The net was all up in arms this week. After the marvelous uprising against SOPA and PIPA, the new battle ground was Twitter`s announcement of country specific censorship. Never mind that they are open about it (unlike Facebook), never mind that they are talking about their offices and employees in those countries where censorship is the law… if you hear “censorship” and “net” get up and scream! Wired has a nice piece about it.

This is what I call “automatic reaction”. Instead of learning the facts and engaging in a productive and constructive discussion, specific concepts (keywords, memes, hashtags, whatever) automatically invoke passionate reaction (for or against). Examples abound:

On a poster in the subway I read the following: “…T-Mobile and the magenta color are registered trademarks of T-Mobile USA…”. Automatic reaction invokes: “How can that be?!, How can they dare to say they can trademark a color?!!!” But fact-based reflexion would answer: a trademark consist of several elements (mark, logo, etc), including color. It only applies to specific products or industries, and only to the extent of not confusing the consumer. And while this has been used to censor free-speech before, it is unlikely T-Mobile people will start imposing color-restrictions any time soon (unless you are a telecoms company who wants to used magenta as your primary identification).

Or how about Googles "<a title="" href="" target="_blank">goodtoknow</a>" ad campaign (ad show here seen again in the subway, where most life seems to happen in NY, in the winter at least) to which Epic very adequately replies with "<a title="" href="" target="_blank">GoodToReallyKnow</a>"?. Sure <a title="" href="" target="_blank">misleading advertising</a>, and half-truths are a danger, but lets start a conversation, not a flame war.

Campaigns, actions, and reactions, seem to foster polarity. Stop the cycle, avoid the trap. Get to the facts, learn, educate others, and engage in a conversation, or discussion (like Cory with the entertainment execs), not a battle or accusations cross-fire.