EFA's Time to Tell Mum campaign continues to go well with over 42,000 people reporting that they told their mums about the Government's dodgy internet filter policy. There's still a lot of people to reach, but we're very pleased with the impact the campaign has had so far. Overall, the feedback from the public has been great; we've had plenty of feedback along the lines of "it's about time you got the message out there to the families."
EFA vice-chair Geordie Guy, who has been running the campaign, posted some comments a few days ago. Once again, I'd like to thank Fnuky, the creative agency who put it together for us.
Of course the reception hasn't been entirely positive - a few people thought it unfunny or merely unnecessary, but some thought it was a bit sexist with all this focus on Mums. So why are we exhorting Australians to dob Conroy in to their mums?
Firstly, it's not because we think mums are too clueless to understand technology, and need things explained to them in simple words. Nor because we think mums only care about their kids and need matters of public policy rendered to them in these terms. If that was true, the campaign might indeed be described as sexist.
In reality, we liked the idea of telling mum for the opposite reason - because our families can understand the policy and make a rational decision, if only they can get adequate information. In contrast, the Minister has treated Australian parents with contempt by trying to scare them with misleading rhetoric about protecting children from internet nasties. By substituting alarming statements about bestiality for actual information on what the filter would do for children (nothing), Conroy himself has not given mums the respect they deserve.
It's been suggested that it's offensive to behave as if mums only care about technology if it affects them or their kids. Far from being an inaccurate sterotype, I think this is actually true - not just about mums, but about most people. Unless you're a nerdy technophile (like me), you aren't going to be particularly interested in technology for its own sake, but what it can do for your life and that of your family. This is the core of the campaign - reaching out to people who wouldn't take an interest in technical things, and educating them about a government policy and how it affects them directly.
Finally, the campaign was never meant to exclude non-mums. "Time to tell mum" has more of a ring to it than "Time to talk about policy with the wider community". Everybody has a mum, and most of us talk to our mums on a regular basis. Who better to start with when spreading important news?
So contrary to reports elsewhere, like this piece in ZDNet, we aren't apologising for the campaign - we're happy with the way it turned out. Of course, we'd rather nobody was offended, and sincerely regret it. But offending nobody is only possible without any risk-taking, and a risk-free campaign is unlikely to break any new ground.
However, we welcome your feedback. How can we make out next campaign even more successful at reaching the ears of ordinary Australians?