Posts tagged ‘bartering’

September 30, 2011

Fiverr=Amazeballs

by Tom Tenney

I had only just begun my reading on barter economies when my girlfriend serendipitously IM’d me the URL to fiverr which she called an “amazeballs idea.”    The concept is a webified version of “what would you do for a dollar?”  and allows people to post what they would do (legally) for five dollars.  Just a few examples:

I will sleep talk your website, product name or slogan on VIDEO for $5″

“I will use my deep voice to sing like Johnny Cash anything you desire while playing my acoustic guitar… for $5”

“I will edit your 30 minute podcast for $5”

I think this is fantastic… it’s kind of like a micro Elance, where there are no limits to the ridiculousness of the tasks.  Also, this is potentially a great way to get great, unique marketing material.  I have this idea that I want to order one per day leading up to the RE/Mixed Media Festival on October 22nd – and tweet the results each day.   I’ll keep you posted on how that goes (I’ve already ordered the sleeptalking video…)

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September 24, 2011

Collaborative Consumption: Collective Intelligence to the Service of Trading, Bartering, and Swapping

by Ariana Stolarz

The Cyberspace promotes the “rapid integration of intelligences”
(Pierre Levy, Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, p. 146).

The C-Factor. In recent years, the concepts of community, cooperation, collaboration, crowdsourcing, the commons, and collective intelligence have circulated and considerably increased their appeal with academics, marketers, and the informed public. A great deal of literature seeks to explain the reasons why people collaborate, while emphasizing the role of digital technologies as catalyst for the various examples to succeed. Currently, new and creative ways of self-motivated collective action have proliferated beyond the exchange of knowledge and information. I am particularly interested in the raise of what has been called collaborative consumption—understood as new practices of “bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities”—, and in getting a deeper understanding of the reasons why this concept is now trending (Botsman and Rogers, What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, p. xv).

The throwaway mode of living—characterized by the raise of hyper-consumerism and the production and consumption of disposable items since the early fifties—is now witnessing successful counterexamples of repetitive consumption practices over ownership. At the heart of these practices is the calculation of how we can take an object’s “idling capacity and redistribute elsewhere” (Botsman and Rogers 83). Some examples, just to illustrate a few, include the swapping sites SwapTree, Squidoo, U-Exchange, and ThreadUp, where users swipe books, movies, games, and kids’ clothes. FreeCycle and ReUseIt are sites where people give unwanted items away. The car sharing and per hour car rental, facilitated through platforms such as RelayRide, GetAround, Whipcar, Zipcar, ZimRide, NuRide, and GoLoco, is predicted to become a $12.5 billion industry (Botsman and Rogers xiv-xviii, 84-85). In all these examples, the direct link between producers and consumers is restored leaving aside the middleman.

Numerous authors study the proliferation of a variety of technologies of cooperation, its uses and individual motivations. While most of this literature places a central role in the medium – one architected to foster collaboration – I will argue that the success of current collaborative consumption practices lays at the intersection of a) new technologies of cooperation (computer-networked platforms), b) social modes of organization (in particular, network theories), and c) cultural transformations (more specifically, i) a reinvigorated meaning of trust that emerged from the convergence of new technologies and social networking functions; and ii) a need to be more open to new ways of accessing what one needs and how to go about getting it,  heightened by an increased consciousness in environmental issues and the effects of the global economic crisis) (see Regis Debray’s  mediological approach, Media Manifestos: On the Technological Transmission of Cultural Forms).

Of course, digital technologies are key vehicles for these transmissions to thrive. The Internet offers platforms, such as Swap.com, that make technically possible what was previously theoretically unimaginable: new reliable forms of collaboration among otherwise unconnected individuals.