How Much Are You Willing to Share?

June 6, 2011

We just love sharing stuff. From vacation (or lunch) photos on Facebook to local restaurant reviews on Yelp to daily deals from Groupon, our culture seems to be increasingly enamored with sharing everything with everyone.

Today, that “share” button is damn near ubiquitous. But the rise of the sharing culture isn’t happening only online. In the last couple of years, several offline sharing programs have become big right here in Minneapolis: Nice Ride (public bike-sharing), Hour Car, (energy-efficient car sharing) and CoCo (collaborative work space sharing).

Just how big will sharing get? A recent Fast Company article offered a great glimpse at what the future may look like as the social web continues to grow. Numerous start-up sharing sites were referenced in the piece and I gave some thought to if I could see myself using them as sharing becomes even more widespread. Here are a few that I can envision myself using:

Neighborgoods: Last week, I wanted two items that I don’t own and don’t want to buy: a food processor and a power saw. I ended up cooking something else and renting the saw from a hardware store. But how nice would’ve been had a neighbor been able to share these things with me for an hour? Neighborgoods puts you in touch with neighbors to share home appliances, sports equipment, tools and more.

Gobble: I like to fancy myself an OK chef, but there have been times that I’ve wanted a nice home-cooked meal for a special occasion but haven’t had the time or skills on the grills to make it happen. Gooble connects you with the best chefs in your neighborhood who will prepare and deliver meals for you.

Taskrabbit: Ever need to run to the grocery store or post office when you’re on a deadline or dealing with kids running around the house? Taskrabbit matches people who need tasks done quickly with “runners” to handle errands for them.

Trust is without a doubt the key variable in sites like these becoming a part of our everyday lives like Facebook and Groupon have. From trusting that your neighbor will return your saw, to trusting that the meal your neighbor cooked for you doesn’t suck, to trusting strangers in your home with shared/rental room sites like AirBNB, it’s going to take a lot of trusting thy neighbor — both online and off.

Imagine a life in which we all have online trust badges (read about these in the Fast Company article) that determine if someone shares with you — is this a place you want to live?

Think about how you might change your consumption habits with the evolution of sharing. What sort of things do you think we should or will start sharing more of? Either way, please do consider clicking one of the sharing buttons below.

Photo via janelleorsi on Flickr