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SOPA and PIPA and Airplanes, oh my! January 19, 2012

I had the pleasure of attending the Digital Marketing Strategies event at our corporate offices this week with members of our digital team in Washington D.C.  We spent two days in seminars unleashing a corporate digital marketing strategy outline and additional education to teams across the nation.

My life is absolutely chock-full of events that circle right around. I, Audrey Korshoff, am almost never compelled to fill out a contact form and contact my Congressman. For the most part, I let them do their job, and I do mine. I do this so rarely, that I think the last time I filled out any sort of form to contact my senator and/or house representative, my youngest child was still in diapers. She’s currently 8 ½ years old.

Today, in honor of Wikipedia and Google’s public showcase to show their discontent with the SOPA and PIPA legislation, I clicked on the link and (gasp!) filled out the form to Congressman Jim Cooper, expressing my concern regarding the bill.

We finished our training day, and after a flight delay, boarded the flight headed home to Nashville. After I boarded the plane, as others were still boarding, a man stopped, looked nearly right at me, and said, “It’s an honor to meet you, Senator, thank you for your hard work”. Confused, I looked incredulously at this man, whom I realized was looking at the seat behind me as he moved forward to shake the Senator’s hand and find his seat.

So, I turned around.

Sure enough, there’s Congressman Jim Cooper sitting on the plane directly behind me, reading his newspaper.  Just before I shut off my phone, I tweeted, commenting on the seat #upgrade I gave myself at check-in, sitting in front of a senator and contemplating whether I should take the opportunity to approach my stance on the SOPA/PIPA situation.

I did make some friendly banter about how I initially thought the random guy on the plane was talking to me, but decided that it was after 5:30, and I was going to go ahead and let the man read the newspaper instead.  After our complimentary beverage service and a trip to the restroom, I finally bolstered my courage to bother him and told him my story.

We briefly discussed Wikipedia’s blackout for its stance against SOPA and PIPA , then he shared that he had attended a digital conference in Nashville last week where Google came to represent and inform them about the technical intricacies and implications of these bills. I took the opportunity to share my thoughts, explaining that while I had read the overview, along with much commentary regarding the bills and would strongly prefer to not have the bills pass, I felt that I needed to read them in their entirety before I felt prepared to argue or discuss their finer points. What I did express was that those bills would be a complete “game changer” if passed (especially in my field of work), and that I felt it would NOT benefit the country as a whole to move in that direction.

So, Wikipedia and Google, I did my job today. I contacted my local Congressman, not once, but twice today. I think the second time did a much better job of getting a voice “heard”, and sure was a lot more fun.

On a more personal note, I have to say that my hesitation was in vain. Congressman Jim Cooper is very approachable, entertaining and absolutely as sweet as apple pie. He even humored my geeky side by allowing me to snap a quick picture together on the plane for my blog about my uncanny luck.

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