Digital Protests

There’s quite a bit of reason to fear the anger of the nerd hivemind. The often socially-awkward avengers have, over the past year especially, gotten involved in unorthodox protesting in a big way. It was this giant blob tech-savvy geeks that spawned forces like Anonymous and Lulzsec, for instance. But the more public, more legal forces pulling together on Reddit have started to have a great deal more impact.

Most recently this hivemind has focused its energies on anyone and anything supporting SOPA. Well when I say anyone and anything, I mean they often ignore those supporters that they really like (EA supports SOPA and are therefore more evil than they already were, but apparently BF3 is so good that plenty of them don’t care), but whatever. GoDaddy has been the most recent to be stung by this, as a good chunk of independently owned domains have been transferred away from the registrar in protest of their support. It’s even attracted some attention from a few bigger recent names, such as the ICanHasCheezburger network, who threatened to transfer as well.

And for what its worth, the two domains I own were on GoDaddy but have now been moved, partially in the same protesting vein. Though to be honest, I never felt good about GoDaddy anyway. As registrars go, even from the minute I switched to them I had this feeling like it was some dude in a grease stained wifebeater running a motel to which I was checking in that you just knew had a few hidden cameras around the room in case I was dumb enough to pick up a hooker.

Ok, that metaphor is a stretch. Point is, it was a creepy feeling from them from the first minute. SOPA was enough of a back-breaking straw to encourage a move away from them however.

It’s interesting to see the way that protests are becoming crowdsourced, though. I don’t mean so much in the way that Twitter or Facebook or whatever encourages communication and helps people band together. I mean in the way it lets just one or two people discover questionable practices and lets them get the word out quite well. The NYTimes has a piece on how the ‘elites’ were taken aback at the ferocity of the protests that have been going on in 2011, and it captures what I’m thinking of here. People ARE willing to go the extra mile to stand up for their own principles, even if they are, at times, a little odd. Now that it’s gotten so much easier to point out violations of said principles, things are actually beginning to happen.

I wonder how far it’s going to go. Though if SOPA passes, maybe they can put and end to such communication, heh.