a lovely change happening in the world

Posted on March 26, 2011

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Lately I’ve felt it. This lovely change happening in the world. People smiling. Minds opening. Random acts of kindness.

I know the world has been spewing some serious shit at us lately. Floods, earthquakes, disaster. And now another global war.

But somewhere inside all the chaos, I feel a subtle yet pleasant change occurring.

Has anyone else noticed it?

For me it’s so distinct and clear. And even the internet – something with the power to be so disconnecting – has outdone itself.

Communities are springing up everywhere. People are searching for like-minded people, sharing resources, supporting strangers with ideas, funding, encouragement.

I’ve been noticing it for a while now. For years technology seemed to be drawing us further and further apart. We became so self-sufficient we didn’t need our neighbors anymore. We travelled so far from our roots that we lost the people we grew-up with. We became so electronically entertained, we didn’t need to talk to our families. And the internet, well the internet was yet another escape route.

But it seems we are now rebelling against this trend. Naturally social beings, we want to communicate, form communities, share.

That’s why we’ve seen such a proliferation of cool stuff online – crowd funding, micro lending, house swapping, car sharing, meet-up groups, peer-to-peer rentals, online marketplaces, group buying, couch surfing, co-working spaces.

People are trusting strangers with their houses and cars, loaning money to business people halfway across the world, funding the artistic projects of people they’ve never met.

Not only does it save us all money but it helps us build communities and trust, and is a more efficient use of the world’s resources.

Only in my wildest dreams…

But it’s happening.

There’s even a site called sharehood where you can find people who live is your real neighborhood and share stuff with them. You can loan tools, teach each other new languages, share gardens, help out with eachother’s kids, car pool. It’s just fabulous.

And this week I finally I found a name for it all.

They’re calling it collaborative consumption – a term coined by  Harvard Graduate Rachel Botsman. She must be one clever cookie.

I’m excited. Hopeful.

I wonder, what will we come up with next?

Whatever it is I want to be part of it.

So tell me are you a collaborative consumer? Do you trade, swap, barter, buy or give online? How? What are your favourite online communities?

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Posted in: community