We are living in a world of disruptive technologies. Against-the-grain ideas held together by a skeletal system of bits of code married to sexy creative. Often, these result in website communities or mobile based apps which revolutionize the way we live our lives. They put us in connection with people, and solve our problems at the fraction of the cost of the traditional “I own the information” routes. In fact, this world of Silicon startups has seriously got old and not-so-old school industry players shitting up the walls like Bad Grandpa. The new free-to-use apps are working for us – like, really fucking well. We’re quickly moving to a place where those gatekeepers who charge for you to access their community will be kicked out of the economy altogether.
Take Tinder for example. Don’t ack like you dun know about the Tinder flex. The addictive cess-pool of judgement where sexually deprived 20-somethings perve-swipe away to their heart’s content, in hope of anything from a quick lay to babies. Fingers crossed those who want the former don’t end up with the latter… Pulling in friend lists and interests from Facebook, you can very quickly assess whether that babe with the Myspace angles would rather be watching TOWIE than reading Cormac McCarthy. Or you can identify by your friends in common whether that guy will have a decent, cultural outlook on life, or just be a complete Jack Wills-jock-wasteman (clue girls: swipe left).
SpareRoom is another noteworthy mention. A web-community where those looking to find places to live, or quickly fill an empty room can come together and exchange in this brutal brick ‘n mortar economy of desperation. Creatively cool potential housemates living in dream East London locations surely wouldn’t overlook you, would they? I mean, cos you’re that fucking cool. Flipmode to those with the spare room and you’ll see they’re drowning in 2000 applications from people who are even better at life than you. You don’t stand a chance. But wait! They’ve asked you to come visit. Spend a fiver on some booze and off you go, only to experience an interview process far more pressured and harsh than that of Goldman Sachs. Maybz Kilburn won’t be so bad?
Cultural critiques aside, both these platforms work. I (eventually) found my place on SpareRoom, and although I’ve been on a number of (somewhat shit) dates from Tinder, I know people who are in relationships off the back of it, and I even heard of a couple getting married. When services like these two start solving problems for free, those who charge for a similar thing will look less and less attractive. Standard economic theory. But what no one has anticipated is how these technologies, which have a clearly defined purpose, can be juxtaposed and used in, well, whatever way you like. The internet, ladies and gentlemen…