Remarkable breakout Pinterest and a number of popular applications following suit to implement interfaces to enable sharing lately, gets me thinking could we be in a sharing bubble. In the last 2 years most of the web and mobile apps that have seen wild growth were built around the sharing as their key feature Instagram, Path, Turntable, Soundcloud are the most popular ones that come to mind.
We have been sharing stuff and sometimes junk on the internet since time before Facebook we knew how to get attachments to our emails, we used UseNet to share ideas and allegiance, blogs gave sharing ideas a democratic structure, even with ability to comment we shared our feelings about ideas, we got on Flickr, we feasted on YouTube. We started with sharing ideas, then pictures, voice, videos and so on.
Observing the timelines of these sharing movements we can correlate them with other technical timelines. Text was easy, cost of hosting plummeted and we got on blogging, as digital cameras started appearing everywhere and storage cost became next to nothing we started sharing pictures, same-triggered video and audio sharing too.
Sharing could be the greatest ritual of the Internet culture where our identity is a direct function of what we are sharing, much like ancient tribal rituals. Banking on our innate love for sharing I see new web and mobile applications are coming up everyday.
This gives me a feeling that we are in a sharing bubble. Because new sharing applications come across these days are not noveau anymore most at their best are mere filters on common sharing like for pictures there’s one in which you can share pictures only with your family, another only with you girlfriend, a different one that lets you share pictures with your friends and then there’s the one that enables sharing only with strangers.
There is just no more time and attention left to give to these new gap-filling applications. But does that mean sharing is peaking and is headed for a downfall? No absolutely not. We will share and in fact as we become members of a more connected world we will share more. But more will be things that we are not able to share now, pertaining to reasons like their cost of production, ease of sharing, etc. And a lot of our future lifestyles will depend on what we share starting from well being to thrill.
So, teams who are working to make applications around sharing should take a moment to think about parallel disruptions that have the ability to do what digital cameras did to photography and develop platforms to share the output.
Certain wild ideas come to the mind, I always get a thrill about speeding a little and would love it if there was a autoshare to a private group if my car automatically shares when I break the 100kmph mark, it would also be interesting if my electricity meter can share the amount of electricity I am consuming and my friends can gimme a feedback on how I could improve on that, how about my smartphone automatically shares my heart rate and blood pressure to a group of doctors when its above some threshold and many more whacky ideas.
I can say there is little bit of a sharing bubble now and we hardly see any new new thing, but the buildout this bubble will give will make a lot of the out of the ordinary sharing applications possible. Lets face it in an ever connected world sharing is no longer an issue it’s the norm.