In a digital era of remix and sharing, the line between public and private is increasingly blurry. Artists get rich off mashups of other people’s work; individuals upload photos and share news on websites they don’t control. A lot of the things you care about are in the hands of other people, suggesting that access is more important than ownership. This isn’t new – it’s why your parents rented videos from the video shop for ages. But now it’s not just videos we’re borrowing; business built on sharing and access – from Spotify to city-wide bike shares – are booming.
We rent/share everything: movies (Netflix), games (GameFly), dresses (Rent the Runway), cars (Zipcar, Carshare), rides, bikes, electricity, artwork, textbooks, space for working (OpenDesks), skills, gardens, parking spots, CSAs (Collaborative Consumption).
Google owns your life: “If you ever used Google while logged in to your account to search for a person, a symptom, a medical side effect, a political idea; if you ever gossiped using one of Google’s services, all of this is on Google’s servers… You can never undo it or unclick it. It stays there forever” (CNN).
Ideas are for everyone: “Dr. Nielsen and other advocates for ‘open science’ say science can accomplish much more, much faster, in an environment of friction-free collaboration over the Internet. And despite a host of obstacles, including the skepticism of many established scientists, their ideas are gaining traction” (New York Times).
The days of saving pennies for a new car may be over, but now you have to share everything with everyone else.