"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bank of America Bends to Will of the People

Bank of America yesterday bowed to the will of its customers, withdrawing its plan to charge 5 bucks a month for use of its precious debit cards.  I see this as being just one of many reversals of corporate rapaciousness and insensitivity in the new world in which we live.

This is a world very different from the old one, which is still in the process of ending, in which corporations dealt out whatever they pleased to consumers.  In that old world, now being set back on its hind quarters, people mistreated by corporations had no one to complain to other than their families and friends, governments which did little or nothing, and corporations which did less.

Now, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube - social media - allow people to instantly and effectively communicate to millions about the bad treatment they are receiving from their banks and other corporate monoliths.  Abused customers no long have to wait for a mass medium - a TV or newspaper reporter - to deign to give their grievance coverage.  The consumers can get their own coverage via YouTube videos and Tweets that cost nothing to produce and can be seen and read everywhere, on any smart phone or old-fashioned laptop.

Bank of America isn't the first corporation to feel this cleansing power.  Netflix earlier reversed its new, regressive polices after a torrent online complaints.  Netflix learned that online media can be used for more than selling movies and TV shows.

Some big corporations think that by hiring a cool PR firm, they can develop an effective presence in the realms of social media.   Such con jobs can be seen a mile away.

Other companies have learned that online presence must be accompanied by real benefits to the consumer. Panera Bread, for example, not only offers free wi-fi in its cafes, but gives free refills for coffee and tea, and other perks to its loyal consumers.   Contrast that to Bank of America's attempt to squeeze five more dollars out of its customers.

The resurgence of direct democracy ongoing in Occupy Wall Street all over the world is now beginning to have tangible economic consequences.  This is very likely just the start of an economic revolution that will go hand-in-hand with the political.

Occupy Wall Street Chronicles, Part 1

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