Do online petitions matter?

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I don’t think so. This week we have:- 25,000 people have signed an online petition telling Blizzard to change the art style of Diablo III.- 31,125 people have signed an online petition telling Rogers to change the pricing and lockin on the new iPhone.I think if people want to get someone attention a petition is just about the only thing that hasn’t translated to the digital age, primarily as online petitions require no real effort on the part online citizens. Real world petitions actually require organized people to stand out side and do work to convince the general public, answer hard hitting questions etc.Notice that that for all the (supposed) anger over the recent introduction of the ‘Canadian’ DMCA. There hasn’t been a concerted effort to do any real world lobbying? Blizzard may listen to their user base (as they are online people), rogers may also start a dialog (though not make a huge change), but i don’t think online petitions for real political issues have much merit. Politicians need to be faced with a movement, petitions and facebook groups are generally one click commitments. So they never translate into meaningful political movements.I’d love to have Rogers make a deal where they demand that all 31,125 petition signatories promise to buy a an iPhone at launch then Rogers would offer the same rates and lockins as the U.S. Carriers. But only on that condition, now that would be an interesting social experiment.

The Author

Hi. My name is Matt Roberts, you can find me at www.mattroberts.com.

3 Comments

  1. Mitch Brisebois says

    I don’t think so either Matt! Unless you’re the petition-creator… we’re lookin’ at you NB Lavoie (RuinediPhone) and Michael Geist (fair copyright etc)http://sensorymetrics.com/2008/07/03/10-easy-steps-how-to-start-an-online-petition-and-get-a-free-iphone/

  2. mattroberts says

    I think we should start a petition to stop online petitions. 😛 Great article btw.

  3. They may not make much difference, but can definitely add a weight to the case that certain group presents. It’s an indication of approval by so many people.

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