social networking as a force for change

I get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye when I see people working together on the internet to make a change. I’m not sure if that’s some kind of hippy notion (I do have a beard) ,a joy in the power of the internet or a desire to become a politician, nevertheless I saw two stories recently that pressed these buttons (similar to the Digg story I blogged about previously). In the Uk Cadbury’s has been convinced to bring back the Wispa bar after social networking groups were created in favour of the chocolate bar. Similarly HSBC has been convinced to stop charging interest on student loans after a Facebook group was set up to complain about this new practice. Both of these occurred as a result of newspapers picking up on the phenomenon and then making it part of the discussion, so i don’t think it’s the power of the social networking to actually spread the word virally, but it does showcase that there is some interest in the story and that people feel sufficiently motivated to do something about it. it does show the power of social networking to galvanise some like minded people and then provide the platform to link them together. from there your challenge is to publicise the support that you have, which so far hasn’t proved to be too challenging.
either way, it works, i think there is opportunity for a number of initiatives within it for mobilising things on a grassroots level, politically, socially or even some canny brand to come up with an issue that fits with their attributes.

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