Have you ever rented a DVD from Netflix? Or purchased music from iTunes or one of the many online companies that are tapping into the “digitalization” of music? Maybe instead of calling to make a reservation for a hotel for last years vacation, you went online and rented a condo on the beach for your get-a-way? If so, then you are a part of a growing trend in American society called collaborative consumption.
Collaborative Consumption is a new term for the rising popularity of sharing, renting, lending, bartering or trading for goods, services, skills and even space that some say may continue to grow and change the way America works. Time magazine calls collaborative consumption “one of the top 10 sustainable trends of 2010” and” one if the top 10 ideas that could change the world.” That’s a pretty hefty statement for a term few are familiar with and sounds like the fad of the month. However, there several big factors that could make Time magazine 150% right.
Just a few years ago, the mind set of our country was to be an “ownership society.” Our financial design was built to support owning. George W. Bush proclaimed during his 2004 campaign that “the more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America.” Sadly, within four short years of that bold campaign promise, the U.S. started a financial downfall that almost ruined the country instead of bringing vitality as promised. This global recession may have just laid the ground work for this shift from an owning society to a sharing society.
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As consumers, our behaviors have changed and it’s all about being environmentally friendly. It’s the in thing to be green. It is changing how and what we consume. Seems like everyone is trying to do their part and waste less. Less has become better and it’s a new way of thinking for many. Sharing and renting means producing and wasting less stuff and that makes collaborative consumption good for the environment. This new sharing society has an appealing green element that the old ownership society didn’t have.
Everyone knows that technology has caused a rapid explosion of all things online. We now have the ability to do things we once never thought possible. Take craigslist or ebay. It’s truly amazing what is available on those two sites. It’s also amazing how many people use those sites regularly and how such a new concept can work so well. New websites like these appear every day and allow people to exchange unused space, goods, skills, money and services. We are now doing things over the internet that cause disruption in “business as usual” for companies across the country. Napster was the beginning of “digitalized music” and everyone seemed to love that they no longer needed to own CD’s to have the music they wanted. It’s so much easier to reserve a rental car for that business trip, a U Haul to move your family or Christmas shop from your own home, in your pajamas
Almost everyone has had their hand in some form of collaborative consumption. For instance, over 20 million Netflix subscribers pay a fee to share DVD’s. It’s quickly putting old time movie rental stores out of business. On Airbnb.com, people across the
country are renting part or all of their homes to travelers. Take a look at zipcar.com which has over 500,000 members that share cars, part-time. What a great concept for someone who doesn’t own a car, doesn’t want the responsibility or cost of owning one yet occasionally has the need for one! At snapgoods.com, communities across the country are renting, trading and bartering goods they have, for goods they need. Pretty cool if you think about it. There are countless additional sites like this for almost everything you can imagine; clothingexchange.com, landshare.net, swap.com, bartercard.com, swapitbaby.com. In a way, it’s almost like a branch off of social networking.
... ramifications involved, even if we don't see them. One thing that could be discussed is greed. Did e Bay raise ... ." Consumers must be really be aware of internet offers and things that seem to good to be true. This issue has ... side of the moral and ethical matter, there are great things that e Bay offers as well as provides for its ... Changing Times Make for Unhappy e Bay Customers How much is too much, ...
“What’s Mine is Yours – The Rise in Collaborative Consumption” is a book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Roger. They also have a website and a new company stemming from this hot new trend. Botsman says, “Peer-to-peer sharing involves the re-emergence of community.” Her book identifies several drivers behind the change; a renewed belief in the importance of community, social networks and real time technologies, unresolved environmental concerns and a global recession that isn’t ending fast enough for anyone. The book also details the three systems of collaborative consumption; redistribution markets, collaborative lifestyles and product service systems. Botsman’s website calls collaborative consumption “a movement “ and her new company, CC LABS, is a “Collaborative Innovation Consultancy” can help you get on board. They maintain the real benefit of this movement is social and believe that we
are living in an era when families are scattered and that we may not know the people who live down the street, but by sharing things, even with strangers we’ve just met online, we are making meaningful connections.
You might be thinking how or why making meaningful connections and sharing with strangers could possibly make this sharing society a trend that lasts or changes the world? So many new ideas lose their steam; so many trends come and go. What’s popular today probably won’t be in a year. The needs and wants of American’s tend to drift towards the current craze or fad. What makes collaborative consumption something that so many are thinking could change the world? Besides the social aspect, what makes it not just another passing fad? It could be a combination of trust and the neurotransmitter oxytocin.
Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds that are tossed around like baseballs between neurons in our nervous system and binds to receptors. This means it either excites or inhibits the neuron it lands on. Oxytocin has been called the liquid trust hormone and your body knows exactly what to do with it. Your body is programmed to spread it around which will effect your level of calmness and trust, lower anxiety and soften your brains natural resistance responses. When your body receives a little extra oxytocin you feel a slight wave of euphoria and are more at peace.
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Researchers have found that people get a spike of this pleasant neurotransmitter oxytocin when they are entrusted with someone else’s goods. This enhanced feeling nature gives us when we share may be the reason a sharing society might prove to outlast a ownership society. So try collaborative consumption. It feels good.