We’re very excited about this new local web platform that makes it easier to share and barter online and which has the potential to bolster our local economy. Creator Alex Colket explains…
Hello Share Tompkins,
I’m writing you today to introduce you to Swidjit, a new Ithaca-based website designed to strengthen the local economy and provide greater access to the wealth of goods, skills, and other resources that surround us. Swidjit has a commercial aspect, but it also places a strong emphasis on bartering, sharing and otherwise making it easier to survive/thrive with less dependence on money. Of course, this is something Share Tompkins has already been doing here for the last couple of years, and you should all feel proud of your role in this critical and beautiful change that is currently unfolding in places like Ithaca. The momentum you have built is one of the main reasons that Ithaca is poised to take the idea of local economy to the next level and demonstrate how a modern US community can learn to flourish within its means. Thanks!
So what is Swidjit? Swidjit is a website designed to facilitate a collaborative economy and a community-based social network. Ideally, it will serve as an online community hub, a vast the well-organized directory of all the economic, social, and intellectual opportunities
that surround us, and act as a tool to increase access to these resources, ideas and people. Recently, I have been thinking of it as a
gateway to a vast, uncharted landscape of possibilities and potential;
I believe some amazing things would emerge from a space where so many
people are coming together to work, share, discuss and play with each
other. Swidjit is free to use.
Swidjit is brand-new, but it already has a number of features in place
designed to make it easier to barter and share:
Geo-tagging – any item added to Swidjit can be tagged geographically
by town, neighborhood, street, or dorm. This should make it easier to
make connections with people close to your home, which makes sharing
and trading more convenient.
Posting needs – by advertising to the community the goods and services
you are looking to acquire, your needs are more likely to be noticed
Currency tagging – when businesses or individuals add items on
Swidjit, they can set any number of currency tags used to designate
what they can accept or give in exchange for their offerings/wants.
ideally, this will make it a lot easier to find people who are willing
to deal in non-monetary transactions as you will be able to see all
the items tagged “for share”, “for massage”, “for food” etc.
These features are just a beginning. I have many additional ideas for
Swidjit which will help to strengthen barter networks and facilitate a
larger marketplace for sharing and renting. Some of these ideas
include a peer to peer rental/sharing system for tracking objects, an
external widget that can be placed on other websites and display a
feed of items for share or for barter or for free, and a mechanism for
encouraging and facilitating the formation of neighborhood guilds for
sharing skills and resources.
Another intangible element which I believe will make Swidjit an
effective venue for sharing and trading is the social aspect. As
enough people start participating in this community-based
collaborative economy, the people and businesses in your network will
serve as agents and promoters for the content you post on Swidjit,
connecting you with others and helping you build symbiotic
relationships with people in your neighborhood or town.
I am fairly certain that a network in the spirit of Swidjit is our
future. Swapping with other people and learning to pool resources not
only make great sense from an economic standpoint, these behaviors are
also absolutely essential in the effort to reduce our consumption and
the environmental impact that comes with it. The movement back towards
local economies is being driven by so many forces, it seems safe to
assume that this trend will continue and even grow, and I believe that
a platform like Swidjit – designed to help increase access to local
resources – will play a huge role in this shift.
At this point, I see only one barrier to the adoption of a local
economy network: critical mass. Once enough people are using the
site at the same time it will become something really powerful, but
until then it’s relatively useless. For all the things I claim
Swidjit can do, it will not be able to do any of them until a large
enough percentage of the population comes on board. No matter how
sound the idea, or how passionately I pursue it, Swidjit will go
nowhere without the participation of this community.
With that in mind, I am planning an aggressive promotional campaign to
encourage people to visit and revisit the site over the next couple
months, and hopefully I can get enough of those people to participate
so the site actually turns into a valuable resource. If we can reach
that point, I think there is a very good chance that, in less than a
year’s time, we could have access to a robust alternative to the
current economic system and be well on our way to a more promising
future with more opportunities for more people.
If you would like to help, I could really use your participation in
any the following ways:
1) Please start contributing on Swidjit to whatever degree time and
interest allows. Think of some things you have to offer, and some
things you need, and post them on the site.
2) Talk about Swidjit with your family, co-workers and friends.
Mention it as an alternative to craigslist for selling used items, as
a place to market skills, promote events, or find people.
3) Within the next week or two I will be publishing a letter to
Ithaca to introduce Swidjit to this community. Please share this
letter with others over e-mail, Facebook or any other
publications/media outlets you may have access to.
4) If you have a website, please link to Swidjit! Wherever
appropriate, I will return the favor
5) If you happen to run a local business or are involved with a local
nonprofit, I’d love to chat with you sometime about how we can help