and-so-do-the-people/