According to Rachel Botsman, author of Collaborative Consumption, we are waking up from an “enormous hangover of excess and waste and starting to reinvent the meaning of more. In so many parts of our lives, we are crossing the chasm from passive consumers to active participants once again.” She argues that it is a powerful cultural and economic force that is re-inventing not just what we consume but how we consume.
Social networks and real-time technologies are allowing us to trade, barter and swap like the good old days. The growth in peer-to-peer commerce and social networks shows that there is renewed belief in the importance of community and that our ability to share has increased our willingness to share. The world is now a global village and technology is ironically allowing us to build trustful relationships with complete strangers and subsequently the way we trade is being reinvented and reinvigorated into much more dynamic and accessible forms.
This is an example of a much larger trend of digital socialism, not socialism in the classic sense but, according to Kevin Kelly, a ‘new brand of socialism that currently operates in the realm of culture and economics, rather than government.’ This new socialism is borderless as there are no boundary limitations to the internet and it’s creating a greater sense of individual autonomy. These meritocracies are only concerned with peer-to-peer production which results in a wealth of free goods and services or payed for goods and services without the middleman. Products are becomig ubiquitous and services are on tap.
If the future of consumption is about being social, about sharing and being collaborative what will that mean for marketing? What will advertisings role be within these cloud based services? This is a new big trend that we will follow and offer opinions on as and when we find the answers. Only time will tell what impact crowds will truly have on how we consume and what role we will play.