Career Calling

March 11, 2012

Sabbath, March 11, 2012

Filed under: Sabbath — claycerny @ 5:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

[On Sundays, this blog ponders life and work in “Sabbath.”]

People Power

Over the last week or so an amazing thing has happened, most of Rush Limbaugh’s national sponsors have decided not to advertise on his show.  I call this development amazing not because of the controversy or whichever side of the dispute one may stand.  It is amazing because it demonstrates the power of popular movements to change things thought unchangeable. 

Before this incident, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation felt the wrath of popular blowback when it canceled its support of cancer screening at Planned Parenthood.  Several groups protested this decision, and within a few days Komen backed down and the executive who advocated ending the relation with Planned Parenthood resigned. 

On a global and political, the events of Arab Spring, especially in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya demonstrated the power of people to change their world.  Such movements are not always successful as we saw some years ago in China or more recently in Iran.  But, people find a way to rise up, even in the face bullets and tanks as they are currently doing in Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen. 

What do all of these popular movements have in common?  Online communication and social networks.  Once upon a time, it was more difficult to organize a movement and express outrage.  What took weeks now takes hours or days.  A story goes viral as does the response to it.  The Limbaugh incident is very instructive.  Clearly advertisers were making money by sponsoring his radio program.  However, they felt they would lose more by being associated with it.  They did not make their choice simply on a moral or political basis.  Walking away from Rush was good business. 

In the Internet Age, customers have a stronger voice than ever before.  The Yelp initial public offering demonstrates how much social networks matter.  Several of my customers tell me that they use Yelp before going to any new business – restaurants to resume writers.  We trust companies when someone like us say they have had a good experience with them.

Social networks and online communication are changing the way we live.  They help us decide where to shop and eat.  They let us protest and even help some take down their government.  The force of people power has grown more and more over recent years.  If you don’t believe me, call Rush Limbaugh and ask him if people have the power.

A Sunday Extra Helping: People power is not a new idea.  John Lennon sang about it many years ago.

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