[NA-Discuss] Call For Founding Volunteers: Association of Internet Users

John Laprise jlaprise at gmail.com
Sat Jun 11 23:22:49 UTC 2016

I invite the community to get involved in a new project: the Association of
Internet Users <http://www.aiu-us.org/> 

The Vision - what does success looks like?


Membership in the AIU is open to individual Internet users. Organizations
have voice through their members, but no direct vote. AIU members will have
the capacity to identify with particular organizations through mutual

*	67% of the 315M people in the U.S. hold drivers licenses and 17% are
AAA members
*	34% of the U.S. population are senior citizens and 11% are AARP
*	29% of the U.S. population are gun owners and 1% are NRA members
*	85% of the U.S. population use the Internet and 0% are AIU members

If the AIU conservatively aims for a 5% membership among Internet users, it
outstrips all of these organization barring the AAA, which it rivals. 

To be clear: I am very specifically focusing on the United States. That
said, it is my hope and dream that this vision is replicated internationally
as appropriate and meaningful to people elsewhere. 


*	Members can use a feature rich website with multiple communication
*	They can attend and participate in regular local meetups for members
and the curious.
*	The AIU will cultivate relationships with the private sector,
academia, the technical community, and other non-profits.



*	Membership organizations typically offer discounts for members
through agreements with service providers. For the AIU, likely options would
be software, hardware, tech support, classes, shipping for ecommerce, and
special member offers.


*	One prime focus is educating users on Internet policy. I've been
involved in this effort for many years at many levels. The AIU offers to
help everyday users who want to know more about the Internet by offering
them information and discussion. 
*	The AIU is structured around the four areas of access, association,
expression, and sharing and each is dependent upon the previous areas.
Online expression means little to those without access or who lack the
ability to connect to those they want to connect to. These four categories
neatly encompass the issues of the day such as network neutrality and file
sharing, for instance. 
*	Multiple tools will be offered such as discussion forums moderated
by experts, AMAs, online courses, and meetups; in short, an array of
offerings that meet the needs of users/members.
*	The AIU will connect interested members interested in global
Internet governance to organizations such as the IGF, ICANN, and ISOC.


*	Unlike the AAA, AARP, and the NRA, the AIU's policy advocacy will be
solely directed by the membership. To that end:

*	A round of (born-mobile) voting on a salient issue preceded by
focused discussion on an issue. 
*	Voters who supported the majority position will work with staff and
the Board to craft a polished position document. The draft will be the work
of the membership with staff taking an editorial role.
*	The AIU membership also has the capability of issuing a minority
advocating a strong but dissenting position in the same manner. 
*	The drafting teams submit final positions to the Board and AIU
administration which may

*	Veto a position by asserting and showing a position does not
represent the will of users (this is a safeguard against hostile/malicious
*	Refer a position back to the drafting team for revision to address
an important but overlooked issue.
*	Adopt the position.

*	To be clear: the board does not set the organizational policy

*	Policy positions will then be disseminated in a manner consistent
with the restrictions of being a 501c3 organization under U.S. tax code. 
*	Policy positions will also be disseminated by a sister organization
to the AIU organized as a 501c4 which allows for greater political advocacy,
but which sole charter-bound purpose will be to advance the policy
directives of the AIU

Why - what's my reason for choosing to do this?

Quite simply, it needs to get done and no one else is doing it. In recent
years we've had public reactions over SOPA/PIPA and network neutrality. In
one case, the public was led by Google and the Internet industry as well as
advocacy organization, and in the other by John Oliver and the media. I
believe that the time is now for a truly bottom-up advocacy organization
with organic leadership to tell government what Internet users want. It's
just that simple.

Now - or how do we get there?

*	Incorporation into a nonprofit 501c3 organization
*	Gathering of human resources

*	Volunteers who want to help and who have skills and knowledge

*	Gathering of financial resources

*	Grant applications
*	Development

*	Gathering material resources

*	Access to the nonprofit resources available from the private sector

*	Assessment of resources
*	Discussion among interested volunteers about available strategies to
get from start-up to national organization
*	Form implementation strategy with knowledge of available resources
*	Execute the strategy

Why you?

Largely because I know you and, knowing me, you likely care about the

What now?

Share this. Like this. Retweet this. Go to the Association of Internet Users
<http://www.aiu-us.org/>  and volunteer. Let me know what you want to do and
how you'd like to be involved. Alternately email me directly at
jlaprise at gmail.com.


Best regards, 


John Laprise, Ph.D.

Consulting Scholar






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