Friday, December 21, 2012

at number 6: SOPA, leave my web alone !

I've talked about "social convergence" in emergency management before. The social convergence equation: mobile tech + social networks = empowered citizenry/volunteers + greater mobilization of data/people, reflects societal changes that go far beyond how we respond to disasters.

The greater participation by the public, this democratization of not only emergency management but government as a whole, is not going away. This is a direct result of the perception of the web as a free forum for all sorts of exchanges. 

So when the powers that are (lead by Hollywood) tried to restrict that perceived freedom through the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)/Protect IP Act (PIPA), a huge online surge of indignation followed. It was perhaps the largest and most visible representation of "people power" on social networks and the internet. 

It also helped bring to the fore a kind a cultural/age divide, which is (appropriately) diminishing as months go by. For one, the representative of the film industry, a former US Senator, totally misread this new wave of direct democracy.

So what are key learning lessons for the SMEM community in the SOPA affair?

  1. transparency is essential 
  2. incorporating the public's participation is paramount 
  3. don't ignore online sentiments and perceptions of your response ... they'll derail it.
  4. the era of "we know best" is long gone ... there's is lots of wisdom in the crowd.
For all these reasons, the SOPA episode ranks sixth in my list of top 10 SMEM-related events of 2012.

The series so far: 

Series introduction (Dec. 5,m 2012)
#10: the Israel-Hamas War (Dec. 9, 2012)
#9: the wildfires in the western US (Dec. 12, 2012)
#8: the SMEMTO conference (Dec. 16, 2012)
#7: the lauch of FEMA's SMEM course (Dec. 17, 2012)
#6: The SOPA episode (Dec. 21, 2012)

Jim Garrow's list on his blog: The Face of the Matter 

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