USA Today has a good roundup of a new generation of services that take the promise of social networking one step further: We’re not just sharing what we do. We’re sharing what we own.
Dubbed “collaborative consumption” — or “the sharing economy” — this movement represents the newly cemented intersection of online social networking, mobile technology, the minimalist movement and heightened penny-pinching brought on by lingering economic uncertainties.
If it sticks, this whole new economy could lead to a whole new way of looking at our stuff: If it’s sitting there in a box when someone else could be making use of it, is it just going to waste?
A world where access trumps ownership is the vision of Meshing.it, a site that boasts an index of more than 6,722 companies in 127 countries that help people share. They include recent blockbusters like travel hub Airbnb and TaskRabbit, which connects people who need things done to a community of freelancers who can do them.
“Sharing-based businesses generally offer a greater feeling of connection and community,” site creator Lisa Gansky wrote in Meshing.it’s “manifesto.” “They are more trustworthy because they have to be.”
I haven’t used these kinds of sharing sites yet, but I’m bookmarking Meshing.it. This feels like a trend worth trying.