The Pirate Party demographic

Who are the Pirate Party? That’s to say, what sort of people are members of, or vote for, the Pirate Parties in various countries.

I think the answer is hinted at in a previous post that says:

If your daily life is not interwoven with the Internet, many of the issues involving the Piratenpartei [the German Pirate Party] might be quite invisible for you.

In recent years a new culture has grown up around the Internet. Many young people have grown up in this culture, having known nothing else. But the Internet culture isn’t limited by age; there are many people over 30 who’re part of it, particularly people who’re IT professionals.

The Internet Culture is not merely about having broadband:

So, we in fact are witness of a new type of ‘Digital Divide’ which is not measured in terms of having access to broadband Internet or not. Being a DSL subscriber but in fact being limited to painstakingly operating [an] email account due to lack of Internet savvyness does not put you on the right side of this new divide.

So what does a typical member of the Internet culture look like? If you’re one it’s likely that…

You keep in touch with your friends using the Internet, using it for example to arrange to meet people; these days you probably use facebook, you’ve migrated from other social networking systems you’ve used in the past.

You don’t think of Internet-mediated socialising as different to or separate from meatspace socialising, in exactly the same way that someone 20 years ago wouldn’t think of a phone call as much different from talking face-to-face.

There are plenty of people you know IRL but interact with mostly on the net.

You know what IRL means.

You regularly communicate with people who live in the same house as you via a computer on a different continent, and think nothing of it.

The Internet is a normal part of your everyday life. You think the music industry’s desire to cut off people’s net access for filesharing is completely disproportionate.

You use Wikpedia on a daily basis and understand this joke.

You contribute to Wikipedia on occasions.

You know what 4chan, Slashdot, Reddit and lolcats are.

You seen umpteen mashups of the scene in Downfall where Hitler loses it.

You think copyright laws that prohibit mashups are silly.

You use Twitter; or if you don’t, you’re comfortable about trying it out, and can quickly learn to use the system effectively.

You read blogs and comment on them. When you comment you use html tags for emphasis. You don’t need to be told which html tags you can use or how to use them.

You know what an “a href” is, what it does and how to use it.

You’re comfortable with referring to a colour as eecc33, and have a reasonable idea what that colour looks like (it’s a sort of mustard yellow, BTW).

You may have a blog yourself. Or several blogs.

You subscribe to several mailing lists.

You use social networks such as Facebook. You know why MySpace has lost ground to facebook over the last year or so (it’s because of the garish colours and automatically-playing-music that MySpace users customise their pages with).

You think Internet entrepreneurs are cool. You use terms like “eat your own dogfood”, “open source”, and “obsolete” (as a verb). Unlike George Osbourne, you know what these terms mean.

You use Firefox. Adblock plus is cool. IE is for losers.

You think Sony CEO Michael Lynton, who recently said nothing good has ever come from the Internet, is a clueless fuckwit.

You have negative emotions when you see the acronyms “RIAA”, “MPAA” or “DRM”.

You like music, but hate the music industry.

You play computer games, either on a PC or a games console. You think the criticism of computer games — that they are are harmful because they take you into a fantasy world disconnected from reality and make you commit violent crimes — is absurd and makes about as much sense as the same criticism applied to novels (which it was in the 18th century when novels first became popular).

You think the mainstream political parties — in Britain, Labour and the Conservatives — don’t represent you, don’t understand you, and don’t care about people like you.

Ten years ago you were probably male and used to hang out on Usenet; now, you’re just as likely to be female, and may well not have heard of Usenet.

Have i got this list mostly right. Do you think that some of these items are wrong? Are there any things I’d like to add? Let me know.

This entry was posted in Britain, computers, digital rights, filesharing, Pirate Party, politics, society. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Pirate Party demographic

  1. Pingback: Britblog Roundup No 228 - Philobiblon

  2. edgalligan says:

    Hey cabalamat, you’ve an interesting blog here, I must have a read through when I get a chance as I’ve only just discovered it (via Twitter).

    Howandever, while I don’t mean to rain on efforts to define and/or potential Pirate Party members, or internet users in general, I find the list you’ve made extremely flawed. I don’t really believe it’s possible to profile an average Pirate Party member so easily, and especially in recruiting members I don’t think creating such a list is particularly helpful. You’re likely to find a lot of people who might potentially be interested if you didn’t attempt to put them in so small a box.

    Taking myself as an example (being involved with the formation of the Irish Pirate Party):
    – I have heavily resisted keeping in touch with any of my friends through the internet, until recently when some stopped replying to texts and I was forced to use Facebook – I have since informed them of my discontent and they have promised to answer their phones.
    – I think of internet media socialising as VERY different than “meatspace” socialising and have never heard the term meatspace so I am just guessing I have its meaning right. As a matter of interest I also think of a phonecall as being very different to a face to face conversation.
    – I thought IRL was an acronym for Ireland until encountering this blogpost
    – I have never communicated with people in my house via computer.
    – I don’t know what 4chan or Reddit are
    – I have never seen any scenes from Downfall, nor heard of any mashups of such
    – I don’t think internet entrepeneurs are exceptionally “cool” as a demographic, nor do I know what “eat your own dogfood” means, or who George Osbourne is
    – I DON’T use Firefox, nor do I like the idea of Adblock+. I use Opera, a far superior piece of software, but I don’t use it’s built in ad-blocker.
    – I’ve never heard of Michael Lynton
    – I rarely play computer games and own none. My Windows PC has neither Solitaire nor Minesweeper

    – Everything else happens to be true of me (I contribute to Wikipedia, use Twitter, know HTML and hex, disapprove of MPAA, etc., read blogs and slashdot, etc., etc., etc.), but may not be of any other specific person

    OK, this reply is probably completely excessive, but my only point is that even I, as a tech savvy internet user/coder type person, don’t fit most of the points in this list, and I don’t believe by any stretch that Pirate Parties are limited to people of my level of “tech-savvy”.

    Down with assumptions and putting people in little boxes.

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