Russell Davies shares some interesting ideas on his blog as an addition to his recent Lift talk. Davies dissects the act of sharing into three categories – sharing goods, sharing services, and sharing information. Sharing goods, Davies claims, is the most difficult form of sharing because giving away a physical item is immediately noticeable. Sharing services doesn’t consist of losing tangible objects, but it can be considered an inconvenience. Sharing information, like giving directions, isn’t an inconvenience and doesn’t constitute loss of goods or time. Thus, it is in our human nature to like to share information.
“Sharing physical goods is psychically harder than sharing information because goods are more valuable. And, therefore, presumably, the satisfactions of sharing them are greater. I bet there’s some sort of neurological/evolutionary trick in there, physical things will always feel more valuable to us because that’s what we’re used to, that’s what engages our senses.”
When the digital medium for music was introduced, the mode of sharing converted from physical sharing to information sharing. Napster was one of the first to exploit the convenience resulting from this shift in sharing category.
Mixtapes, Davies mentions, have embedded value from the inconvenience of physical preparation, which explains why it is regarded more highly than digital playlists from Spotify. Davies believes that services such as the Newspaper Club are approaching the sweet spot of sharing – where we get both the satisfactions of sharing a physical thing and the convenience of sharing information.