It's no longer news that the NSA is watching us and while it's clear that it is still a pressing issue, it's understandably used in more punch lines for jokes than serious conversations about it now. Privacy has always been the price we've been slowly paying for all the advantages of technology in the digital age. I think it's safe to say that most people feel any rights of privacy we had left the country with Snowden.
But we all still hate this fact, no matter what entity takes it away from us -- and that's why it is even now a statistic that people trust Facebook less than the government. And that's also why I felt extremely compelled to click on the featured video on YouTube's homepage recently called "Stop Watching Us: The Video" with a still of Maggie Gyllenhaal's face. Upon first glance, I thought it was a new (and very harsh) anti- piracy campaign that featured more testimonials on how it's affecting the entertainment industry. I was completely going to write this off as a low PR tactic until I realized the video actually featured various public figures in a movement to persuade people why the NSA is still unjust. Everyone has an agenda, so people may glance over the sob stories about actors making less money now and just accept it as a sign of the times. But it's harder to doubt source credibility with scholars, celebrities, politicians, etc. all speaking out for one organization that isn't specifically right or left wing. Yeah, John Cusack isn't in the height of his success so he probably said yes to be a spokesperson for this campaign to get some more attention. But he probably doesn't like the idea of the NSA reading his text messages, either.
Reading articles -- even of public opinion leaders speaking out against the NSA's actions – doesn't have the same appeal because it comes off as so much more negative. I think there's a point where if people are unsure about how to be part of the solution, they shut out the information coming in after a while. Being inundated with information doesn't always make people more educated, but it can make people desensitized. And make even the most relatable topic hard to relate to. To see a coalition of people forming together hoping to make a difference makes it seem like the viewer's voice has a direction. Their encouragement to participate in the video is positioned as more of an outlet, and with over 1 million views in a few weeks– it seems like it's been an effective tool for engagement.