I have attended a SaveOurNet meeting today.
It is a grassroots movement for net neutrality – non-discriminatory treatment of Internet traffic regardless of where it comes from. Right now some big ISPs in Canada throttle traffic from some sources in favour of others. Imagine all the streets of your town having fast lanes in them and you are only allowed into such a lane if you are driving an expensive car. Not my idea of democracy, that’s certain.
I feel very strongly about this because I was born and bred in the USSR and I know perfectly well what happens when one party, or corporation, or a junta, whatever you call it, has power to determine what people should see, do and think. I don’t want to go back there.
One problem that we face is that all of us the movement participants are, generally speaking, “geeks with blogs”. I am afraid it will not be easy to persuade an ordinary person from the street that Internet regulation is a bad thing. However we should try (a nice opportunity for me to practice persuasive writing). It was also suggested that each of us contact his MP and educate them on net neutrality issue. The idea that you can contact your MP and (s)he actually would meet with you and possibly try and do something to help you is still very alien to me (I am used to our “ministers of the people” living in ivory towers where mere mortals are not allowed!). OK, so maybe it is high time for me to get myself familiar with the workings of Canadian democracy. I feel this will be fun.
At the same meeting, I have met Ryan Coleman from VizThink. That’s some coincidence, because I have been studying this workshop info on facebook only this morning. The price is somewhat stiff (especially for my very new business), but I think I will be able to write it off as business expense. If they teach me to create things just 10% as beautiful as Minard’s Napoleon charts, this money will not be wasted.
(For explanation on Minard’s Napoleon charts, go here: Edward Tufte. He is an extremely interesting author recommended to my attention by my technical writing professor from YorkU. Tufte deals with information representation. For example, there is a link to his article in which he argues that it’s PowerPoint that caused Columbia shuttle accident!)