Online sharing communities are emerging all over the world to create links between people. The different platforms and groups offer alternative forms of consumption, where people are renting, lending and even sharing goods instead of buying them. It is not only material products that are being exchanged; people are also offering their knowledge, skills and time.
Pictures by niallkennedy, CyberGhostVPN and willem velthoven, Creative Commons
The added value of "online sharing communities"
Language lessons, financial advice, books or clothes are different examples of what is on offer. This peer-to-peer sharing also allows people to make meaningful connections, thus fostering the re-emergence of community.
The different emerging communities are using sharing for different aspects of daily life:
- mobility (car-sharing, car rental and shared use of vehicles, including taxis, bicycles and parking spaces, and also carpooling, which means filling empty car seats with other passengers going in the same direction);
- energy efficiency (shared use of household utensils);
- accommodation and areas for growing food (rental of rooms, shared housing, and urban and rural allotments);
- business (co-working or shared office space);
- communications (mobile platforms where users can buy and sell goods and services to people living in the same community);
- work (micro-tasks, hiring people for specific jobs, or "handymen", where the best bidder is given tasks ranging from hanging pictures to assembling items of furniture);
- culture (bookcrossing and book bartering, and promoting cultural exchanges among young people from different countries);
- education (digital communities for learning languages);
- time and skills (time banks);
- leisure (sharing digitised content);
- finance (loans between individuals, direct loans from individuals to small and medium-sized enterprises, crowdfunding or collective financing, crowdfunding for crowdbenefits);
- tourism (dining experiences in private homes);
- art fairs and markets for bartering and donating clothing and other items for children & adults, plus repair and recycling of objects; many other initiatives could be mentioned but a comprehensive study of these is not the purpose of this opinion.
Sharing Communities Directory
- Directory of Different Sharing communities : collected by Shareable - the online magazine that tells the story of sharing.
Examples of actions
Project to promote cycling among all those visiting Berlin without the rental fees. "Two wheels good, free wheels better!"
Organisation enabling sharing since 1975: ride-sharing: Carpoolplaza, Eurostop, Eventpool. Car-Sharing: Cambio-car-sharing, Autopia P2P. Homelink, home-sitting. Social transport service for less mobile people, done by volunteers...