a) Search words
2. Search queries
- Site:reddit.com shareconomy
- Site:reddit.com collaborative consumption
- Site:reddit.com uber
- Site:reddit.com ridesharing
- Site:reddit.com sharing economy
- Site:reddit.com shareconomy “disruption”
- Site:reddit.com uber “disruption”
- Site:reddit.com Airbnb “disruption”
- Selected communities
Startups is a particularly interesting community as it shows the opinion of young entrepreneurs who are on the forefront of this trend and have experience with this type of economy. Opinions gathered there benefit the threats and opportunities part of our research. Furthermore while it is a relatively small community, users tend to engage in discussions quite actively.
Socialism is another relevant community for our research as it represents people with the opposite opinion, who believe that government deregulation is not the best. They believe that economy cannot adjust itself. The community is relatively small with around 60 000 readers, but a large portion of it is active and interacts in discussions. Within the community there are all sorts of people with varying degrees of socialistic views and some who present interest counter arguments as well. Most of the popular discussions in the community have more than 100 comments in their discussion threads making the community data-rich.
Changemyview is a gold mine for discussion. It has more than 200 000 active readers who often interact in discussions on different topics. The community is quite heterogeneous as even its description states that it is “for people who have an opinion on something but accept that they may be wrong or want help changing their view.” Most of the top threads have more than 200 comments which makes this community data-rich.
Shareconomy is the subreddit which is most directly related to the topic of our research. Sadly the community is quite small, but even the few readers present are relatively active in the discussion of certain articles posted on the subreddit.
ELI5 (Explain Like I am 5) is a huge community with more than 7 million readers most of who engage regularly in various discussion. As any big community there are people from many walks of life and most threads reach more than 400 comments.
Etherum is a very specialised community surrounding a certain decentralised platform based on the shareconomy principle. With more than 10 000 readers, some of the discussions on the community get quite interactive and many people join active discussions started from people outside of the community requesting more information on certain shareconomy principles.
For data collection, we used a page grabber (Evernote) to grab whole discussions from communities in reddit. After that, we exported all the discussions to Adobe Acrobat where we used the comment function to categorise opinions of participants.
In order to analyse the data we came up with 11 categories overall. Certain categories apply for one or more of the sub-communities (sub-reddits) and we have created a small explanation capturing the essence of the category based on the comments we collected.
|Personal Opinion||shows opinion based on personal experience and not research or data|
|Moral Concern||is it good to modernise industries at the cost of unskilled labour|
|Future Concern||what might happen if such industries become the norm|
|Inequality Concern||shareconomy might benefit the better off while hurting the poorer and less qualified|
|Supply driven by demand||the notion that these industries are disrupted due to demand from consumers for a better service|
|Innovation due to disruption||The disruption in the industry caused innovation for the existing entities|
|Moral Concern Counter||progress is made by modernising industries and it’s for the overall benefit of society|
|Future Optimism||the notion that society is going forward overall even though some changes seem to make certain people worse off|
|More than meets the eye||current concerns that are overshadowed by future possibilities far greater than what is currently implemented|
|Mediation||nothing is black and white|
|Market economy adjusts optimally||when the market dictates the course of industries the best solution will always prevail|
|Personal Opinion||This is just a thought I’ve been having recently….||shows opinion based on personal experience and not research or data|
|Moral Concern||Is it right for a single person to suddenly make 10,000 unemployable?||is it good to modernise industries at the cost of unskilled labour|
|Future Concern||…, we are building a system to annihilate local economies through globalized software….||what might happen if such industries become the norm|
|Inequality Concern||…good-looking people of the dominant social class will often make a lot more money than the opposite…||shareconomy might benefit the better off while hurting the poorer and less qualified|
|Supply driven by demand||They are simply providing a better service.||the notion that these industries are disrupted due to demand from consumers for a better service|
|Innovation due to disruption||I think the pressure Uber puts on cab companies improves the service for users.||The disruption in the industry caused innovation for the existing entities|
|Moral Concern Counter||This moral quandary has come up time and time again since the start of the Industrial revolution. If you wish we were still indentured serfs plowing our lease lord’s land or, if lucky, a member of some craft guild then the answer is yes.||progress is made by modernising industries and it’s for the overall benefit of society|
|Future Optimism||The world is getting better every year, do not give into pessimism and do not stop driving humanity forward.||the notion that society is going forward overall even though some changes seem to make certain people worse off|
|More than meets the eye||Since then, Uber’s been getting even more … disruptive. They have been reducing costs in an effort to make taking an Uber more ubiquitous, to the point where for some people it might even be able to cost effectively replace your car. They are even experimenting with delivering food on demand (which Is a pretty amazing service).||current concerns that are overshadowed by future possibilities far greater than what is currently implemented|
|Mediation||There is really no yes/no question on disruption. Usually It benefits consumers, but that doesn’t mean that you just disrupt for disruption’s sake.||nothing is black and white|
|Personal Opinion||Well, put simply I don’t have any wishful thinking that prices will do down. Uber is cheaper than any cab right now. And faster. And easier. It’s a better option right now.||shows opinion based on personal experience and not research or data|
|Moral Concern||….but they am’t going to magically lift or sink the
boats of an industry who basically treats….
|is it good to modernise industries at the cost of unskilled labour|
|Future Concern||The way I see it, cab drivers already make very little money. And that’s with the number of cabs on the road capped by government regulations||what might happen if such industries become the norm|
|Inequality Concern||The problem with this is that Uber artificially deflates fares by subsidizing them with start-up venture capital, meaning that the low rates they’re offering aren’t actually sustainable and only exist to price their competition out of the market.||shareconomy might benefit the better off while hurting the poorer and less qualified|
|Supply driven by demand||That only prevents better services from being introduced to the market and customers are shafted with poor services. There is nothing stopping these cab drivers from becoming Uber or Lyft drivers, is there?||the notion that these industries are disrupted due to demand from consumers for a better service|
|Innovation due to disruption||Industry to be less exclusive, more technologically savvy, and ultimately cheaper. I think In the end both the driver and customer will benefit.||The disruption in the industry caused innovation for the existing entities|
|Moral Concern Counter||What benefit do these inspections have? Old cars aren’t inherently unsafe, and all rideshare companies….||progress is made by modernising industries and it’s for the overall benefit of society|
|Future Optimism||The economy could be one where the increased competition means all drivers are forced to raise prices to deal with the increased supply and fewer customers they can reach.||the notion that society is going forward overall even though some changes seem to make certain people worse off|
|More than meets the eye||Your article just talks about NYC and San Francisco (big cities where taxis will do just fine and
where the competition is far from being priced out of the market).
|current concerns that are overshadowed by future possibilities far greater than what is currently implemented|
|Mediation||I don’t think that’s their aim at all, however. Their model is to opportunistically harness surplus driving capacity, not to build costly permanent infrastructure.||nothing is black and white|
|Market economy adjusts optimally||…and wait times to get a cab. If this truly becomes the case, the market will adjust Itself to re-introduce a fleet of full-time drivers to
compensate for lack of supply for pent up demand. It’s a non-problem.
|when the market dictates the course of industries the best solution will always prevail|
|Future Optimism||It’s an awesome service, super easy to use. I use it for women that are coming over/locking up when they leave!|
|Personal Opinion||Example: Amazon books. I recently tried to sell few extra books I have to declutter….||shows opinion based on personal experience and not research or data|
|Future Concern||Sharing economy drives earnings to the ground. When desperate folks are pinned against each other in fierce competition they will work for next to nothing.||what might happen if such industries become the norm|
|Inequality Concern||Some people are not rich and may try to get some money back by selling stuff they own. It should not be very difficult to understand in a socialist sub.||shareconomy might benefit the better off while hurting the poorer and less qualified|
|Moral Concern Counter||Sustainability? Try a different library. My Supermarket has a bookshelf where you can buy a used book for one dollar and a box beside it where you can drop yours off.||progress is made by modernising industries and it’s for the overall benefit of society|
|Future Optimism||The sharing economy increases the effective stock of usable capital by reducing the time that cars, apartments, etc. are unoccupied.|
|Market economy adjusts optimally||Some people would throw the book away or donate It to a school or library rather than complaining…||when the market dictates the course of industries the best solution will always prevail|
|Categories||Prevalent Online Community (as a percentage of total comments)||Number of entries|
|Personal Opinion||r/changemyview||22 17%|
|Moral Concern||r/socialism||9 7%|
|Future Concern||r/socialism||25 19%|
|Inequality Concern||r/socialism||8 6%|
|Supply driven by demand||r/changemyview||11 8%|
|Innovation due to disruption||r/startups||4 3%|
|Moral Concern Counter||r/changemyview||4 3%|
|Future Optimism||r/shareconomy||16 12%|
|More than meets the eye||r/changemyview||8 6%|
|Market economy adjusts optimally||r/changemyview||19 14%|
|Research question/Category||How do the shareconomy-based businesses disrupt existing economies?||What are the motives that drive customers to use shareconomy-based businesses?||What are the opportunities and threats (consequences) of shareconomy?|
|Supply driven by demand||23%||72%||5%|
|Innovation due to disruption||82%||15%||3%|
|Moral Concern Counter||32%||25%||43%|
|More than meets the eye||68%||20%||12%|
|Market economy adjusts optimally||63%||31%||6%|
The research included 6 separate communities 4 of which proved to give meaningful insight in the topic of shareconomy.
Around 17% of the participants in the discussions were expressing personal opinions based on experiences they had using shareconomy-based services or based on their beliefs and values. Personal opinions vary wildly from person to person but are all concentrated around an experience-based approach of gathering information rather than an empirical.
Most people expressed concern in relation to the change that these types of companies would induce in the future. 19% of people were fearful of what might the general outcome be if shareconomy based companies become the norm. Many fearing that they will harm the lower-skilled workforce and create misbalance in the economy.
Nevertheless, many believe that a more capitalist approach to the issue is logical. 14% of participants think that a market economy will ultimately adjust itself based on supply and demand. Most of the people supporting this theory argue that government regulations and corporate mentality lead to more unwanted results for the consumer, and that if the consumer is left to regulate through consumption, results will be much better.
Furthermore, many people share optimism about the future. While they are a smaller percentage (12%) than the pessimist, their main ¬¬points are focused more on historical evidence, arguing that every time a new type of technology has disrupted industries, everyone has emerged better off, rather than worse off. Their main statement is that most pessimists think about problems in the short term while neglecting long-term benefits.
8% of the participants in the community’s discussions believe that ultimately the reason for shareconomy businesses to exist is that there is demand for them. They believe that industries which have been disrupted by shareconomy based services are stagnated, which leads to poor customer experience and inefficient resource usage. Because of this there is demand created for new solutions and shareconomy, based businesses are just filling this gap.
However 7% of observed discussions were bringing up moral concerns about the way shareconomy, based businesses are run. Many argue that people converting from regular corporations to shareconomy-based businesses are lured in by promises of greater return, but are ultimately worse off and with less protection. This mainly refers to health insurances, insured pay and unions in the US and Canada. Many argue that by letting workers work on a freelance principle, many of the benefits from an ordinary job are lost and most of the responsibility is shifted towards the workers, thus alleviating the companies from any risk.
Furthermore, many people from the observed communities express concern regarding inequality created by the rise of shareconomy based businesses 6% of participants believe that instead of the optimisation of resources, this new trend just creates more revenue streams for already wealthy individuals, while limiting opportunities for low-skilled labour.
These concerns are challenged by around 9% of the observed communities mainly with factual evidence, which shows that shareconomy based businesses have a well set-up structure and are actually giving everyone more opportunities while providing a better solution in stagnant industries. Others focus on the fact that while shareconomy based businesses are displacing low-skill labour, they are just forcing it into industries that have more use of it, and while improving the economies they are in.
Another 3% of the community believe that shareconomy based businesses are actually beneficial to the industry and that there is space for everyone. They believe that this is done by creating expectation of innovation in stagnant businesses, which through market economy principles would ultimately decide which services stay in business and which are no longer competitive and thus needed.
If we are to analyse the communities and respectively their prevailing opinion on the topic of research we can see that r/socialism is the most pessimistic of the bunch with prevailing comments in the categories of “moral concern”, “future concern”, and “inequality concern”. This shows that people with more social and government centric views are inclined to be pessimistic when confronted with the concept of a self-regulatory type economy, where governments play a smaller role.
Within r/changemyview we can see a much more optimistic approach to the research at hand. While many participants use personal opinions to indicate their preferences on the topic, many believe that the new supply of disruptive shareconomy-based services is due to an increase in demand for innovation in stagnant industries. The community also provides further insight into the business models of these types of companies, which give a fuller picture to the discussion. Ultimately, the members of this community think the economy should be left alone and that it will adjusts optimally through people’s preferences.
The r/shareconomy users seem to be the most positive in their opinion of shareconomy-based businesses with prevailing opinions being optimistic towards the future.
Finally, the r/startups community seems to be the most down to earth, often not expressing extreme views and aiming for mediation. The prevailing opinion of the community seems to be that while some harm might come from this new form of business, in the end innovation will derive from the disruption of existing businesses.
An important note is that not all categories are discussed in each community. While both r/startups and r/changemyview have all 11 categories within their discussions, r/socialism has only 6 of the categories with the once that express concern prevailing over the others and r/shareconomy has only positive comments referring to a bright future of shareconomy-based businesses.
The correlation between the categories and the research questions is relatively even. Why almost categories touch on the topic of each question, it is important to note that there was no tie to be found between people with inequality concerns and the motives of customers to use shareconomy-based services. Furthermore, future optimist also did not present any information about the incentives to use those types of businesses.
Nevertheless, some strong correlations did appear throughout the research, most notably between people concerned about inequality and our main research question regarding the way shareconomy-based businesses disrupt existing economies. Another category that answers that question well is comprised of people who believe that disruption leads to innovation. Additionally many people expressed personal opinions in reference to possible threats and opportunities for shareconomy.
Another interesting insight gained through the research is that most people who understand the motives that drive customers to use shareconomy-based businesses believe in demand driven supply.