|October 12, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Business news, Internet culture, Politics|
At first glance, two of today’s biggest ongoing news stories seem to have nothing in common. On the one hand there’s the Occupy Wall Street movement, a growing series of protests aimed at calling attention to social and economic inequality, among other issues. On the other hand, there’s Netflix, a video-streaming and rental company whose recent series of announcements has attracted widespread criticism and plummeting stock prices. But take a closer look and you’ll notice a common theme running through both stories: a demand for user participation.
When Netflix announced a 60% price hike this summer, the internet immediately fired back, with customers loudly proclaiming their anger and many cancelling their subscriptions altogether. By means of offering an olive branch, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings then apologized on the company blog, only to announce that the company would be splitting in half, a move that would eliminate many of the key benefits of the service. The internet cries grew louder and the company continued to suffer in the market until finally, yesterday morning, Hastings announced that Netflix would not be splitting in two after all. The internet had spoken. And while the price change remained in effect, Netflix learned that its customers were not willing to stand idly by while the company not only charged them more, but simultaneously decreased their quality of service.
The growing series of Occupy protests shares a similar demand: we, the people, will no longer sit quietly as the wealthiest 1% of the nation decides what’s best for the rest of us. We have a voice and we demand to be heard. It is through the internet that we have lately discovered our own voices and, even more so, the power of our combined voices. The old adage says that one person can change the world. In the internet era, we’ve taken that concept to the next level. If one person can change the world, what happens if hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of us get together and voice our demands? When Netflix announced yesterday that it would not be splitting its company in half as previously stated, we saw exactly what can happen: change. And although the stakes are significantly higher when voicing our demands towards the United States government, we are asking for the same thing: change. We want the kind of change that we believe to be just, not the kind of change that works best for somebody’s bottom line. The economics of customer satisfaction have changed, whether that be in the private or public sector. The Occupy Wall Street movement may ultimately fade, but the driving factor behind it will not: we are the people, we have found our voices, and we will continue to use them. The voices may not come with a clear list of demands, but they know when they have been wronged and will loudly proclaim it, as Netflix recently learned. Now we’ll see what happens on Wall Street.
Photo credit: david_shankbone