Last Wednesday, January 18th, over 200,000 people used Upland Mobile Messaging to call their Congressional representatives in opposition to the SOPA and PIPA legislation. The outpouring of activism came as part of an Internet-wide protest, as hundreds of thousands of websites “blacked out” their pages in protest against the legislation’s far-reaching censorship powers.
Tumblr, Reddit, Engine Advocacy, the Center for Rights, and other of our customers gave their users the power to more directly petition their legislators. The sites posted online forms where visitors could simply enter their address and phone number. Upland Mobile Messaging then automatically connected the users with their representatives through our mConnect tool. Here’s Tumblr’s form:
Tumblr, following up on their earlier activism, even gave their users the power to black out their private tumblogs – or even turn them into their own anti-SOPA pages:
Hundreds of thousands of Tumblr-ers used their personal blogs to take a stand against the bills.
Locally, in New York, the New York Tech Meetup staged a protest with thousands of concerned citizens in midtown Manhattan. Organizers asked the crowd to text-to-call Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to make their voices heard.
Altogether, over the past month, over 500,000 calls have come through the Upland Mobile Messaging platform. As entertainment companies spend truckloads of money lobbying in support of SOPA and PIPA, new media is countering their efforts by giving the people themselves the power to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill.
The best part is – that individual activism is having concrete results. Until last week, passage of the anti-piracy bills seemed almost inevitable, in spite of the massive public outcry. The 24-hour Internet protest swung Congressional attitudes about SOPA/PIPA from 80/30 (for/against) to 65/102. Both the House and the Senate delayed votes on the bills as they reconsider their merit.
As Reddit writes, “One day of organized protest turned Congress completely on its head.” For now, the people have used new digital tools to beat the powerful.