The Sharing Economy & Social Media
Some may ask ‘what does the sharing economy have to do with bloggers/blogging?’ If you do, then you’re probably underestimating the impact that the sharing economy and collaborative consumption in general will have (and does have) on what many bloggers opine on – their personal, social and work lives.
Panellists Reuben Sagar, Sally Broom, David Randall and Bernie J Mitchell set the scene for us by describing the technology, demand and supply, which has given rise to a sharing economy that is increasingly accessible, broad, personal, social, and economical.
Reuben from Hire Space noted that the sharing economy is fundamentally aimed at reducing barriers to entry, translating well economically for customers and venues who weren’t previously equipped to cater for this type of demand. Sally from TripBod explained that her business is based on ‘the economy of local knowledge’ where people travel and want to connect with local people, the environment and in general are eager to consume in a more moral fashion keeping sustainability and affordability in mind.
From a tech standpoint, David from AirBnB explained that it enables online connections which lead to offline experiences. Crucially, it enables us to monetise assets we couldn’t before (subject to the lifestyle that one wants to lead) bringing forth the often casual, ad-hoc arrangements people used to make staying with family, friends of friends or friends of family that were once the norm before hotel/motel chains became the default option. In his view, though financial incentive is a key driver, positive experiences are the key sustaining force. Bernie from the Sharing Economy Podcast emphasised the growing ‘co-working’ sector for those who are mobile and are willing to share space. He also highly recommended members read ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’, which he mentioned in his meetup preview.
Real discussion was then sparked by the audience and a few questions particularly stood out (answers are paraphrased!):
1. Will the sharing economy eventually be centralised in one place, akin to Facebook for social networking and Amazon for e-commerce?
David: there are some obvious synergies between diverse sharing economy companies (e.g. sharing a trip in a car to reach a holiday rental in a city where you have a local guide) – but it’s not certain that this will be centralised in the near future.
2. What’s the impact of the sharing economy on the ‘real economy’?
David: From an AirBnB perspective, those who use holiday rentals stay longer in a place because it’s cheaper. Meaning more disposable income to spend across the community they’re visiting coupled with the extra income which the hosts have received goes into the local economy.
Sally: Anecdotally, if you’ve product-ised assets (e.g. local knowledge) that weren’t done so before, then the real economy benefits.
3. What are the tax and trust implications of the sharing economy?
David: AirBnB has profiles supported by credit and ID verification which helps to build trust as a currency online. With respect to tax, we encourage host compliance as determined by any local law.
Sally: companies have an ethical responsibility to moderate and not wash their hands of any bad transactions that occur. Ultimately individuals are being empowered to transact themselves and it is up to the community to determine trust through reviews/ratings etc.
Apologies if we missed any other questions from the audience or answers from the panel! As you can see, it was a highly relevant and current topic with thoughtful contributions.
Look forward to seeing you at the next LBM: Multi-Author and Community Blogging!