Had consumer advocate Ralph Nader the tools of social media he probably would never had turned to the courts to right wrongs. But he and his movement did and from the early 1970s up until the present, dissatisfied consumers go to court, either individually or in the form of class action suits.
That could be changing. Not that everyone, including Nader types, would approve. Social media, ranging from tweets to YouTube, make it possible, cheap, and fun to out alleged misdeeds. Yesterday, in THE NEW YORK TIMES, Laura Holson observes, "Social media is the new court of public opinion." She adds, though, "To many people who study social media and its effects on human behavior, the online rebuke smacked of virtual mob justice." However, as we all know, the justice handed down by the courts of law isn't always our definition of what is just. Consider the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Gore/Bush election and recent decisions which seem a bit too tipped to corporate interests.
What will happen on the macro level because of social media is still a blank check. On the micro level or on main street gigantic change is already happening. Everyman has become a total Nader system of identification of consumer problems and immediate action taken.
I perceived the documents ICon mandates in order that I qualify to apply for writing assignments with Intuit as an invasion of privacy. I told Intuit: no way Jose. Yet, ICon subsequently contacted me three times.
To me the point of fair play was that this "document search" was being performed even before Intuit and I agreed to work together or to determine the terms and conditions of that relationship, for example, frequency of assignments, compensation, and deadlines.
Eventually, when ICon contacted me a third time, I cried basta or Italian for "enough." I posted on the situation on my influential legal blog https://lawandmore.typepad.com, which is housed in the Library of Congress. I mused out loud why, even before I am a contract hire, I must present to ICon my federal tax returns, along with other documents associated with being an independent contractor. Funny, but my Fortune 500 clients don't request all that. I have been a free agent since 1987.
Slowly but surely, the steam stopped coming out of my ears. Also, I have the potential satisfaction of eventually stopping this practice. I feel better. Good might be done. On the other hand, ICon and Intuit may take the time to explain to me and to the court of public opinion why this mandate is being imposed on freelancers such as myself. Perhaps I and other free agents will learn something important. Isn't that what the new economy is all about: Learn and Earn.
How a society achieves its own notion of reform and justice changes. This shift may be a whopper.