We all know that there are grave injustices in the world that should be abolished, from violations of human rights to corporate greed run amok; yet who among us possesses the time or resources to commit and follow through to seeing that such change occurs? Most everyone will agree on the things that should change, what is harder still is to organize, to band together and work collectively to enact it.
Enter Andrew Mason, founder of The Point and creator of the new Facebook social application, Ultimatums.
Facebook and Myspace are certainly no strangers to social consciousness, both networking sites having seen their share of pages and groups dedicated to the proliferation of ideas for change. What makes Ultimatums different is that rather than existing as simply a platform a general issue or concern, it goes a step beyond by addressing a cause and setting a specific ultimatum based on the participation of a predetermined number of users, that if reached, collectively agree to a specific action as consequence if there is no change. One interesting aspect of this ideaology is that where one person may indeed be powerless to force any kind of permanent corporate change, thousands are able to quickly commit to an idea and its consequence in an expedient timeframe.
Additionally, any facebook user has the ability to issue their own ultimatums and set point levels and consequences in order to bring about changes at a local or national level.
Examples of Ultimatums issued so far include:
Tough Love for KFC - The Ultimatum: Either KFC adopts the suggestions of their animal welfare board or 1,000,000 people will quit doing business there;
CNN.com - The Ultimatum: Either CNN must commit to seperate human interest stories from actual news or 1,000,000 people will quit clicking on the stories.
Even though the application launched this Tuesday, already they've reached at least one pivotal success. The Ultimatum 'Stop Starbucks from Using Hormone Injected Milk' reports that they will quit using milk treated with rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) by the end of 2008, and the ultimatum has been closed.