Last week Avaaz, the online petition organisation with 8.2 million members worldwide, collected 1.6 million signatures in support of human rights. The petition helped stop a very nasty law being proposed in a country far from here.* It’s amazing that now, with social media, an organisation can collect so many signatures in so little time, on so many different topics.
Now imagine if you crossed Avaaz with a betting shop. Or with a stockbroker. Imagine if investment funds, pension funds, savings, child trust funds etc all backed and bet on the successes of organisations like this, and other charities and NGOs. It could be a global snowball…….
Imagine if money followed Good, not Guns. If the stock market switched to rewarding ethical behaviour, not assholishness. Imagine if the JerkDollar suddenly slumped against the GenerousDollar. Even the jerks would jump ship.
We now have the data and technology to link investment with intentions and with outcomes. To sniff out trends and work with them, make money from them. Do you remember a few years ago, after 9/11, someone came up with an idea to start a trading exchange where people bet on future terrorist activity?** The idea was that people who had information, or heard a rumour, would use it to try to make a quick buck. The market would be the intelligence – enough whispers and enough investors would create a spike, which the counterterrorists would pick up on. Hopefully, early enough to intervene.
People coming together, connecting across the world, finding others who agree with them, debating issues with those who don’t, finding ways to have influence. This is the meaning of Social Media. It’s not Antisocial Media.*** As Facebook and Wikileaks and Twitter grow, there’s nowhere left for companies and individuals to hide their selfishness, their oil spills and their meanspirited activities. As money follows social media more and more, it is draining away from antisocial activities. The Lady Macbeths cry “Out, damned spot” on a daily basis, hiding behind greenwash and superinjunctions. But the truth is like water – it wears away whatever tries to contain it.
Imagine if all the assholes in the world woke up one morning to find the funders had left them, the money had gone elsewhere.
THAT would be a morning to be alive!
*It’s impossible to know what part the Avaaz petition played in the events, but the figures are so enormous, and growing so fast, Avaaz is clearly influential.
**This is a stupid idea, on so many levels, IMHO. But an interesting one. Especially if we flip it.
***Despite what mass-media hysteria-mongers would have us believe, most people online are not into child porn or jihadism. Most people are mostly nice, selfish sometimes and a bit lazy but with good intentions overall, just like me and you.