Crowdfunding is an interesting word and its becoming more common to hear in news reports or current affairs stories on mainstream TV. Its not a new thing, from what I can see it has been around since 2006, but I guess it takes a few years for new ways of doing to take off or become commonplace.Have I ever crowd-funded? No. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like the idea or support it, I guess its just I haven’t become involved. My interest in this was sparked by a recent story I came across on TV. A young girl who had survived an horrific accident (she had lost both legs after being run over by a train) was describing her dream to purchase prosthetic running legs so that she could train to be an athlete. A nice heart warming story and I was thinking, well a corporation or someone will be watching this story and she’ll surely achieve her dream. But the story ended with the statement that she was going to see crowd funding to purchase her new legs. I was quite startled, I’m not sure why, but I was – crowd funding?? I had thought this was the domain of the third-world seeking support from socially minded first-world individuals. So a bit of searching and investigating online and I was to discover how wrong I was – crowd funding is a massive online pursuit and there are so many different types (who knew?). Charity funding is probably the one most recognizable, the collective effort of individuals to help charitable cases, but I discovered there was also litigation crowd funding. Individuals can invest in the litigation pursuits of those who are in need. This got me thinking, what is the motivation behind crowd funding? what is it that makes you put your money out there for someone, someone you don’t know or are likely to ever meet? I think in this digital world of continual connectivity, we can push out messages and information quickly. We receive so much information we cannot process all of it, but every now and then it might touch us personally, or we need to touch it personally. Could this be behind crowd funding? Perhaps. I think inherently many of us want to be part of something, we need to belong, we need to participate. Crowd funding enables us to participate in a communal social initiative – pretty powerful, very addictive I would imagine. I think seeing your money make a difference to someone else would be motivation enough. So how do you do this? How do you participate? Google crowd funding like i did, there are many companies out there listing I liked Fundly and SeedInvest.
One of the consequences of living in a digital age is that all of my different roles, parts of my life and pursuits are starting to converge. I hesitate to make any statement beginning with “my generation” but the reality is that when I first started working my private life, my interests and hobbies and my professional life were all very separate. They were much more physically tied to specific places – such as where I spent free time or what I liked to do in those moments were not at all connected to a device nor were they online. Now, these different aspects of my life are tied to different digital devices; I have a work ipad, desktop computer and other digital tools – when I go home I have my personal ipad and laptop. Some of devices are used in both spaces, such as my iphone and laptop but its what I am doing on these devices that has made me think about the blurring and convergence that is happening. Time is a big issue, the separation between these two spaces is no longer constrained to being a ‘working day’, I rarely leave work at work. The sense of being connected to that part of my life is constant, either through email or databases or even just Googling a particular topic or idea. How I spend my leisure time is increasingly digital – I have a huge addiction to games, love them in all forms, video, music, apps – I find it relaxing and addictive. I also seem to have been using more web-based tools to replace things I used to do ‘physically’ such as bookshops replaced by virtual libraries, book by ebooks, my personal trainer has been replaced by an app and smart device, tv by the web, going to a shopping centre and walking around replaced by online shopping…..its all quite endless. The nature of my work has started to closely resemble my personal life and how I spend it – I feel like my worlds are converging, no longer do these feel like separate spaces. This isn’t a bad thing, I don’t regret any of these changes, in fact I think it has made life much easier as the skills I need and constantly use keep improving making both spaces easier to use and negotiate around. Not sure if many would agree with me, but I think the convergence has been a really interesting side effect.