Back in 2007, I led a successful campaign against HSBC‘s decision to impose a new charging regime on graduate bank accounts. Using Facebook, we mobilised over 10,000 students, gained national and international press coverage and directly impacted on HSBC’s business by informing consumer behaviour with the online advice we posted on the Facebook group.
At the time, we were delighted when HSBC reversed their position, consulted NUS on their student and graduate offer and also sponsored some groundbreaking NUS student experience research to the tune of £330,000. Our campaign saved graduates millions of pounds in charges and also won NUS a Third Sector Award for innovative use of digital media.
But the real surprise came when Tom Watson dropped me a message on Facebook to say that the campaign and I had been mentioned in Clay Shirky‘s acclaimed book, ‘Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising Without Organisations’ (the paperback has a slightly different title). Sure enough, I found myself listed in the index and he had featured our campaign!
I was reminded of all of this by a post on my Facebook wall over the Bank Holiday weekend with a video of Clay Shirky again featuring the campaign in a lecture. I understand he mentions the campaign often in radio inteviews and did so in a lecture at the RSA. The book (which I bought, admittedly, for posterity!) and his lecture are well worth taking a look at for anyone interested in new media, campaigning or consumer affairs.