Regardless of where you stand on the SOPA battle, you’ve got to agree: seeing what seems to be the entire Internet come together to stand against something is incredible. Each company has a different approach, but their goal is the same: make sure everyone goes to sleep knowing what SOPA is.
While I don’t want to turn today’s protests into a who-did-it-best battle (that’s not at all the point), I’ve got to highlight Turntable.fm’s approach. It’s about as simple as could be, but it just oozes with symbolism.
If the goal is to raise awareness, the most effective form of peaceful protest is the one that spreads your message without inconveniencing those you’re trying to inform. Wikipedia’s approach, as a counter-example, brings a ton of attention to the issue — but it also pisses a lot of people off. It’s a hugely powerful move, but it taints the message for the huge chunk of people who just leave angry and confused.
Now, take a look at the screenshot above. Notice the anti-SOPA/PIPA stickers on each DJ’s laptop lid? That’s Turntable’s approach.
“Wait, what? That’s it?”
Yep, that’s it.
Here’s the thing: on any other day of the year, each DJ’s laptop generally represents which OS they’re using. On a Windows machine? It’ll have a Windows flag. Mac? It’ll have an Apple. Ubuntu? It’ll show Ubuntu’s… logo… thing. It actually becomes something of a point of contention, with OS flamewars breaking out on the regular and “Of COURSE a platform-X user would play this song” stereotyping abound.
Today, everyone playing music on Turntable stands behind the same message: Stop SOPA/PIPA. It’s the very first thing you notice when you enter the room — and if you don’t already know what SOPA/PIPA are, curiosity will almost certainly make you turn to Google, where the information is quite literally front and center. There’s no inconvenience introduced, no damning of the user experience… and yet, it spreads the message just as well as anything else. Add in the headbobbing of the crowd and the inherent power of music, and it comes together into something not only powerful, but also positive. Good job, Turntable.