Tuesday, June 5, 2012

This Internet Thing is Going to Be Big

Yesterday, here in my hometown of Lancaster, we learned that a gay couple's engagement announcement was rejected by the local paper. The paper made a statement, something to the effect that its policies reflect our community's norms. 

And then the shit hit the fan, which had sensors on it connected to an Internet-connected Arduino board and some open source BS detection software, and that was pretty much that: massive outcry throughout the regional interwebs. 

People emailed the link around, posted it on Facebook, complained (quite eloquently) on the paper's Facebook page, and even reached back to that retro communication device the phone and called the paper's president. 

In what has to be the fastest reversal of an anachronistic Lancaster Newspapers policy ever, by yesterday evening he had reversed the decision and opened engagements to all people, thereby aligning itself with our actual community norms. 

Good for them. 

And good for my town. We're plugged in and paying attention. Without standing up and saying 'now you just wait one moment, sir' and making the case, the policy of discrimination would have persisted. 

The massive Internet is so broad and endless that it's very easy to lose focus. 

Yesterday's events in this very conservative county showed that the Internet is most powerful when we use its immense powers of scale to focus on a single issue.

I'm not certain the outcry would have been nearly as focused without Facebook, which I don't love, but it's clear that both Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law were in full display yesterday, and our little part of the world changed. 

Thank you, interwebs. 

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