It’s a question we’re not really sure about - and, given we’re building a startup based upon sharing, it’s probably worth us trying to work it out. So, dare we ask it, why do we share?
We could probably say straight away that we’re seeing people sharing these days to save money. That’s true, and it makes sense, especially following the economic crisis. But saving money feels like more of a result of sharing, rather than the reason for why we do it. There’s also the environmental incentive, for those greenies out there. But again, like saving money, this is a result of sharing - increasing the lifetime of items results in reduced waste and so on. We know all of this. It isn’t new.
You see, what we really need to do is think about it a bit differently. We need to think about what actually draws us to sharing. Why don’t we just buy things and keep them to ourselves?
We know that sharing isn’t a new concept. We’ve always shared with friends, lovers, and neighbours, on a regular basis. Imagine charging these people money every time you share with them - it just wouldn’t seem right, would it? Because the reality is that introducing money into these relationships would cause them to end. And, when we think about it, sharing binds a community together, allowing those within it to access more with less. Being a part of a sharing community allows us to accomplish more, relieve us of stress, and helps us stay emotionally healthy (it’s true, we promise.)
In fact, now that we think about it, Michael Norton’s talk on TED is a great starting point for understanding why we share.
Sharing and technology:
From programmers comparing code to everyday status updates on Facebook, technology has helped us to share for quite a while. That we cannot deny. We’re now seeing an emerging role for technology in the sharing of items, giving us the ability to easily join communities with not only the people we know, but also like-minded strangers. And, Gen Y is getting on board first. This makes sense, because the Gen Y’ers have become much more accustomed to sharing online. But, Beth Buczynski, in an article on Shareable, has even suggested:
American youth are slowly realizing that the old system is broken, and no longer holds the answer to all their dreams and desires. We’re discovering that stable, satisfying careers can be found outside the offices and factories around which our parents and grandparents built their lives. We’re acknowledging that the pursuit of bigger, better, and faster things have plunged our country into a time of despair and difficulty. We’re convinced that business as usual isn’t an option any longer—but what’s the alternative?
Together, we’re learning that instead of waiting for politicians and corporations to fix the system, it’s possible to create a better one of our own, right under their noses. A new way of living, in which access is valued over ownership, experience is valued over material possessions, and “mine” becomes “ours” so everyone’s needs are met without waste.
Sharing online gives us access to much more, taking the limelight away from the concept of ownership. This actually makes the reason why we share much clearer. We spoke before about how sharing enabled us to accomplish more and was good for our emotional wellbeing. Well, by taking our sharing communities online, we can actually achieve these things to a much larger degree. And that, we think, is it.
What do you think?
We’ve tried our best to explain why we think people share. What do you think? Why do you share? And remember what we said before - we don’t mean things such as saving money and waste reduction. Have a think and let us know!