Celebrating Global Sharing Day 2012, Yiannis Pelekanos considers the implications of greater sharing for the independent.
One of my earliest memories as a child, was my mother hammering home the concept of fair play, and sharing with the other kids. What happened to that? No, really, what happened to the idea that we could share? Make an idea or a skill mutually beneficial to a number of people, and receive a little something in return. What happened to sharing – without being paid directly — whilst not feeling ripped off or otherwise duped? I have my theories. Since the original file sharing days of the early 2000’s sharing (at least on a governmental level) has been seen as something which is more than a bit little dirty. I’m not here to wax-lyrical about the benefits of alternative distribution for artists or technologists (that’s for another time), but I do think it’s time to make sharing viable again.
It is time to make sharing a real, and powerful way to get things done, get ideas spread, and most importantly: to create and develop when times are tough. One way of sharing, is by making time a currency: this idea has been floating around for a while. The simple exchange of skills and time to build, or help in new ways: that’s Time Banking, and I’m really excited about it. Maybe I’m just excited because the idea feels so natural. Giving something and getting something in return is effectively the backbone of every economy in world, so why do we need a piece of paper to get in the way, especially as the disparity between cost and personal wealth becomes ever bigger?
The real reason why sharing resonates so well, is that it just ‘feels right’. Sharing is psychologically proven to make you happy, take Facebook, or Twitter, or any other social network: sharing makes you happy, and it’s big business. Whether photos of your cat, or your latest drunken post, we all share daily, so why isn’t this used in the world of business? This trade, for the first time in decades, prompts unabridged equality: principles that just can’t be captured through currency. In essence the ideas that:
- Everyone has worthwhile skills: so work with others to get things done
- Not everything can be valued with currency: so your time is just as precious
- Helping leads to work, and work leads to payment: so meet as many people as possible, and never be afraid to help out
- Being social, and working together, can achieve more than working remotely: so come to co-working event, and work amongst others (not necessarily on the same project).
- Everyone deserves respect, and everyone can learn: more than anything, everyone and ever project deserves kindness.
There are places where you can share your skills: they’re called Time Banks, each varying in accountability, honesty and validity. So what if we could share – without imposed constrictions, or an excessive membership fee – just for one day, to prove that people can play fairly again? Well, that day is Global Sharing Day, and it’s on November 14. Global Sharing Day isn’t some cheap attempt to waste our time : it’s supported by businesses that are invested in finding new ways to work together, Sharing can be brilliantly simple, from as small as a clothes shop, all the way to though to sharing which can create relationships for years to come. Sharing could be a supplement to work, or a way to foster friendships through a process of give and take: who knows, maybe the days of walking around with a wallet are at an end, the first step to building a sharing society.