An Eclectic Mind and Maria’s Guides are back online.
Yesterday, Wednesday, January 18, 2012, this blog, An Eclectic Mind, and my other main site, Maria’s Guides, went “on strike.” Like so many larger and more influential sites — such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, Reddit, and Boing Boing — I’d decided to help spread the word about the potential implications of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) by giving site visitors an idea of what things could be like if SOPA or PIPA became law. While I don’t claim that either I or this site have the ability to sway public opinion, I believe that a strike can be most effective when everyone participates. I was just doing my part.
(To be accurate, I need to point out that my sites were still accessible after seeing the initial information screen. I’ve worked very hard to build readership on The Eclectic Mind and Maria’s Guides and didn’t want to completely alienate visitors who were looking for specific information. (At least 75% of traffic to my sites comes from search engines.) But in order to see the content, visitors had to look at the Strike message and find the “Continue to Site” link. Or visit it more than once during the day. And judging from the site stats for the day, I can only assume that many people did not take that extra step — which doesn’t surprise me, given the extremely short attention spans of people these days.)
Amazingly, there are many Americans who don’t realize how SOPA and PIPA could affect them. And, as evidenced on Twitter yesterday, there are a surprising number of people who have never heard of either one. (If you’re one of these people, you might want to watch this video, which explains it using a whiteboard and a discussion of the actual wording of the legislation.)
So I’m glad I participated. I helped spread the word. I hope a lot of people did and that awareness for the potential problems was raised. With the participation of over 6,000 sites, I was one of many.
Did the January 18 Blackout/Strike help? This Forbes article certainly makes it seem as if it did. PC World confirms this. And Wikipedia reports lots of support from users.
But the fight is not over. Many Senators and members of Congress still support SOPA, PIPA, or both — including, embarrassingly, BOTH of the idiot Senators from my home state of Arizona. Although the vast majority of informed Americans area against SOPA/PIPA, our elected lawmakers apparently don’t remember who they are supposed to serve: the American people — not special interest groups. The only way they can be reminded is if we remind them — by contacting them and letting them know what we think.
I’m doing my part. Are you doing yours?
Because if this legislation passes, sites like mine — and so many others across the web — might go dark forever.
Stop SOPA/PIPA. Stop Internet censorship.