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power to the people?...

there are only two large-scale internet petitions i've ever been personally invested in.

The first was the [save farscape campaign]. i don't remember exactly where this was in the history of large masses trying to put pressure on corporate entertainment, but i do remember that it was noteworthy because this particular campaign actually Did something, which was change the sci-fi channel's direction from "demolish the farscape sets" to "pack them away in boxes" and paved the way for the [The Peacekeeper Wars].

I think that that particular campaign was successful not merely because of the number of people that were involved, but the kinds of people that were involved. There was a story up somewhere of how VIP members to a sci-fi press conference hammered the president of sci-fi at the time (bonnie something or other) when she tried to divert the conference away from farscape's cancellation by focusing on the series that was to take its place, "Tremors: The Series". Collectively and publicly they said, "we don't care about tremors, we want to know what's happening with farscape!" and the vehemence in the sentiment forced bonnie to backtrack.

The second large-scale internet petition organization i've ever been a part of (and still devote myself to) is [The Poker Player Alliance]. The debate about online gambling and the formation of this organization represents a huge political struggle that has reached fairly high visibility in the political circles (enough to be eluded to by both presidential candidates McCain and Obama) ever since the UIGEA was put into place.

The thing about these two examples of large scale petition is that the forces involved and how those forces are used followed a particular degree of protocol and momentum. Saving Farscape started with the actors and directors talking to the fans via sci-fi chat and giving direction on what to do and how to do it, and it was then picked up by people who have experience in the politics of the entertainment industry, raising the money and awareness to hope that it would make an impact. The PPA has an entire campaign strategy that has reached out to its millions of members to write letters to congressmen, be aware of how senators and representatives feel about the issue to affect voting, and was large-scale enough that they were able to send poker players both professional and casual to protest in washington DC in late 2007 on membership fees and donations alone.

And yet with the powerful structure, momentum, force, etc. that these two had, the actual impact that they had was still less than what they had hoped for. Farscape was still cancelled. With all of the politicians that support the freedom to gamble responsibly online and the unconstitutional nature of the UIGEA, it has just recently been given more freedom to restrict and control online poker.

And if those powerful measures still didn't get nearly as far as anyone had hoped, i'm not sure how anyone can possibly think that facebook groups like "1 million strong to overturn prop 8!" or "if 5 million join they'll convert back to the old facebook!" will actually do anything, because joining a facebook group has about the same swaying power as a person blowing in the hopes that it will deter a tornado.

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