In the old days we’d share all the time. We needed to just to survive. Sharing helped the community grow stronger and people looked after each other as a result. I guess we don’t expect that to happen in the first world these days but there’s still benefits in sharing.
The phrase “sharing economy” represents the modern twist. “I’ll share with you… if there’s something in it for me” is the implication. There’s a trade. There’s a value exchange.
Here’s an example; Liftshare connects drivers with empty seats with people looking for a lift. If the deal is just to split petrol costs and not make any profit then car insurance companies are happy. Another firm, Bla Bla Car, has a similar deal but prefers “long distance ride-sharing” and has grown large enough to run TV ads. It’s understandable why people ask question like is Bla Bla Car safe but these sites let you find out about a potential ride long before you get a near a car. It’s more like social networking than hitchhiking.
Another sharing economy site is Just Park. I should have made better use of this as I’ve unused car parking spaces (I don’t have a car) in my name for my tiny little flat. If I have spaces when I move then I can register them at Just Park, for free, and then get paid if someone with a car actually needs to “share” the space with me. I guess the main difference between this and Liftshare is that there’s a profit aspect here.
A third brilliant example is FareShare. This sharing site collects food from supermarkets, restaurants and other organisations who won’t be using it any more (perhaps it’ll go off too soon) and then helps get the food to food banks. This is sharing food. This is how it used to be. What’s in it for the companies involved? I’d suggest that other than a big boost to their CSR they’re also helping to keep the local economy strong, the neighbourhood a pleasant place to eat and live while also working to ensure that eating out doesn’t become seen as the vanity of the rich.
In Pure Spirit
Have you come across the term “sharing economy” before? Why not share some examples of modern sharing done right in the comments below.