I grew up in a very tight-knit neighborhood- the kind of neighborhood where you could go next store for just about anything – a cup of milk, a little sugar. I remember my parents sitting on the front porch as me and my siblings played outside with the other kids on our block. There was Walter, the teenage kid down the street, who would help wash our cars and mow our lawn and Meg, the “neighborhood babysitter,” who my mom would call to watch us kids for an hour while she ran to the supermarket. Whatever we needed, the folks next door were there to lend a hand. Those were the days!
But unfortunately, times have changed. I now live in a neighborhood where I only know a handful of folks. How did we get so distant from those who live closest to us? Maybe we got a little skeptical and weary of others in our community as a result of the highly publicized violence in our communities, or maybe the stresses of everyday life have simply consumed us to the point of isolation. Or perhaps, as many have claimed, the rapid adoption of technology (the pervasive cell phones, email, online this and that) has driven a chasm between us and our closest neighbors.
Although many have argued and feared that the digital age and advances in technology would rip humanity apart, there is strong evidence to the contrary. A recent blog post by Lisa Peake, the Get Things Done expert, suggests that technology may in fact be bringing us back together, not further apart. In her post, Lisa references Arianna Huffington who commented, ”Remember all those scary movies about how humans were going to become machines in the future? Well, as it turned out, the machines ended up enabling us to be more human instead.” Lisa continues, “The Internet is increasingly centered around the most basic human need: belonging.”
We at TaskRabbit strongly believe that technology is allowing us to more easily connect with our neighbors and yes, ultimately satisfy that basic human need to just “belong.” In fact, we often hear from members of our community that they have re-connected (or frankly just met) people in their own neighborhood as a result of TaskRabbit. Every day, TaskPosters and TaskRabbits, who often live within shouting distance from each other, are connecting to share their time and skills to get things done. It really is very reminiscent of the good ole days when sharing amongst neighbors was commonplace and truly valued.
We are hopeful that we will continue to play a key role in bringing back this sense of community and belonging. We are not there yet but we are well on our way to giving everyone the opportunity to tap into the power of their own community and leverage the time and skills of the Walter’s and Meg’s in their own neighborhood.