The social connectivity that the internet has given us has also allowed consumers to connect with the wider world on a commercial level.
Sites like Etsy have allowed people to showcase their skills and talent, with a commercial focus. Other sites have aimed at linking supply with demand – Crashpadder connects people with a spare space in their home with consumers who are looking to stay somewhere on a short-term basis.
The next step in this form of online connectivity will be linking people who have a skill, such as carpenter or designer, with those that need a job or task done. These 'skill-sites' are becoming increasingly popular, as the trend for collaboration and online networking continue to rise in prevalence. A good example of this is heyneighbor.com, which creates trusted neighbourhood networks, allowing people to connect with locals to ask a favor, offer good and services and even organize a local community network. An example of the growing popularity of these sites is the rise of skillpages.com, which has more than 500,000 people from 160 countries using its services. The site aims to match people who need a specific skill with those that have that skill, in a friendly and openly accessible environment.
With online networking continually merging the social and commercial needs of consumer, how will brands react to this? As we move more towards collaboration, will we see more big brands and service providers increasingly working together to provide more integrated services?