On Collaborative Consumption // 3 March 2011
I had a great chat with Rachel Botsman yesterday, whom I interviewed for a feature or two I am putting together on collaborative consumption. If you’ve never heard of CC, mark my words, you won’t stop noticing it from now on.
There is no bigger living, breathing proponent of CC and its prodigious potential to change the way we view buying, selling, money – the whole world that we’re part of – around. Author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, Rachel lives in Sydney and is gradually, slowly-slowly nudging Australia towards collaborative thinking that is more inline with the world’s slickest collconsumers, the Japanese, Germans and Swedish.
It’s no secret that we’re a bit behind in the fashion stakes in good ol’ Australia. We’re geographically and temporally a tad behind on many fronts, in fact – from books and movies to the GFC, things just take that bit longer to reach the antipodes. Not that it matters – why would it when we’re all calibrated on the same lifestyle levels together? It only gets a smidgen bothersome when international travel and media comes into the equation.
But – lo and behold! – Australia is not as backwards as the news-in-brief columns in UK papers suggest with those ‘drunken woman attempts to ride croc’ and ‘drunken man attempts to sell wife for 24 beers’ stories (lifted, of course, direct from the inimitable Northern Territory News). All good fun on the tube home, but not representative of the situation here Down Under, mate.
It turns out that Australia has one of the world’s highest concentrations of social media in the world. According to a 2010 study, on a per capita basis, Australia is a voracious uptaker of Facebook, blogging and myspace and last year’s stats show that of a population of 21 million, 14 million are internet users. Nearly 66% of our internet population uses Facebook. And where audiences go, advertising dollars follow.
A whacking internet use is a sure-fire sign of a market suited to collaborating via the medium of the web, you’d have thought. But the land of plenty seems slow on the uptake – think solar panel rental, book swap trading an crowdfunding models and you begin to touch of the tip of the iceberg in terms of obvious niches in which Australian collcons would sit pretty. Why? Well solar panels are plain common-sense in this climate, books are hellishly expensive because of bizarre copywright laws and crowdfunding would suit the hugely strong, solvent economy.
Australia is ripe to join the CC bandwagon – it’s a revolution, according to Rachel, and it’s here to stay.