We are ALL not consumers.

I’ve been getting an unusually high level of linkage to a post I wrote in July, called “I am not a consumer. I am a human being,” after Doc Searls linked it (and my recent rant about the crippling effects of the c-word) on Saturday. The attention is flattering, but I’m not the first person to express this sentiment. In fact, the web is boiling over with it. A brief survey yields these variants:

  • “I am not a consumer. I am a person. Start treating me like one.” — michaelw
  • “I am not a ‘consumer,’ a ‘recipient’ or any other abstraction. I am I. I am a person, I am a self.” — Harold A. Maio
  • “They do not see us as disabled. They see us as able. I am not a consumer who consumes government aid at exorbitant costs and never improves. My crew and I are producers…” — Bruce Ario
  • “To refer to citizens as ‘consumers’ indicates a pro-business bias.” — Christopher Palms (comment to FTC on Do Not Call registry)
  • “…being American means I am NOT a Consumer above all else.” — Roger Born
  • “I am not a ‘consumer’, I am not a number. I am not a walking wallet for companies and government to fight over. To the corporate heads and government rulers I say ‘HEY! You F**kers work for ME! Remember THAT!’” — “Phugedaboudet”
  • “I am not a consumer of your political products, I am a citizen!” — David Weinberger, cited at Blogads and at GreaterDemocracy
  • “I will not spend my money with a company whose CEO thinks I am nothing but a consumer (I despise that word) of useless media crap from Hollywood and the Copyright Cabal. I am not a consumer. I am a customer. And I will not be treated like a criminal.” — Terry Frazier
  • “I am not a consumer but a reader of books…” — Katherine MacNamara

Point? While there is certainly a fair amount of consumer-label-resentment directed towards the broadband providers, the same backlash is appearing against the music industry, the retail industry (through Amazon), Hollywood, marketers (tele- and otherwise), and the political establishment. That’s a lot of minds to start to shift.

So it’s time to start shifting them, to take the power back.

Update: Doc points out that I missed a very important variation on this, from Cluetrain: “we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. we are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp. deal with it.” Doc: I missed it because that’s written as an image with no alt text, and thus was not turned up in the Google search!!! Irony is alive and well.