The Internet’s Boston Tea Party: Digg and the MPAA

2 May

May 1, 2007: the Internet’s Boston Tea Party. This is the day that historians may well record as the day when the collective will of the web exercised its muscle and acted to spontaneously respond to a perceived injustice. Regardless of the ultimate importance or merits of this specific issue, the symbolic value of this insurrection may resonate long after the initial furor dies out.

The first Boston Tea Party was the culmination of a number of ongoing and long standing grievances of a group who felt increasingly marginalized, disenfranchised and powerless.  Yesterday’s events helped link web users in a common experience of mass popular protest.Web 2.0, is supposed to be about just this: a group of involved people collaborating online, communicating instantaneously, and feeding off the opinions and feedback of others. Digg users quickly reached a critical mass where the story had a life of its own, growing and evolving with people incrementally adding their voice until 10,000+ voices coalesced into one mighty roar at the establishment.  And Digg listened.  The MPAA has not.

It now remains to be seen if there is the will to remain united and help to effect ongoing change.  Can a group, separated by age, by geography, by race, by religion and by economics come together as a force for institutional change? Could this be the precursor to collective political challenging an established base?  Will May 1, 2007 be the birth of an online nation, united in its desire to be heard, or will it merely be an answer to a game show trivia question?

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