Save the Net!
I have to give Jeff Pulver some credit for coming up with this nifty idea about how to get the word out about our potenially eroding net freedoms. Save the Net is a contest where you can submit your own video, ideas, and media for getting the message out to the mainstream media about what is happening to our freedoms on the Internet and what we need to do to turn the tide back towards freedom. Jeff and his team will then use his considerable resources to distribute the winning ideas to a larger, hopefully off-net audience.
Keeping the message on-net, meaning only distributing the “Save the Net” message on the Internet is a bit like preaching to the choir. Only those who are on the net will see the message–assuming they can find it. Really, though, this is a much bigger issue than just the Internet. To have a bigger impact on public policy and at least get the conversation started, the word must go as far and wide as possible. And I hate to say it, but conventional radio and television still have a farther reach than the Internet.
When I first read about this, it was 2am and really needed to go to bed so I didn’t think about it too much. When I came back to the idea later this morning, the first thought I had was a series of commercials I saw as a kid about voting. I’m sure the messages were backed by one political party or the other, but that’s really not important. The core of the message was to get people out there to vote.
One particular commercial I remember involved a kind of future America where most people weren’t allowed to vote. A granddad was with his grandchild and was bemoaning the fact that the world became the way it was because people didn’t vote. While this voiceover nears it’s end, you see a shadowy, evil looking figure about to pull what appears to be a voting lever. He has a evil looking smirk on his face and is wearing dark, possibly mirrored sunglasses. The commercial ends with the words “If you don’t vote, Who will?” in white on a black background. For me, that commercial was powerful and solidified my belief that I should, whenever given the opportunity, to vote.
While I am not exactly a creative type, at least in this way, maybe someone on the net could put together a similar commercial, showing a bleak future where our net freedoms are lost. Show how it affects not just geeks, but everyone. Show those who are likely to benefit from a loss of net freedoms, give them an “evil, menacing look.” Show the raw greed, raw power. I hate to say spread FUD, but we need to pull out all the stops in out messaging if we are to tip the balance of power towards us.
Let’s be clear, this is not a discussion, this is a war. Our net freedoms are in imminent danger of being taken away. While I lack the creative talents to be able to pull this off, I know that there are many of you out there that do. Feel free to take my idea and run with it or if you think of a better one, use your own. Either way, be part of the solution and don’t sit idly by as our freedoms slip through our fingers.
I want to tell my grandkids about the freedoms we have gained, not about the freedoms we have lost.