You’ve heard it before: “Money equals power.” Whether you believe it or not, there is some truth to that saying. Generally, those who can afford a house in a nice neighborhood, along with expensive cars and other luxuries are viewed as successful through society’s eyes. From a young age, we are taught that financial stability is an indicator of success, which makes sense.

But some recent events and trends have made me restructure my thinking and realize, that my idea of power and influence may be a little outdated. From the Occupy Wall Street Movement to the SOPA protests, one thing is clear: the Internet is giving money, well, a run for its money.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you need money to become a powerful person. There are tons of examples of individuals who had the quintessential rags to riches story; Oprah Winfrey, Kirk Kerkorian, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan…the list goes on.

But, I do think the approach to success is geared towards money, when it should be shifted to web presence in order to match the current times. Wow, I just reread that sentence and realize how much of a millennial I sound like, but hear me out, I have good points!

$10 Million vs. Wikipedia

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two controversial anti-piracy bills, burst into headlines last week as lobbyists, new media companies, and US citizens alike voiced their outrage.

The CNN Money article “Millions in SOPA lobbying bucks gone to waste”, points out that Google, Wikipedia and other such sites had a greater impact on building opposition than professional lobbyists paid millions of dollars to shoot down the bills.

Granted, the proposed bills directly related to some of the largest, consumer-loyal brands, making it easy for these huge websites to cause a stir. But the sites that took a stand did so with minimal logo alterations and small blurbs to explain what was going on a.k.a minimal spending.

“It may have been painted as a David vs. Goliath fight initially. But the end result proved that the most money doesn’t always win in Washington,” notes CNN.

Internet = 1, Money = 0.

99% vs 1%

The above story made me start thinking about the Occupy Wall Street movement and how much it has grown since the September start. The Occupy Wall Street movement relied almost entirely on social media to gain the widespread attention needed to make a change.

While the direct objective may have been murky, there is no denying that the movement gained a lot of power in the eyes of Americans. Personally, I feel like Bank of America’s move to repeal their $5 debit card fee is a prime example of how the Occupy movement inspired the power of the people. A humongous, multi-billion dollar bank was forced to change its operation tactics due to its customers taking to the Internet to voice their disapproval.

You may not have agreed with the movement or those who participated, but at they end of the day, they had power over the media and large corporations and they did it all while basically being homeless.

Experience vs. Facebook

Did you know some people are predicting that résumés will be replaced by social network links? I can’t say I was very surprised when this article caught my eye. When I was on the job hunt, I saw many sites asking for Facebook links and LinkedIn links, which was frustrating to me initially because I focused on my academics, not my web presence, in college.

But as someone who has always been interesting in writing, marketing and advertising, I soon learned that a web presence was crucial to break into these fields. Union Square Ventures, a venture-capital firm, recently posted job openings asking for links to demonstrate the applicants web presence, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to Union Square Ventures, they are looking for more depth than a résumé provides. With more and more people living through the Internet, it’s only natural that business want to know you via web as opposed to paper.

Although this doesn’t directly involve money, a big motivator behind taking certain jobs is building your resume. Not that work experience will no longer be valued, but you are more likely to gain brownie points with an extensive online following and influence.

Internet vs. Money

Money is a pressing subject for many people. With the economy weakened and the job market recovering slowly (very slowly) from the recession, many are struggling to make ends meet. The recession has also inspired individuals to look past a paycheck to find satisfaction within their lives.

Going back to the “rags to riches” example, many of these stories revolve around people with determination, talent and luck — traits that eventually contributed to their large success. What the Internet does is make opportunities for success more readily available for anyone who knows how to navigate the social media sites.

In the past, someone who had an idea or a talent had to get discovered and supported by someone with more money and power, now they can take their thoughts and talents to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. So next time you feel unimpressive because your bank account is dismally low, turn to the internet for a little help.



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