Some last-minute thoughts

protestObviously we will be following Operation Chokehold today and hope to bring you up-to-the-minute coverage of events as they are unfolding around the nation. To do that, we’ll need your help. We need you to send in reports, updates, photos — whatever. The guys who organized the Facebook page, who call themselves The Three Musketeers, are going to be on ABC right before noon Pacific. Might be good for someone to set up a recorder and try to catch the video so we can post it here.

A few thoughts to keep in mind if you are thinking about participating:

1. This was meant as a joke. My blog mixes fiction and non-fiction, and the item on Monday was fiction. So were all the items yesterday about Obama calling me, and Sarkozy being mad about me for sleeping with his wife. Right? All made up. But some people took it seriously and now the joke has taken on a life of its own.

2. This may be cathartic, but it is pointless. A few thousand people are not going to make a dent in a wireless network. If you participate, you’ll most likely be wasting your time.

3. We’ve already won. We’ve directed loads of attention towards AT&T and its lousy service. We’ve been heard. Who knew that there were so many people who were so angry at AT&T? If nothing else, O.C. has revealed the breadth and depth of the anger. There is no need to sit around trying to download video for an hour. So if you have anything better to do, go do it.

4. The media is all over this, and they’re on our side. In the past few days I’ve been fielding lots of calls from hacks wanting to interview me about the protest. They’re all iPhone users, and guess what? They’re all frustrated with their service too! These are people in D.C., New York, Oregon, Colorado. They’re all across the country, and they’re all getting lousy service. That is why this thing resonated with the media. All these media people know how bad the iPhone network experience is.

5. At this point, a demonstration outside an AT&T store is way more effective than O.C. itself. What we need to do now is amplify the story, and physical protests are the way to do it. Here’s why. CNN can’t cover something that’s happening on a bunch of fiber optic lines. They can’t take pictures of that. But they can take pictures of people standing outside a store. Doesn’t have to be a lot of people. Just a few is enough, and then the TV networks can attach a photo to the story, which is what they need. If you can get a few people together, do it, and tell your local media where you are going to gather. Also, tell me, and I’ll post it here.

6. We should be thinking about what comes next. Remember the real goal here. We don’t want to harm people. We don’t want to be angry for the sake of being angry. What we want is a better network. We want AT&T to improve its service. We want them to stop putting investors ahead of customers.

7. There is an even bigger goal. Ultimately, we want to end our country’s rotten wireless system of exclusive deals and lock-ins. We want a system where we can run any phone on any network. That means overcoming huge entrenched corporations with powerful lobbyists and a Congress that is beholden to those special interests. Can we do it? I honestly don’t know.

I’ll leave you with this:

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