virtual anti-SOPA/PIPA sit-in: Google, Reddit, Craigslist, Wikipedia, WordPress, Mozilla, MoveOn.org, O'Reilly and The Oatmeal, to name a few. Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (iSchool) is the only higher education institute to join the list of Internet powerhouse sites.Today hundreds of websites are participating in a
Syracuse's iSchool offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in information technology and graduate degrees in library science with an emphasis in new/digital librarianship. "Students are very plugged in and interested in the tech world," says J.D. Ross, Communications Director at Syracuse's School of Information Studies. "This was already on their radar, and it's a perfect opportunity to raise awareness among students who don't know about it."
Over the weekend, Ross, a faculty member and the school's social media manager created an anti-SOPA "go dark" splash page. They grabbed the Web person and quickly turned around the idea. When visitors go to iSchool's homepage, instead of seeing images of smiling students and a course catalog, they will see a firm black, gray and white homepage with this at the top.
Because it's the second day of classes, visitors will be able to leave the splash page and visit the school's actual website. iSchool will keep a "Stop SOPA" ribbon at the top of it.
For a higher education institute, drafting up an idea and turning it around in a matter of days is practically unheard of. "That comes from the nature of higher education," Ross says. "You have to run an idea by marketing, by a committee, run it by the president, so there's not a lot of latitude for taking an idea and running with it in some of the higher education shops." Syracuse's iSchool is unusual, working in a fast, nimble manner.
But for Ross, the importance of spreading the word about SOPA/PIPA isn't about iSchool. It's about the prospective and current students who are all digital natives.
"They grew up on the Internet, and they create user-generated content," he says. "And they stand a chance to suffer the most from this heavy-handed legislation."
Image stolen from MoveOn.org's Facebook fan page.