Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Favorville - Old Fashioned Community Values At Work On The Web

Need a favor? We used to run across the street to our friendly neighbor and ask for a hand. But many people live in communities where they don't even know their closets neighbors name and wouldn't dare to knock on their door to ask for an egg or to borrow a ladder. Twenty-somethings are much more comfortable building relationships with online social networking sites. But still, I don't think they'd ask one of their 500 MySpace acquaintances to come over and take a look at the lawn mower that mysteriously quit working in mid-mow.

And there in lies Favorville's niche. If there was a social networking site where you built friendships and community values would people use it? Favorville's Canadian developers said yes.

On Favorville you register as a community member then begin perusing the needs of other members in your city. You can post a need for a favor. Maybe you need help understanding a computer program or you have a broken vaccuum cleaner that just needs a new belt. You can offer a favor. You're a painter, or an electrician, or a landscaper with extra time and left over plants and your willing to offer your services to someone in need.

Favorville has over 3,000 members in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It's a highly active community that has grown substantially since the sites BETA launch a few years ago. Things have been slower to take off in the US. In my large city I found less then 20 members but cities like New York and Boston have over 100.

Sites like this rely on the trustworthiness and integrity of its members, even more so than most. It reminds me of Freecycle.org but there it's just the exchange of a free item not the exchange of time, goodwill, and ideas - which is exactly what lies at the basis of friendship and community.

I applaud their efforts and hope that in this building of artificial communities something real emerges, like neighborhoods of friends interacting face-to-face jumping to help each other out in the simple and the tough times. A flashback to the 1970's neighborhood I grew up in with its neighborhood parties and mom's talking and kids playing in the yards. I can wish, can't I?

Take a look at Favorville and help them grow their membership. After today my city will have one more willing soul to count on in a pinch. So if you join and need a cup of sugar or a stick of butter..call..drop by..I'll help you out.

1 comment:

paul maurice martin said...

Things can get pretty extreme today. I hope the idea catches on - as a housebound person, mostly bedridden, I pay cash for every little thing my one sibling doesn't do. The home health aide services provided by Medicare are that bad - another sign of the times.