Wednesday morning there was no Wikipedia, and for a few hours my world stopped.
Call it a Wiki addiction. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has it. But Wednesday, during the online encyclopedia’s protest against two pending pieces of legislation, ones that have the power to limit information available online, my quest for information came to a slight halt.
By 10 a.m. I had a few things I wanted to consult Wikipedia on. The history of the Roman Catholic Church, nurse cadets during WWII, Betty White and the Electoral College. What a combination of information to consider before noon on a Wednesday. That’s what I love most about the freedom of the Internet and the knowledge nestled in the many articles of Wikipedia. I can learn about anything I choose.
Needless to say I’m opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). I was relieved Wednesday afternoon when many of the bills supporters and sponsored renounced their support for SOPA and PIPA. It doesn’t mean the bills are dead, but rather stagnant at present.
At the heart of it, both bills make for a World Wide Web of strict censorship, intended at monitoring copyrighted intellectual poperty and counterfeit goods online. Search engines would be barred. Streaming content, like the videos and music enjoyed on YouTube, could possibly result with extreme consequences, including prison.
The entire idea behind both bills would evoke serious censorship business for the very things we enjoy online.
Wednesday, however, people spoke. Over 162 million people visited Wikipedia’s protest page. 2.4 million people tweeted about it. Millions more Facebooked, causing a stir with blog posts and status updates.
For a world that craves knowledge at all costs, the efforts were successful. People spoke out through the very mediums at risk of being controlled and let the world, including the government, know how they felt.
On Wednesday, the voice of social media spoke loud. The image of a black English Wikipedia page was a shot heard round the world.
The beauty of America is that we have the ability to voice our concerns about the government. It’s a freedom men and women still fight for today. Let’s put it to work and let our congressmen and representatives know where we stand on issues. Otherwise, a larger blackout may occur, and this time, it will be more than just useful knowledge at stake.