Secret Societies are defined as exclusive, claiming to own special secrets, it’s practices are concealed from the public, and one has to be initiated. The existence of the group in itself is often not a secret, but their mysterious ways and knowledge are.
Hackers are often viewed as secretive, unapproachable, hiding in the dark, waiting to steal bank accounts and ruin lives. A view the media cultivates with headliners like ‘Inside the secret world of hackers’, linking hackers to the (for most people) equally mysterious Dark Web, and portraying hackers as mysterious members of Anonymous.
But as an artist recently put it, in an exhibition on Secret Societies: ‘Secrets are made to share’.
It's a statement that can be interpreted in different ways, but as far as our community goes: we love sharing secrets! We might have the reputation of being a closed and hard to get into community, but we are really not!
Taking Secret Society of Hackers as a name opens up a world of possibilities. It creates the opportunity to flip this secrecy around and turn it into openness. The name is in itself an oxymoron: a true secret can not be advertised. The name defines everything we are not, and that is why it works; Secret Society of Hackers is an open, positive, progressive and educational hacker camp And if you don’t agree, I have one thing to say to you:
Secrecy is interesting, we love to find out secrets. It tempts the public, and it allows us, as a community, to define our identity and establish ourselves as an open, inclusive group of people that are more than willing to share our secrets.
Secret societies tend to have a lot of rituals and outdated believes. The name SSH twists that around. We're open, we're transparent, we're everything the title is not.
This creates brilliant opportunities for branding, communication and design, focussing on oxymorons where secrecy is twisted into openness.
Let's take a look at the options...
Adding the word "secret" in front of anything!
Secret Villages, Secret Tents, Secret Stages, Secret Heralds, Secret Secrets, Secret BBQ, Secret Bonfire, Secret Lounge, Secret Toilets, Secret Safe Harbor, Secret Schedule, Secret Booklet, Secret Teams, Secret Orga
The design, flyers, site, communication can have a ton of stamps, both classifying and declassifying them. With extra (nonsensical) codes for parity and other "meaningful" things.
We can ‘create’ rituals that will initiate people into the secret society. Think of the ‘Ethical Harker’ certificate going around.
Memetics, such as saying "Ssshh" while somebody is talking about the camp, to acknowledge you know about the camp too
Option to borrow elements of comics that have secret lairs, secret identities
The theme would be adding "secret" and mystery to everything. So everything is secret, with infinite stamps, seals, verification tokens, genuine stickers. And the camp is filled with options to become a verified member of the secret society.
After people buy their tickets, the initiation begins!
Imagine leads like:
"Once every four year, the secret society of hackers rises from the depths of their secret lairs, to amass and show the world how to create a better place for everyone. They have been living secret lives amongst common members of society, silently influencing decisions, motivating and pushing the world to grow and be the best our galaxy has to offer. This is the once in a quadrennial opportunity to meet them at their Secret Forest Base in Zeewolde. The password is: 'admin/admin'."
There are some limits to the design. The most important being references to existing secret societies because it deters from building our own identity as a "secret society". So we're not doing that. We can mock them of course if there is a clear joke which does not detract from what we do. For example mocking the illuminati with square eyes from computer screens instead of the all seeing eye or penrose triangles instead of their pyramids. But it's better to create something of our own.
Secure Shell: a popular and currently deployed technology that is used to transfer commands to remote computers
Vocalized as "sssh", shush. To keep things secret.
Stylized as SSH and !SSH, to confuse and attract the audience. And to give a deeper and complex message: there is no secret society of hackers.
Secrets are made to share