I've gotten so upset by congressional complicity in SOPA / PIPA debate over the last couple of weeks, that I spent the entire day researching how to establish a Super Pac that advocates not for one candidate or another, but for the Internet community. I've registered theinternetvoice.org
and have both my Statement of Organization declaring "The Internet Voice" as a super pac and my FEC Form 1 filled out and read to go for the coming week. Monday morning I will contact a lawyer who be submitting paperwork to form a corporation in my state which will own and manage the super pac. Monday afternoon (or as soon as I can get the lawyer to file the articles of incorporation), I will open a bank account at a not-too-big-to-fail community bank.
Very early this morning I spent a couple of hours to write a screenplay for a thirty second TV spot that sends a message to congress and to the big media companies that we will not be silenced on issues that are important from not only a technical / engineering perspective, but also from a moral / decency perspective. I'm not enormously creative, but I think it's a really good first shot.
My intention for this super pac, is to receive input from the Internet community with some kind of voting system. The TV spot I just wrote will be reviewed by everyone and changes or edits voted on by everyone. With so many opinions on every side of every issue, naturally I, or someone I'm working with in the super pac will have to have a final "say", but unlike other super pacs, we're not going to just take money and make you trust us blindly. (it's the new media way... comon.)
There are a number of details I have to work out, and I'm not sure I have recent enough technical skill (I'm a web 1.0 programmer) to accomplish all that I want, but someone
has to start doing something. If someone with a shitload more money, time, and skill steals my thunder and gets one up-n-running before I'm able to, I'll cease my efforts, shut everything down, and write them a big check when payday gets here. I don't care if it's me doing it or someone else, and to be totally honest, I'd rather not be in the spotlight if I don't have to. But the only people who are acting are the big Internet companies we love because they have the funding to get lobbyists. And if these big Internet companies hadn't stepped up to the plate and initiated the "black out", would we, the general Internet engineer even have a voice. I love Google, Reddit, and all the other big shots. But I'm not willing to sit back and wait for them to give me my marching orders, as excellent as they have been so far.
Joel, everyone, the ridiculous attack on Internet freedom by well-financed, well-connected old media must be addressed from multiple angles on multiple fronts using old school communication (political TV advertising) and new media communication. Mike Arrington recently blogged something to the effect that the Internet has gotten sucked in to the way Washington works and sort of implied that we're all phucked now that we have to play by their rules and their game. Bullshit I say! What happened was Google and Reddit or other big companies FINALLY
went to the gunfight with an actual gun (lobbyist) instead of harsh language. In spite of that, these bills were not stopped because of the lobbying efforts of Google and others. These bills were stopped by the visibility that tens of thousands of phone calls and hundreds of thousands of emails and hundreds of millions of eyeballs produced.
I concur with other comments here lamenting the fact that we won a battle and now appear to be sitting idle. Internet fervor is a great thing and has the potential to do great things, but too often it comes in the bottom of the ninth, down by one, no one on base, with two outs and an 0-2 count. We need to change this!!! We may have won a battle and we should celebrate that victory and bask in our unity if just for a moment. But big media doesn't make plans for battle. They make plans for a war. The only way we can / will win the war is if we stop underestimating the enemy and start planning for the long term. We need to get rid of the microscopic attention span that plagues the general population and remain just as committed and excited in May when the news has all but forgot about our brief moment of victory.
A super pac certainly isn't going to solve everything and legally, it's restricted in what specifically it's allowed to do. BUT, what it can
do, it can do very
effectively. A black-out isn't going to win the war, though it will give us some success when used at the right time. Google's lobbyists can intercede on our behalf sometimes, but they aren't going to be there all the time or have the access to politicians when we'd like them to. Separately, these are effective tools each having a moment in time when they can be used. But... if we approach this from the same perspective as that of our enemy, with a "set" of arrows, our arsenal might, maybe, make this an even fight.
Whatever. I'm doing this. I may end up renting equipment and studio time on my own dime, and soliciting the help of friends and family for the TV spot. It's ok. I can probably cover the cost of production and can do all the post-production on my workstation. None of you know me from a hole in the wall and I wouldn't blame anyone for the "stink-eye" on my intentions, integrity, or wildly conflated ideas of being successful. I don't own an Internet company, am not a prolific blogger, and am not mentioned in any circles you know. I'm just another schmuck. An anonymous IT professional just trying to make it through life and suffering, like many of you, in my 9-5.
Having said that, if you're as pissed off as I am and have finally found a "cause" that you believe in because it impacts you, I'm all ears and welcome your company. If you have skills and some time, you are twice as welcome. Message me privately.