The idea that you don’t have to own something to have access to it is the basis of the popular book “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.” Author Rachel Botsman believes that the social networks we rely on are responsible for widening the community for sharing. This culture of “we” created by sharing behaviors online is transmitting offline to secondhand goods, homes, office space and more through sites such as Airbnb and Krrb.
Borrowing and lending has become a currency unto itself. The Wall Street Journal says the collaborative consumption industry is estimated to be worth $100 billion. With so many ways and things to share, startups such as such as Ridejoy and Swishing are making it their business to connect these neighbors effortlessly. The transaction isn’t between the business and the person who needs to rent a car anymore but rather, Relay Rides connects the car owner who doesn’t need his car and his peer who temporarily does. These marketplaces foster a lifestyle that goes hand in hand with the green movement. Moreso, these websites and apps serve as a platform for social good.
As technology continues to build new connections for sharing, barriers will have to be broken. While people are taking a more mindful approach to living collaboratively, sharing more online and off will lead to a more rich experience for all. Finding the incentive to move past individual consumption will perhaps prove to be the greatest challenge of this year’s largest social trend.