"The Times They Are a – Changing" (Dylan, 1964)

Posted: 21 March 2011, in Blog

“The times they are a – changing” (Dylan, 1964)

Whoever “#hackercup2011” is, his/her recent hack post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook fan page is a great example of the power of the web and social networks to spread a message.

The post basically criticised Zuckerberg for going to those nasty bankers for money to develop his business. Instead #hackercup2011 wants Facebook to let its users invest in Facebook in a social way. The social business model cited as an example was The Grameen Bank. In Facebook terms the post was liked by 1800 folk and stimulated nearly 500 comments before Facebook pulled the webpage. Web comment suggests the hacker may be disgruntled about a Hacker Cup competition run by Facebook to encourage hackers to address algorithmic problems.

Web etiquette or the lack thereof leads me to think that the 500 comments or so will range from the foul mouthed, through to the genuine enquiry and concluding with informed comment about the replicability of a Grameen model for Facebook or the desirability for Facebook to become a social business.

So, why is this web chat important? If you look at the blogs on the website of Social Edge http://www.socialedge.org/ you will see that Rod Schwartz, CEO of ClearlySo http://www.clearlyso.com/ postulates that the next decade will see three major themes dominate our lives. These are:

Ø  The restructuring of welfare states

Ø  The fragmentation of the economy and the disintermediation of investment

Ø  The feminization of the economy

I’m interested in this disintermediation of investment notion. Schwarz seems to be saying that social enterprises that can attract money from individuals will reduce their reliance on over-pressurised governmental and charity/foundation sources of money if they understand “crowdfunding”. This is seen as web enabled people power; where money is collectively gathered for a social, economic, political or charitable purpose. The example often given is how Obama marketed his campaign on aspiration and hope but funded it through millions of micro donations rather than just the usual corporate and plutocrat methods.

Although a few social enterprises such as The Ethical property Company and Café Direct etc have been innovative in raising investment for their businesses, the share issue methods employed have been fairly traditional. Is there a Scottish social entrepreneur(s) willing and able to use the power of the web and in particular social media to connect with Scots (and our Diaspora?)on the basis of selling a social mission and asking for millions of micro investments. That I’d love to see.

What would you sell to potential investors through the web and social media? Or are you one of those social entrepreneurs who still don’t get the truth about new technology and its inexorable and astonishing potential to change our lives.


NOTE: This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition.