It was 2012 when Joseph Garner set out on a one month social experiment to test the good will of society using only Craigslist. His documentary: “Craigslist Joe” didn’t win an academy award, but it did provide insight into a new class of consumption using new technology and social networking. Joe’s experiment revealed that community still exists, that technology hasn’t isolated us or caused us to be distrusting of one another. In fact, his documentary exposed that there is a sense of community and real – life human interaction in the age of technology, an adapted version that incorporates old school values in a new-age society.
The sharing economy has been around since the mid-2000s but the tipping point is now. In 2011 TIME Magazine named ‘collaborative consumption’ “One of 10 ideas that would change the world.” Mahatma Gandhi would be so proud!
The first time I used the ‘sharing app’ Airbnb was in September 2014. I was visiting Santa Monica and wanted the experience of living like a local. I chose accommodations that were central to all of the amenities and cheaper than a hotel room! While I was there I learned about Uber, a car service that picks you up for a fraction of the price of a cab. Uber to the airport cost me 18 dollars whereas the cab from LAX into Santa Monica was 40! Both of these services are a part of the new social enterprise, a Peer 2 Peer Network that is making the world a better place! Below are 4 reasons how:
1. People are spending less and experiencing more: For sharing websites like Airbnb or VRBO, you can book affordable accommodation (often cheaper than a hotel) AND experience life as a local. Staying at someone else’s house is not for everyone, but it sure beats eating out all of the time. I shopped at the local grocery store and cooked most of my meals at the house I was staying at. I saved a lot more money that way and it ensured that I was sticking to my healthy eating plan.
2. We are increasing our green footprint: I don’t own a car because I really don’t need one. However, there are times when a car would come in handy. For trips to the grocery store or having to be somewhere outside of transit’s access hours I use Car2go, a ride-sharing company that uses the same concept as ZipCar and MODO. Car2go takes their business a step further and allows the user to drive to a destination and leave the car there (as long as it is a designated parking space). ZipCar and MODO also have designated parking spaces but the user must return the car back to its original parking spot. Gas prices are included in your trip’s mileage fees.
3. Users are cutting down on wasteful consumption: Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle. This also falls under the category of being environmentally friendly, but we live in a 1st world society where we sometimes think that new is better. Do you want a new phone? Or do you NEED a new phone? Post the old one on Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace because your old phone will be new to someone else! You can sell it and make some extra money toward that new phone or you can just give it away to someone in need. It’s really up to you.
4. Together we are helping to build democratic communities: A strong community is a safe community. By participating in collaborative consumption we are working to decrease societal barriers, by increasing acceptance of one another and calling the shots on how we want to live, where we want to live and how we make our money.