Analysis: Wikipedia’s SOPA blackout is the opposite of stupidity

Wikipedia has announced it would temporarily shut down today, and it did. This blackout is probably the first in the history of the Internet. To come from a website which showed us the power of Internet, this event is extremely important. Wikipedia’s blackout is to protest SOPA, an anti-internet piracy bill which is draconian and kind of a kill switch from Big Brother. The kind of switch the Indian government so badly wants.

When someone leads there will always be critics and very few followers. What Wikipedia has done is a bold thing to do. Not every business, especially the money minting ones, has the cojones to suspend services for what might look like a silly cause. Tech pundits have weighed in on Wikipedia’s blackout. Some called it stupid. Some used word play to stay out of ‘this is stupid’ remarks. If being bold and standing for a cause in the best way possible is being stupid, then yes, Wikipedia is stupid.

You can rip-off an idea, a design or a story. But you can’t rip-off boldness. Even if you could, you simply won’t.

Here’s why I don’t think it’s stupid. Far from it. It’s the opposite of stupid. It’s brilliant.

It’s very simple actually. You have a smartphone which you use regularly for email, Twitter and making calls. Imagine that you can’t use your smartphone any more. Instead you were handed a feature phone. Technically, you are blocked from tweeting, touching and emailing from your phone. All you can do is call or text someone. That life would be extremely frustrating, if not miserable.

No wait. Mankind lived without phones and it survived. Sure it did. And we lived without the Internet and Wikipedia. But we changed. We changed for the better. Instead of running from pillar to post to gain knowledge, we just sit with a big mug of freshly brewed coffee and punch in our keywords into Google or Wikipedia to gain our knowledge.

You don’t understand the beauty of a product, service or a person as long as you have access to it. You will appreciate its importance only when it’s not there. If and when SOPA comes into picture, the services and products you can’t live without will be filtered for good.

If Wikipedia isn’t blacked out, how else would you experience life without Wikipedia and understand the importance of opposing SOPA?

Think of the Wikipedia blackout as a demo of SOPA for people who can’t imagine a filtered Internet.