I think it could work.
What about an exclusive Ebay sort of thing.
I thought about this last night:
My husband and I are fierce do-it-yourselfers.. but we don't have time to take up another expensive hobby. The ones we do have are amazing and mainly consumption related.
While homemade cheese, sausage, beer and smoked meats is well and good, there are still other, less tangible needs for staying abreast of modern society.
Some of us can grow our own veggies (and more)
Some of us are better at software design.
These are all necessary talents, right? But as I turn more towards 'shopping local' and 'shopping smaller' I'm getting really sick of giving places like IKEA my hard earned money!
What about a little piece of the interwebs carved out for a trade and barter system?
What about transparently listing the cost of materials, time and expected gratuity for services and products we make for ourselves every day and have a little extra to go somewhere that needs it?
What about a sort of...classifieds for services and products made by our little group?
You'd know EXACTLY where every penny goes. You'd know EXACTLY where every good comes from.
I'm not talking about a total break from society. I'm not going off the grid. But I want to support MY community, not Wal-Mart.
We have standardized mail service...and I bet if we got enough of us, we could even get a game of hot-potato or pony express. Providing for our own needs, from the bottom to the top. I've been using Dwolla with some success for a while, too.
Gimme your thoughts..
If I work for an online publication company and I want to try my hand at merchandise, I could have a few tee-shirts made at Cafe Press or whatever. I might -maybe- get lucky if I buy a booth at some sort of convention and have a cool enough design. I might make a profit but that's rare. This in turn would be free advertising for someone to check out my web-serial. Essentially people are paying me to advertise for me! Awesome!
But let's say I'm more interested in the advertising than the money-return on people purchasing the shirts. Let's say I considered the tee-shirt investment 100% advertising...with no consideration for returns.
That's why businesses give out free tee shirts all the time, you know. They are walking billboards.
So.. on the reverse side, what if I'm a cute, friendly, outspoken girl with a nice surface for curves. (Disclaimer. This is only an example! I do NOT have a closet full of merchandise for my online Steam Punk serial..but yeah. I do have an online Steam Punk serial..and I have considered merchandise. Just haven't taken that step.) I am also a girl that hates to spend time and money on clothes but still wants to look good.
Look. I can't afford a stylist but I look nice in a lot of things. Probably things you want someone to look good in. I also LIKE that sort of thing, so I'll be happy to do it. Seriously. I ADORE ultra edgy, up and coming nerd stuff of pretty much any design! It is just what I love to wear!
So contact me or I'll contact you. Let's set up our first barter by service exchange.
I'll promise to wear your piece of clothing for X amount of time..Or use a photo of me wearing your merch as my profile picture for X amount of days on the social network of your choice..or to a specific event..or whatever. The options are really variable and that's the fun of it. I become your paid advertising. In return, I do less clothes shopping. Fair deal?
This example does actually meet the criteria of Human Spam Bot.. but so what? It's product placement and that's why megacorps are so filthy rich. That's what they do. It is basic marketing.
But more than that, it's also the new 'word of mouth.'
That's just how society has evolved. It's life. A friend of mine makes calendars. His photography is really, really good. He isn't some professional. He works at a bank. But he takes pictures of the things I'm interested in, namely Moto GP and F1. (He also does scenery and roses that his wife grows but those aren't the things I personally purchase.)
Moto GP and F1 are immensely popular in the U.K.
So I had my friend at Irish Pub Cast pimp the guy for me and his traffic SPIKED.
Why? Because Don France is the sweetest man. He also gave me some signed proofs that now hang proudly on my wall next to the hand woven scarf I got from the Stretched Neck People in northern Thailand above the Scottish hand carved tap handles (made by Colin's dad) that we use for our beer bar.
I'm obsessed with the history of things. I want to know that my impact is low to the environment and my purchase powers are going somewhere positive.
I have over eight hundred 'followers' in G+.
I don't honestly know what that means but I saw some professional blogger bragging about reaching 800 the other day, so I suppose it's a good thing.
I once helped an African village acquire a much needed user manual for a hyperbaric chamber just because I knew someone that knew someone that knew someone that was able to get in touch. Not just added as a 'friend' but people I shared very real life experiences with and was able to stay in touch with via technology in away that's only recently possible.
Technology changes everything.
From the way we eat to the clothes we wear.
I wonder just how much of our consumer needs could be acquired through peer-to-peer exchange...
Every penny that doesn't go to the faceless corporation or factory farming or whatever your personal boogieman is... is a penny that strengthens instead of weakens the economy. It's money that goes directly to a cause you care about.
It's also pretty damn hipster, I'll admit.
Quick! Someone tell OWS!