Social opportunities in online sharing

In recent years there have been a lot of new social online platforms that enable people to share talents and possessions: thuisgehaald.nl, snappcar.nl, peerby.com, zorgvoorelkaar.com, wehelpen.nl, buuv.nl. These platforms are organised locally. They operate at city, district or neighbourhood level. They create proximity and transparency in supply and demand in a society where people know each other less and less but are also increasingly dependent on each other.

 

New economic way of thinking

The platforms are part of the movement around the sub-economy and the neighbourhood economy, where the emphasis on value flows is central. How do you contribute to the wide society? How do you increase connectivity between people and organise a local Return-on-Investment? How do you reduce the ecological impact of consumption? How do you create value together, for each other and for the long term?

 

Self-organisation 

People have become more empowered, they come up with their own solutions. Care corporations are being established in which residents organise the care in their neighbourhood together. And while many neighbourhood centres are being closed by municipalities, other neighbourhood centres are being opened elsewhere run by neighbourhood residents. Market parties and professionals are invited by residents to join in rather than the other way round.

 

Online sharing as a solution for independence?

We saw many municipalities, care organisations and welfare partners looking for ways to shape the participation society. At the same time they apparently cannot find the way to the online sharing platforms. This surprised us and we decided to conduct research into the impact these platforms have:

  • how do they contribute to people’s independence?
  • How to they make the neighbourhoods more resilient?
  • How do people profit when they lend something to a neighbourhood resident?
  • Or when they take away a meal at a neighbour?

 

In this way we can provide concrete answers to concrete questions from municipalities, and make an active contribution to building better cities with an involved society.

 

Opportunities for informal care

The findings show that sharing online, both for those who share something and those who actively make something available to be shared yields many benefits.

  • requester: gets the help or meal and a chat
  • requester: dares to ask more and different things
  • supplier: develops, has new skills
  • supplier: step closer to finding work
  • all: think more positively about neighbours

 

These are all things that are of crucial importance to the success of the participation society.
The research was conducted with a contribution from the DOEN foundation and VSBfonds.