What’re we fighting for?

Rather than rehash all the blacked-out pages, links to legislation and high-minded, well-meaning commentary, I thought I’d fill the void by blogging about what the SOPA/PIPA link you share says about your approach to the internet.

Yes, I’m doing one of those lists.

Because the internet demands blood & shitty “content” today.

(Isn’t that what we’re all fighting for, after all? The right to use the internet for shit self expression?)

The most baseline form of “support” folks are showing is to link to an animated gif – a comic – from The Oatmeal.

It's the end of the internet as we know (and I feel fine)
It's the end of the internet as we know (and I feel fine)

What this says about you: If you’ve done this, it means you don’t really create any value on the internet. You just share around the same tired meme as everyone else, even if you got their first.

The second popular way to show your opposition to SOPA/PIPA is to link to Google’s two-pronged infographic & online petition.

Google's "Take Action" site
Google's "Take Action" site

What this says about you: All the above still applies, but you’re also willing to substitute filling out a simple form for actually taking meaningful action.

Everyone knows that if Congress actively understood the internet they wouldn’t have dreamed up this bullshit! Right this very second they’re discounting your “virtual signature” as that of an underage, basement-dwelling, non-stop-pirating malcontent.

Oh, but your voice is being heard. YOU SIGNED THE PETITION.

(Ed. note: I did this one)

The last/best approach (in my opinion) is Tumblr’s rolling roadblock. Users read their official statement and can instantly put in their own info to experience the following:

  1. Get a pre-recorded phone call from someone at Tumblr, explaining the laws and what you should say to your Senator
  2. Afterwords be instantly connected to your Senator’s office to lodge your complaint
Tumblr: Save The Internet
Tumblr: Save The Internet

What this says about you: All the above, BUT you were willing to put your own statement on your own blog (much like this one) AND you were willing to pick up the phone, identify yourself as a living, breathing constituent and say your peace.

Nothing motivates the Congress critters like phone calls and my Senator’s office (Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia) admitted they were getting a high volume of calls today in opposition to SOPA/PIPA.

Unless you’re a douchebag, you should probably do this. (I just did it. Still probably a douchebag though.)

Or sign that Google petition.

Or post that Oatmeal cartoon.

Or, at the very least, read some more about why the laws are crap.

Failing that, just enjoy some of the sites that are blacked out and fill your internets with rage.

It is demanded of you for using this thing.

Anyhow, we’re all damned fools for thinking this party wasn’t going to be crashed by the police at some point.

The music is too loud (betcha thought I was gonna say “stolen”).
We didn’t invite the neighbors (mine don’t even know I have this blog and we’re probably NOT Facebook friends)
A few dicks are always going to ruin it for everyone.

Until tomorrow.

Mobile Me

In the interest of confusing the hell out of search engines and readers alike, I titled this post “Mobile Me”, in the style of Apple’s signature syncing technology (which I completely need to purchase but never end up doing).

No, I’m thinking more about the relationship (and yes, it’s a relationship) I have to the internet and how closely tied I am to my phone, my netbook and my Nook (eReader).

While in Mexico for Spring Break I turned off my iPhone, had the Nook in Airplane mode (for battery conservation) and only used the netbook once. It was like being on an island.

It was actually Cozumel, so it was literally an island, but it was also metaphorically an island of (self-imposed) lack of connectivity.

What the trip taught me, aside from the fact that I don’t necessarily need to be as connected as I am, is that being connected on a mobile device is much more meaningful than connecting on a desktop or laptop. Heck, my work laptop hardly ever leaves its stand in my office and my desktop has been resigned to near-paperweight status, so my main modes of internet usage are primarily handheld and mobile these days.

Turns out I’m not alone (and will be getting much more company soon).

The video above (linked & embedded) is a presentation by Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley, given at Google recently. GigaOM has the pull quotes that hit me the hardest (emphasis mine):

The Morgan Stanley analyst says that the world is currently in the midst of the fifth major technology cycle of the past half a century. The previous four were the mainframe era of the 1950s and 60s, the mini-computer era of the 1970s and the desktop Internet era of the 80s. The current cycle is the era of the mobile Internet, she says — predicting that within the next five years “more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.” As she puts it on one of the slides in the report: “Rapid Ramp of Mobile Internet Usage Will be a Boon to Consumers and Some Companies Will Likely Win Big (Potentially Very Big) While Many Will Wonder What Just Happened.”

I’m already 75% there myself and we’ve gotten Raelyn a netbook for her upcoming birthday and Jenn & I are likely to replace our current desktops with laptops (and large terabyte+ external HDs) when the time comes. The future (as it usually is) is already here.

I’m even more excited to make the move to a more mobile-connected future now that I’ve seen these photos & video of the new iPhone. Yowza! My current contract is up in June and hopefully the new iPhones won’t be far behind.

Some of the things I love about being able to carry the internet with me (instead of waiting around catalog the day’s events):

  • Checking in via Foursquare/Gowalla
  • Though I’m clearly a creature of considerable habit, it’s still fun to keep folks up-to-date.

  • Sharing pictures of my beer drinking
  • A man should have hobbies.

  • Share my rapier wit/spew bile
  • Hello, Twitter!

  • Download a bestseller based on the readership of others in the airport
  • A horrible practice if you’re looking for quality literature, but still fun to do! Also, it’s fun to imagine a paperless world.

I need to upgrade my photographic capabilities (Eye-Fi Explore X2 [hint, hint!]) to really take advantage of the DSLR + Vacation + Flickr + Facebook + Twitter math, but I’m working on it. It would also make workflow easier, but that’s another post entirely.

Despite the fact that this entire post was written sitting at my desk, connected to the internet via a laptop serving as a desktop, I feel completely confident that won’t be the case for the majority of my internet usage this year or any year in the future.

See you on my phone!


I’m going to indulge in my man-crush/obsession with Merlin Mann a little bit by linking to two of his related, prescient bits regarding community and the internet: via Twitter and one of his podcasts, Quotidian Public Radio.

Here’s a shot of Merlin’s wit, for those too lazy to click:

Merlin Mann's takedown of drive-by commentary on the internet. Also: FIRST!
Merlin Mann's takedown of drive-by commentary on the internet. Also: FIRST!

For whatever reason’s Merlin’s rapier wit (and it is sharp, you should follow him on twitter, read his blog or listen/watch his podcasts. Really funny guy) made me draw the following conclusion: Old Spice is stealing its ideas from porn.

You heard me right (technically you didn’t hear me, you read me): Old Spice and its centaur-centric ad campaign is taking its cues from a weird online fetish image manipulation/fanfic community.

I realize the campaign is old (I get that I’m not nearly “first” on this one), but I just saw it again in the paper or a magazine at the gym yesterday so it’s top-of-mind.

I don’t know why I’ve drawn this connection but such is the internet and also, apparently, the darker recesses of my mind.

It’s this kind of internet meme recycling that is simultaneously the lifeblood of the internet, the snipe-hunting goal of most “advertising” and the reason why non-digital-natives hate the online space.

Also, it’s a bit of a simulacrum for real creativity which it seems is actually a very scarce resource.

Anyhow, I’m going to get off my soapbox now. Feel free to be the first to leave a comment, but please don’t confuse me with Andrew Keen, I’m just feeling cranky today.

Just to heap some more praise on Merlin, here’s my SAT comparison:

Alton Brown::Food as Merlin Mann::Internet

He’s that good folks. I’d steal from him any day.

Enjoy your Good Friday and Easter/Passover weekend.