Following the success of Airbnb
, the peer-to-peer accommodation model
is surfacing as one of 2012’s emergent consumer trends. With the advent of the so-called Sharing Economy
, people are proud to rent, obliged to lend, and not afraid to borrow
, as it appears that we’ve entered an era of social collaboration in which most everything exists in the cloud and stands available for use by others.
In a world where access often trumps ownership, consumers are opting to borrow rather than buy, and online classifieds
are enabling users to exchange items without making purchases. One new such platform, SnapGoods
, offers a forum in which anyone can post what they have to share and what they want to borrow
from those with whom they are socially connected. One click creates a customized account that can be integrated into Facebook and/or Twitter, through which members can instantly ‘window shop.’ Although individual members determine the pricing and details of each exchange, the site offers an official guarantee
that damaged goods will be replaced or repaired.
The popularity of the Sharing Economy isn’t being driven only by cost efficiency but also by the degree to which it can engender good will. Similar to “virtual commune” Bright Neighbor
harnesses the social power of the Web to unite neighbors for sharing services. Driving out of town and have room in your car? Make some extra cash and a new friend along the way. Know how to speak French and want to learn to play the drums? Search Uniiverse for lesson swap opportunities. Without going to the extremes of ‘freeganism,’ users can lend what they have to offer, and trade what they need, all without spending a cent.
It’s too bad that great kitchens exist in households where nobody cooks while many gourmet chefs lack adequate facilities in which to ply their trade. Putting to use those ovens that hold shoes
rather than casseroles, Kitchensurfing
matches those kitchen owners with space-seeking cooks for hire, to teach them some tricks of the trade, or just to connect over the joy of preparing sumptuous meals for others. The cooks may be pros with culinary school and restaurant experience or talented amateurs who have mastered a particular meal but, either way, the intent is to “unify the intimacy of a dinner party with the ease of walking into restaurant.” Tastes good, we’d say.