As I write this, we are in the wake of the Alton Sterling slaying. By the time you read this, there may have been others lost due to the recklessness of law enforcement. I have a lot of thoughts and editorial, but that’s not what this post is for. Time is too precious to dote on how I feel. Suffice it to say I am sick.
I am solution oriented. This post is about a solution to end police brutality and force the hand(s) that feed it and passively support it through non-action. So far, we have been hard pressed to come up with a solution that is quickly effective and massively impactful. I am here to offer one up.
Humanity, here is one method to consider that will chop the head off the beast, as we move into the future. These are basic ideas and by no means fully thought out. We have to start somewhere. And somewhere new, with new methodology; NOW. This methodology is designed to target the advertising, social media, technology, music and entertainment industries.
1. We need a smart altruistic tech team, wealthy entertainer and/or public personality, or anybody with the resources to step up and build a money-agnostic platform (or repurpose an existing one), making it impervious to advertisers or political influence. A community where we can share and communicate in a similar fashion to how we are doing now on mainstream social networks. A representative committee needs to be appointed out of this community to speak on our behalf. It should be liquid and rotated out often. It will only be used during digital blackout protests. Any form of advertising or promotion is strictly prohibited here.
2. Pull ALL of our social profiles, IP and personal assets down from FB, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. Discontinue use of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Phase 2 or 3 could involve pulling subscriptions from Netflix, HULU, and the like. Use open source wherever possible. If your livelihood actually depends on being active on socials, at the very least black out the profile to bare minimum of what is necessary and keep usage to business interactions and transactions only. Otherwise, we discontinue usage until certain criteria are met.
3. Representative committee demands that the platforms and their deep pocketed advertisers will no longer benefit from our communications, content, thoughts and creativity until they put their money and public statements behind eliminating police brutality and decriminalized murder of civilians when on duty doing their “job”.
4. Complement the global digital boycott with an offline component.
Examples of demands that can be made on the platforms:
A- Dear Facebook, please commit a sizable portion of the money you’re using to build out your video content vertical and put it towards outfitting every armed officer in this country with reliable audio/video capture tech that does not conveniently fall off or malfunction when civilians in peril need it most. Thanks, but we aren’t dying to use Facebook Live right now, it can wait and so can your board.
B- Dear Twitter, we know you’re sinking, but incentivize your advertisers with better partner packages if they pour money into initiatives (private, community or gov’t) dedicated to effectively eliminating police brutality.
C- Dear Google/Youtube, (I don’t know fill in the blank, but you see where I’m going)
We know extravagant amounts of money that are being spent to get our attention and keep us coming back to your portals. We are aware of the narrative you are co-constructing with media and the advertisers that we need these portals to stay connected, enrich our lives and make a living. You may have even fooled us into thinking we cannot enact change unless we are on socials and using your sites. We know your platforms are built to feed and sustain rabid consumerism with little to no reward other than connectedness …. connectedness which we are capable of building and sustaining without you. We know you need us more than we need you. But now we need you to stand up.
The money flowing through your coffers exists because we are logging on. This money is not appropriated (in ways that we can see) for things that matter to us most right now. You and your advertisers are effectively farming our interactions to feed yourselves. Now we are challenging you to step up and do more than offer us entertainment on a “free” platform, we are asking that you make a stand with us on these issues and pressure your advertisers to do the same or we will progressively pull our gaze away to the point where you will have little to sell.
Until these demands are met, this population will not be on your platforms and will make compelling cases to pull as many people as possible away from your version of the internet. You will have a shrinking target audience, you will have no data to report, and you will have no content creators, commentators, or intellectual property to exploit. If and when we return, we expect at the least these demands to be met into perpetuity and by all new advertisers you take on. If you have ideas for new technology, you should run them by us first so we can tell you if that money will be better spent on saving and enriching lives, and not lining your pockets. If you push through this tech anyway, we will pull our attention away from your attention-based economy and then take whatever further steps we need to take to make ourselves clear.
We look forward to your compliance and collaboration.
Something like that. New paradigms require new tactics. Let’s think on this.
Shares and likes are cool. But if you’re about this, hit Jesse Williams or someone else with reach and tell them @sumkilla got an idea for them to get behind.
Ideas for how to flesh this out and get to step 1, send here: firstname.lastname@example.org
We need money, developers, spokespersons and PR to start with.