I have heard about Uber in the last few years. I first learned about Uber as a policy issue. I got a real introduction to Uber a couple of months ago: an old friend of mine has been evangelizing for Uber as a way to get home from the bars after a night of drinking.
Today I was reading an article in Slate about the disconnect between what Uber says it’s drivers make and the reality of what they actually do make. Apparently, the issue of pay and some Uber policies have caused some level of discord among the company’s drivers. Interestingly enough, my friend has even mentioned that he has noticed a drop in the level of service provided by Uber drivers over the last two months (since the time I first talked to him about Uber). That a large corporation might lie about how well it treats it’s employees, however, is not a surprise.
I was surprised by one thing in the article. The Uber Drivers Network, according to Slate, has “recruited others through word of mouth, social media, and printed fliers, and they’ve stirred up a handful of protests and strikes.” They have used a Facebook page for at least part of their outreach.
Perusing the Facebook page I noticed that it mentioned actions in London and California. Even though this is my area of study, it still amazes me that regular people are able to coordinate their efforts both nationally and internationally using a Facebook page. I realize there is a lot more to a successful movement than setting up a Facebook page; there are people, Uber drivers, who are risking their livelihoods to coordinate and take part in these small protests.
What is interesting is that this shows how easy it can be to start a coordinated movement. A few motivated individuals and a Facebook page and soon a group of people can start taking on a large corporation.