FTW! Net Neutrality For The Win

How Entertainment and the Science of Influence Can Save Your Internet

The Challenge

In Fall 2009, Free Press, a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote quality journalism and universal media access, commissioned HI to devise an effective way for communicating the threat to the open Internet, an issue also known as net neutrality. The primary goal was to introduce a guide to communicating net neutrality for leaders from fields spanning policy, education, advocacy, media, and entertainment.

The Approach

HI researchers critically examined the issue of net neutrality and who stood to gain and lose from the demise of the open Internet. HI conducted formative research on net neutrality by mining newspapers, academic journals, legislation, and consulting issue experts to uncover who was talking about net neutrality, and how the topic has been conveyed to the public.

HI also took advantage of current polling data to gauge the public’s knowledge and opinion of net neutrality, revising the preliminary research findings for current public viewpoints. Polling results helped identify the general public’s comprehension, attitude, and response to the open Internet, and concern over its demise. This research informed strategies that communicators can use to increase public attention and action in respect to net neutrality.

The Result

In June 2010, HI published one of the most popular and conversational guides on net neutrality, FTW! Net Neutrality For The Win: How Entertainment and the Science of Influence Can Save Your Internet. A companion Web site was developed as an online resource for those interested in speaking more effectively on the issue. Through these two platforms, HI’s guide presents seven strategies that communicators can use to create powerful messages that resonate with the public and promote action on the pressing concern surrounding net neutrality.

In July 2010, the New York Times profiled the guide in an article titled, “Adding Punch to Influence Public Opinion.” To date, over 3,000 Web users have downloaded the guide, and the Website remains popular with over 23,500 hits. To download FTW! or learn more about the project, visit www.savemyinternet.com.