Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Observations from the Window 1.18

In my post earlier today I mentioned a column by Mark Schaefer in which he compared those participating in the SOPA blackout of social media to lemmings blindly following their leaders over a cliff. I really was irritated to the point of leaving a rare comment on his post (my comment). I did notice that he answered most comments so checked back later expecting the worst. With a little pride touched with guilt this is what I found.

"I think we are in violent agreement : )

I would never use an absolute like "all" or "none" to describe people and I'm appreciative that you are taking a thoughtful approach to the issue. My larger concern is about the many people who ONLY use social proof to make decisions and build momentum. Here is a small but accurate illustration. I recently had a controversial post tweeted by a powerful social media celebrity with 200,000 followers. It crashed my server. Despite the fact that my blog was down for more than an hour, the celeb continued to get Rt'ed by people who could not have possibly read the post, let alone agree with it.

A very minor thing. But it just shows how mindless the actions of the social hive can be. SOPA is a much bigger deal and just the beginning of the debate really. I can only hope there is a critical mass of people like you who will put on the brakes and think things through on these very important issues that will determine the future of our lives, and in a real way, our world.

Thanks for being a great example Katie."

Observations on Art 1.18

A friend of mine sent me this short film yesterday which I'm not going to comment on because it speaks rather well all on its own. I will however agree with what she said in the email, this girl had one hell of a year.

2011 from hey_rabbit on Vimeo.

"I shot a little video every day of 2011 on my Canon Powershot, then I edited it all down to a little over a second each. It's interesting to be able to look back on my year and remember these little moments. I love living in LA. I love the friends I've made. And I love seeing how much has changed over just one year being here. Sure, I guess now that I see it, I got sick and worked a lot this year (lots of driving, running around doing errands all day). But oh well, it's motivation for 2012!"

Observations from the Road 1.18

I'm currently on a train travelling back to the Village and just a little bored as I observe a self imposed twitter blackout in support of the Stop SOPA campaign. Honestly I think the only person hurt by my blackout is myself as I have to try and occupy my time with other things. The pun was fully intended and you can take it any way you want.

One thing I took away from J17 yesterday was a connection it has with the stop SOPA blackout of today, that being the almost total lack of serious coverage in the mainstream media. The only major msm coverage of Occupy Congress came late in the day when some fool threw a smoke bomb of some sort over the White House fence. As the White House was locked down the sudden explosion of headlines would have you think it was the modern version of the storming of the Tuileries Palace. In fact is was probably the only negative occurrence of a long day filled with protests and marches.

If not for the Wikipidia shutdown I wonder if the SOPA blackout would have gotten any positive coverage at all. Most of the msm outlets are of course owned by organizations that are members of or own members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The MPAA is the main force behind SOPA and in all likelihood its lawyers wrote the bill. The MPAA calls the blackout a  “gimmick… designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals.” MPAA president, and a senator for thirty years, Chris Dodd was crying on all the morning news shows while Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was nowhere to be seen. Dodd said on one show that the blackout turns web users into "corporate pawns." I think just maybe he should look in the mirror more often.

One blog post that totally irritated me said that the twitter blackout wasn't a political issue at all but simply a meme and its participants lemmings following the leaders over a cliff. I was forced to post a rare comment and you can read it here.

Maybe I should just play Angry Katies, emm, birds.