An Invitation to Make a Difference in your Internet

Hi everyone,

I invite the community to get involved in a new project: the Association of Internet Users

The Vision – what does success looks like?

Who?

Membership is open to all Internet users; there is no organizational membership.

·       67% of the 315M people in the U.S. hold drivers licenses and 17% are AAA members

·       34% of the U.S. population are senior citizens and 11% are AARP members

·       29% of the U.S. population are gun owners and 1% are NRA members

·       85% of the U.S. population use the Internet and 0% are AIU members

If the AIU conservatively aims for a 5% membership among Internet users, it outstrips all of these organization barring the AAA, which it rivals.

The AIU is focused on Internet policy in the United States but this national model can be replicated in other countries.

How?

·       The AIU will support a feature rich website with many ways to communicate and discuss issues of concern.

·       The AIU will organize regular local meetups so members and the curious can get together and exchange ideas.

·       The AIU will cultivate relationships with the private sector, academia, the technical community, and other non-profits who will provide expertise to support the AIU's educational mission.

What?

Services

·       The AIU through partnerships with well-known Internet companies will offer member discounts. Members will likely receive discounts on software, hardware, tech support, classes, ecommerce, and special member offers.

Education

·       The AIU's educational mission to educate users on Internet policy will be occur through discussions, AMAs, face to face meetups. The Internet policy can be complicated but it's not beyond explanation. 

·       The AIU organizes issues around four areas: access, association, expression, and sharing and each is dependent upon the previous areas. Online expression means little to those without access or who lack the ability to connect to those they want to connect to. These four categories neatly encompass the issues of the day such as network neutrality and file sharing, for instance.

·       The AIU will connect interested members interested in global Internet governance to national and international and organizations such as the IGF, ICANN, and ISOC.

Advocacy

·       Unlike the AAA, AARP, and the NRA, the AIU’s policy advocacy will be solely directed by the membership. 

o   Members will advance policy initiatives through online voting after discussion and debate on an issue.

o   Voters who supported the majority position will work with staff and the Board to craft a polished position document. The draft will be the work of the membership with staff taking an editorial role.

o   Positions receiving at least 33% of the vote but not winning will also be crafted in the same way into a minority report. The membership can therefore advance contradictory positions on the same issue.

o   The drafting teams submit final positions to the Board and AIU administration which may

§  Veto the membership's recommendation with a 2/3rds vote. The membership may similarly override the Board with a 2/3rds vote of their own. 

§  Refer a position back to the drafting team for revision to address an important but overlooked issue.

§  Adopt the position.

o   The Board is unable to initiate a policy position. 

·       Policy positions will then be advanced as official advocacy positions of the AIU.

·       Looking to the future, the AIU will be joined by a sister organization whose sole purpose is advancing the AIU's adopted positions through advocacy and lobbying. 

Why – what’s the reason for choosing to do this?

Quite simply, it needs to get done and no one else is doing it. In recent years we’ve had public reactions over SOPA/PIPA and network neutrality. In one case, the public was led by Google and the Internet industry as well as advocacy organizations, and in the other by John Oliver and the media. The time is now for a truly bottom-up advocacy organization with organic leadership to tell government what Internet users want. It’s just that simple.

Now – or how do we get there?

·       Incorporation into a nonprofit 501c3 organization

·       Gathering of human resources

o   Volunteers who want to help and who have skills and knowledge

·       Gathering of financial resources

o   Grant applications

o   Development

·       Gathering material resources

o   Access to the nonprofit resources available from the private sector

·       Assessment of resources

·       Discussion among interested volunteers about available strategies to get from startup to national organization

·       Form implementation strategy with knowledge of available resources

·       Execute the strategy

Why you?

Because by reading this far, you care about the Internet.

What now?

Share this. Like this. Retweet this. Go to the Association of Internet Users and volunteer. Let me know what you want to do and how you’d like to be involved. Alternately email me directly at jlaprise@gmail.com.