Everything, it seems, is becoming collaborative. From Airbnb to RentCycle to Zipcar, we are swapping our cars, our homes, even our clothes with each other. According to Lauren Anderson from Collaborative Consumption, this change might be as profound as the industrial revolution. It will result, she told me when we met at Fast Company’s Innovative Uncensored event, in a world driven by “reputational capital” in which the “We” of the our collaborative age will replace the “Me” of the industrial age.
While Anderson might be right, I’m not sure it’s such a great thing for people like myself who aren’t naturally participatory. Indeed, I find the whole idea of an always-on reputational economy a little creepy – especially since this may not be a world that is able to either forgot or forgive. But Anderson isn’t bothered by oddities like myself, insisting that “everybody benefits” in this networked, sharing economy.
So is Anderson right – is this shift from the Me to the We as significant as the industrial revolution? And should we welcome this revolution with, so to speak, open arms?