Letting People In
The mode of photography in our own lives has developed rapidly in recent years; we are willing to show off our photos to the rest of the world through many different virtual sites such as Facebook, Flickr and various blogs. Even though our lives in some respects have become increasingly private, progressively dispersed and our homes ever more guarded we are willing to publicise our lives digitally. I would undoubtedly consider this to be a counter culture against privatization.‘In the virtual world, ideas about privacy are changing at the ground level and what we do online will have a greater impact upon future privacy laws than any legislation that results from the current offline inquiry’ states Aleks Krotoski in an article for The Observer [Krotoski, 2011].To a certain extent we are virtually inviting people into our private lives. We may communicate with people through social networking that we barely know, but I would be surprised if most people even spoke to their neighbours. But what interests me the most about unraveling and exposing the private realms of homes is how can I achieve this myself?
The answer already exists by taking the step beyond the virtual into reality in the form of the cultural and social phenomenon of hospitality exchanges via social networking. The movement has developed into a diverse array of sites promoting travel and independence such as: couchsurfing.org, airbnb.com and helpx.net among others inspire young and old minds. Helpx has been set up for travellers on a limited budget where they,’work up to 28 hours a week in exchange for food and accommodation’ [Cahalane, 2011]. People’s attitudes are changing to become more adaptable, flexible and adjustable.
The idea of couch surfing has been around for many years; staying on friends sofa’s or people’s couches through recommendation. But now it has become a fully formed legitimate internet- based network for users. CouchSurfing was set up ‘in 2004 and has grown to more than 2.4 million members’ [Kittle, 2011] Essentially the very core of CouchSurfing is trust.The very notion of ‘sleeping with strangers’ [Aslop, 2006] would be deemed absurd to many, nonetheless one only has to look the number of people involved to realise that it is a realistic, viable and a spur of the moment option. CouchSurfing facilitates the breaking down of privacy on an enormous scale. Its success has motivated Stanford University to carry out research on the CouchSurfing website. They explain,‘Since lack of trust may be at the root of problems such as corruption and poverty, they believe that figuring out how to build trust can benefit society as a whole’ [Santos, 2010]. Since the lack of trust is an ever-growing issue due to unequal societies the opening up of homes to strangers is a seminal feat achieved by CouchSurfing.