“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”
At its roots, technology was meant to build bridges between people. Although it has undoubtedly broken down barriers of communication, it has also built them. We can effortlessly Skype with someone across the world or send a text within seconds. These tools truly impact our daily lives, but our addiction to them has produced a disconnect in human-to-human interaction. If you’ve ever been to lunch with a friend without speaking for more than five minutes, you know it’s because we’re busy posting #foodie pictures on Instagram and checking-in on Facebook.
Recently, tech has transformed and evolved into much more. The use of technology in the Sharing Economy truly embodies what tech was meant for—to bring people together. The Sharing Economy is essentially a system of shared goods and services. Before advancements in technology, wide-scale participation in the sharing model seemed crazy. However, technology removes social distrust and allows peer-to-peer platforms to succeed in a variety of ways.
User Authentication: Say goodbye to question & worry. Through channels such as email & Facebook, sharing companies can ensure users are linked to personal accounts and we know who they are. As a result, people are less likely to be bad users because of the social stigma that’s associated if they misbehave in an online community. Sharing companies like Taskrabbit and Lyft also have their own processes and take necessary safety precautions, such as background or driving record checks.
User Reviews: When Amazon first introduced user reviews, everyone thought they were nuts. People felt that it was going to start a retail disaster. Fast forward ten years later, and it’s likely that you rarely purchase anything without researching online feedback. This same concept applies to sharing companies. Easy access to transparent user reviews on sites such as Taskrabbit and Airbnb give us an accurate assessment of exactly what to expect. We don’t have to worry that the people we’re dealing with are crazy or unaccomodating. The social pressure to be a good user is instilled in the modern individual; their success heavily depends on positive & solid reviews.
Automated Payments: Almost all sharing services such as Uber use automated payments. For users, that means you can add payment information once and forget about it—it never has to be a problem again. When I first joined Uber, I put my payment information into the app, and I honestly have never had to worry about or deal with it after. Automated payments provide a seamless experience and allow people to effortlessly use their securely stored payment information. There’s no hassle—automated payments are safe and easy!
Tech has transformed communities by building an invaluable level of trust and convenience in a large network, which would have otherwise been excessively cumbersome and scary. The implementation of these techniques in platforms such as Roost (a peer-to-peer platform for storage and parking) allow you to use sharing services with peace of mind. Instead of technology driving us apart, it’s the reason we’re coming together to build community. With this shift, technology’s use in the Sharing Economy truly embodies what tech was meant to be used for.