Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Collaborative Consumption

Just read a P2P foundation article on 'Collaborative Consumption' and a book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. It discusses how we are de-materialising the creation of our identities by using social media websites. They do of course concede that we do still use material things to communicate things about ourselves, comfort ourselves, or simply to make ourselves smile. Wedding rings, shoes, family heirlooms, etc, etc.

The process of de-materialisation must be a good thing for sustainability, but how will markets react to it in an economy based on material consumption? Will they encourage and cash in on the trend, or ignore and steamroller it by upping its sale of status symbols and convenience?

Here is a quote from the book that P2P posted:

Better Than Ownership

From pp. 97-98, chapter five:

The relationship between physical products, individual ownership, and self-identity is undergoing a profound evolution. We don’t want the CD, we want the music it plays; we don’t want the disc, we want the storage it holds; we don’t want the answering machine, we want the messages it saves; we don’t want the DVD, we want the movie it carries. In other words, we don’t want the stuff but the needs or experiences it fulfills. As our possessions “dematerialize” into the intangible, our preconceptions of ownership are changing, creating a dotted line between “what’s mine,” “what’s yours,” and “what’s ours.” This shift is fueling a world where usage trumps possessions, and as Kevin Kelly, a passionate conservationist and founder of Wired magazine, puts it, where “access is better than ownership.”

There are new channels emerging—channels that don’t require you to own anything other than a computer or even just an iPhone—to share what we are doing (Twitter), what we are reading (Shelfari), what we are interested in (Digg), the groups we belong to (LinkedIn), and of course who our friends are (Facebook). As our online “brands” define “who we are” and “what we like,” actual ownership becomes less important than demonstrating use or use by association. We can now show status, group affiliation, and belonging without necessarily having to buy physical objects. Self-expression through objects will, of course, not become obsolete. We will, for instance, always treasure possessions that have high sentimental value, such as our wedding rings, relics from travels, or family heirlooms. But our relationship to satisfying what we want and signaling who we are is far more immaterial than that of any previous generation.”

Read more extracts on P2P

1 comment:

sussan said...

the given lines is very good. our possessions “dematerialize” into the intangible, our preconceptions of ownership are changing, creating a dotted line between “what’s mine,” “what’s yours,” and “what’s ours.” This shift is fueling a world where usage trumps possessions, and as Kevin Kelly, a passionate conservationist and founder of Wired magazine, puts it, where “access is better than ownership.”
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sussan frank
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