UPDATE: The figure is now well over 7 million, according to a Google+ post.
Thank you to the more than 7 million of you in the U.S. that took the time yesterday to petition Congress to stop #SOPA and #PIPA, two bills that would censor the web and impose burdensome regulations on American businesses. Please keep +1ing, tweeting and sharing the petition with your friends.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: One subjective metric one can use to judge the success of yesterday's internet-wide SOPA Blackouts is buzz. And using that unit of measure, it appears to have succeeded. On Wednesday, it was nearly impossible to escape SOPA discussion. Whether it was on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, the legislation dominated the national conversation. And it was incredibly difficult to go the entire day without stumbling on a site with some sort of SOPA / PIPA protest. Porn wasn't even safe from SOPA protests.
An objective metric we can use to judge the impact of yesterday's protests comes in the form of petition signatures. Of course, various petitions exist all across the web, hosted by various organizations. Signatures on those petitions already total hundreds of thousands. But the big figure comes from Google, who announced that 4.5 million people signed the online petition linked from their homepage on Wednesday.
As you probably saw, Google participated in the protests yesterday by placing a giant black censor bar over their logo on the homepage. Users who clicked on the logo (or the link below the search box) were taken to a landing page that said "End Piracy, Not Liberty." Along with informational resources on the two bills, users could also sign a petition to tell Congress not to censor the web.
And apparently, a lot of people took the time to do that. Actually, 4.5 million signatures is an obscene figure to report from just one day.
It probably helped that Google emphasized sharing with the petition. Once you signed it, Google asked that you shared it via Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Maybe I just have socially conscious friends, but I saw dozens of shares of the Google survey on all three channels yesterday.