This is discussion about GiftFlow.org.
How is this different than craigslist? What is the difference between find and receive on your website? How do you plan to promote and market the platform? Can you integrate this into college communities? I think that could be an incredible market. The waste on college campuses is so huge at the end of the year and if students can post on this site that could reduce waste and provide value to the local community.
Keep up the great work!
Yes, we are planning on launching using the college market as a springboard. In the coming weeks Yale Recycling will be collecting tens of thousands of dollars worth of waste and then posting it all on GiftFlow. Then, local charities will log on and find the stuff they need. GiftFlow is different from Craigslist because users will have profiles that list the ways in which a person has been active (or inactive), such as gifts given, needs gotten and time spent volunteering. These profiles make it easier to trust others which will help bridge the gap between the digital world and reality. The end goal is not just about exchanges and waste reduction but to create a web app that inspires people to interact with each other.
I think this is such a great idea! I can't wait to start using the site.
I'm really excited about making this idea happen!
What an interesting idea! How do you envision Giftflow.org's growth and expansion? Will users in an area with a large concentration of users benefit more? I'm in Brooklyn-- when can we expect giftflow to start a community there?
Hannah, thanks for your comment!
Strong local community support is absolutely crucial to GiftFlow's success. You are totally right. GiftFlow only works when there are lots of other users nearby. We are based here in New Haven and are focusing all of our energies locally. We have all lived here for a few years and have the experience and local relationships that will help us build a strong network. New Haven is going to be our test city. Once we are confident that it has a robust and growing GiftFlow community we will start looking to expand to another city. Right now, stage two will probably be in Philadelphia or Brooklyn, but we have to make it happen here in New Haven first.
but, is there really no site like this that exists already?
Thank you for your question. It is important that we differentiate ourselves from other websites. GiftFlow takes many components and ideas from existing websites and combines them into a unique system that definitely doesn't exist anywhere else.
For example, we are focusing on the widely available amount of free stuff in the same way that Freecycle.org and Craigslist.org's "free section" do. However, we are then combining their idea of a "free list" with a Facebook-style social network. The best example is CouchSurfing.com which is a gift economy, but one that is limited to hospitality. We want to build a gift economy that is open to all goods and services.
Hans beat me to it, but what I was going to say is that there are several sites that are similar but none of them are very well designed. We're focusing on making the site incredibly streamlined and integrated into social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Wow! What a great idea. I especially like that value will no longer be abstracted by money but instead the actual value to individuals will shine through when things are exchanged in this manner. I am wondering about the logistics of organizations using this website: how do you appropriately trade for materials made by an organization or group of people? How can you make sure they are all appropriately compensated? Do you see this website working for only certain goods/services or do you see it scaling up? If so, how? I really like the potential of the idea but I'm not sure if I can imagine all the ins and outs of if. Thanks!
I'm glad you share our excitement for this idea.
I am hopeful that productive organizations will be able to use the site as well. One great example is a bike collective. Lots of people would come together to fix up and give away used bikes. They would produce their "gifts" collectively. This might also work for a community farm.
GiftFlow would enable these groups to keep track of how much each member contributes as well as what the group gives away collectively. By forming a collectively identity on GiftFlow, they could then request what they need to keep the collective going (used bikes, gardening tools, etc...).
While this is pretty far down the road, I think with just a little imagination, GiftFlow users could push the potential of the tool we are building.
This seems like the perfect solution to our long history of waste and alienation in this country. Please let me know when the website is up and running.
This is a wonderful idea- I'm excited to see how this grows! I think we desperately need a functional system of exchange that doesn't require money and can help us efficiently recycle items. How will inter-city exchanges work? For example if someone in New York would like a couch that is gifted by a resident of Boston, how will the couch get from point a to point b? Have you factored in the potential shipping costs of this system?
You bring up a very important point. If people want to get their gifts from point A to point B, someone can offer their car as the "gift" to make the other gifts possible. The system is open to all goods and services. Your imagination is the only limit (and the law of course).
As an active community member, I'm thrilled to see a website with a primary aim of establishing cooperative personal networks in New Haven!
I've seen all of the furniture, clothes and electronics on my street corner as a result of Yale Spring Salvage-it's encouraging to know that you are invested in channeling those wasted goods into hands that need them. Which existing networks and non-profits in New Haven would you like to cooperate with?
Also, I'm curious as to what inspired you to create GiftFlow? Who do you consider your primary influences? and Ideally, what would GiftFlow look like in 5 years?
Thanks for your commitment to the New Haven community! Many New Haven residents complain that Yale doesn't "give back", but GiftFlow could easily prove them wrong.
Stephanie, I'm glad you are interested in our project.
Working with Yale Recycling connects us to all of the non-profits and charities in the greater New Haven area that need donated goods. We were able to talk with many people from these organizations at the two "donation days" hosted by Yale, and they are definitely excited by the idea of a website that connects them with not only volunteers, but donated goods as well.
As for inspiration, I'd say websites like Freecycle and CouchSurfing demonstrate the potential for an idea like GiftFlow to be successful. I have to say that my study of literature on pre-modern gift economies, in places like Polynesia, also helped to shape the idea behind GiftFlow. I think its great that we are trying to recreate (and improve) a pre-modern gift economy using the Internet.
In 5 years I hope that GiftFlow has made New Haven a stronger community, one that is better connected, especially across historic divisions, more self-sufficient, greener, less-wasteful and positively interdependent. If GiftFlow can do that for New Haven, it can work for any city in the world.