Power to the public

Two good, anecdotal illustrations of the power that our tools of publicness give to us, the public.

* Bank of America customer Molly Katchpole collected 300,000 names in an online petition against the bank’s ripoff $5 debit card charge and beat down the behemoth. True, the banks have been guilty of greater ripoffs, but this is still a victory for the customers as a community over the corporation.

It’s one matter for individual customers to resort to blogs and Twitter (as I have) to get satisfaction from companies. It’s another for customers to be able to organize without organizations. Before the net, customers couldn’t have created their own instant network of protest. The net empowers them.

So now companies don’t just need to hire people to watch Twitter and blogs and put out fires. Now they have to fear that their abusive policies will become the subject of large-scale, instant protests. Any company whose business model still depends on holding us prisoner to its policies — banks, cable companies, telcos, airlines, insurance companies — had best learn a lesson.

* And bravo to the kid who recorded and posted the psycho rant of a high-school football coach in suburban Memphis. Yes, some might argue that the coach’s privacy was violated. I say ridiculous. The coach thought he could get away with abusing the children in his care behind closed doors, but now, thanks to a phone and the net, the children can fight back by making his abuses public. Even the coach appears to have learned a lesson.

  • Stan Hogan

    I also have had the opportunity to join millions in voicing my displeasure with Kim Kardashian, where in the past I probably would have muttered “POS attention whore” and moved on with my life.

  • Richard Reich

    100% OWS, with all due respect to Molly. Petition, shmetition.

  • http://www.thepomoblog.com Terry Heaton

    Respectfully disagree, Richard. It’s all part of the same, bottom-up vibe. The status quo is very afraid, and rightly so.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/denysyeo Denys Yeo

    It is important to publicize how people are publicizing events that they wish to have an influence over ; Educating the public on how to, effectively, be more public is key to building a more open world where people can’t get away with engaging in inappropriate behaviour behind “closed doors”.

  • cm

    Sure we have more power. Do we have the wisdom to use it properly?

    As we make it easier to express a point of view it gets easier to descend into a society where policies are decided on “Likes” of sound bites and tweets rather than well considered opinions.

    Of course this is really nothing new. People voted for The Governator based on the abilities of his Terminator character. But it does seem to be getting worse.

  • http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/ Dredd

    BOA has all that Iraqi oil booty revenue its 1% customers deposit, but BOA will not lend it out to the 99%.

  • http://www.medlawplus.com medlaw

    I’ll add to this list the recent video of the Texas judge beating his disabled daughter with a belt. Technology is giving power to the powerless.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/03/texas-judge-caught-on-video-beating-daughter-needs-help/

  • http://www.diziklip.net dodo

    I also have had the opportunity to join millions in voicing my displeasure with Kim Kardashian, where in the past I probably would have muttered “POS attention whore” and moved on with my life.

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