When the flashmobs turn into #cashmobs…

If you don’t already read Rory Sutherland you really should start now. His wiki column in the Spectator is expensive, if you are not that interested in the intricacies of the current centre right government, but you can read his blog at Brand Republic for free.

In particular, this bit on the still latent potential of the Internet struck me as interesting:

…the real promise of collective action will only be realised when there’s money involved as well as time. When flashmobs become cashmobs. Theoretically, one of the greatest improvements in the quality of human life in a generation is already within our reach – it will become possible once we learn to use the internet to enable large groups of people to get together and collectively microfund public goods. This development would also provide a welcome opportunity for consumers to move beyond their obsession with individual acquisition and consumption, and to spend money on a healthy mixture of public and private investments.

For real added value try his TED presentation from last year

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  • link to brand republic not working mick

  • Mick Fealty

    Should be fixed now…

  • Bulmer

    The whole idea of harnassing the power of the internet to develop services and products is fascinating. I’m especially interested in the idea of micro-factories which could herald the rebirth of small industrial enterprise.

    There’s a very enthusiastic article from Wired a few months back.


    Anyone else for setting up a car company?

  • Didn’t Amnesty International do just this in the last week when we used social media to ask people to fund a full-page advert in the Financial Times on the day (yesterday) of the Shell AGM in central London?

    The advert was designed to shame Shell on their record of pollution on the Niger Delta shame Shell on their record of pollution on the Niger Delta and to prompt some hard questionning of the Board by share-holders.

    Within a few days of the online ask, 2,000 people came forward and collectively – through pooling each of their relatively small donations – raised the money for the campaign.

    As it happened, at the last moment the FT refused to publish the advert, but that’s another story (Roy Greenslade has it), although other newspapers did and the advert has now been picked up by lots of blogs.

    The point is, from Avaaz to Obama to Amnesty, aren’t ‘cashmobs’ already a feature of good social media campaigning?