I seem to go through annual cycles of Internet obsessions.
In 2008, it was social communication platforms, like Twitter. In 2009, it was services that make microblogging easier, like Hootsuite and Ping.fm. In 2010, it was location-based mobile apps, like Foursquare and Gowalla. And this year, it’s social marketplaces.
The concept of “collaborative consumption,” also know as the “sharing economy,” completely enthralls me. The fact that I don’t need to book a hotel, buy a car or invest in a drill is amazing — instead, I can just borrow these things from regular people from my neighborhood or from around the globe for a small fee. Now, that’s something worth getting excited about.
So, what types of things can you collaboratively consume? The list goes on and on, but here’s a snapshot of some of the most interesting things you can find on social marketplaces:
- Apartments: Airbnb, iStopOver, HouseTrip, Love Home Swap
- Skills: Skillshare
- Parking Spots: ParkingSpots.com, Park Circa, SpotHero, ParkingPanda, ParkWhiz
- Vehicles: GetAround, RelayRides, HiGear, WhipCar, JustShareIt
- Bikes: Spinlister
- Goods: SnapGoods, NeighborGoods
- Chefs: Kitchit
- Food: Tableslice
- Geeks: Geekatoo
- Sitters: Sittercity
- Minions: TaskRabbit, Zaarly, AgentAnything, AirRun, Fiverr, HeyNeighbor
- Clothing: My Dress Affair
Even more exciting is the potential for meeting awesome people via social marketplaces. You don’t get that experience with traditional marketplaces — Zipcar, I love you, but it’s just the truth.
I’ve hosted a number of guests on Airbnb (and have stayed in quite a few places as well); I teach a class on “PR for Startups” on Skillshare, and I’ve learned how to knit (see video above) and live rent-free in NYC; and I catsit for the fun of it via Sittercity.
Along the way, I’ve met some amazing people (Stefania in Catania, I’m talking to you!) and cats (Darcy, Yuki, Ernie and Sabi, you know you’re all the cat’s meow). What’s not to love?
The social economy is where it’s at for me this year, and I have a feeling it’s going to spill over into 2012. So, what was your tech obsession this year? Let me know in the comments below!