My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the term “sharing economy” and the evolution of share from Old English—where it was a noun meaning “a cutting” or “a shearing”—to its use as a verb in 12-step meetings and beyond.
Access is free this month! Here’s an excerpt I’m pleased to share:
These activities—“ride booking,” chore marketplaces, textbook lending, short-term lodging rentals—have become known collectively as the sharing economy. The sharing economy is a growing sector of the U.S. and global economy as a whole, and its name represents the latest twist in the evolution of share, a word that’s practically inescapable in the social-media-dominated 21st century. Share appears in company names (SlideShare, ShareThis, Shareable, City CarShare) and product names (Sharewhat, Leafshare, Authentishare, ScholarShare); in advertising campaigns (“Share a Coke,” the 2014 program credited with reversing the soft-drink manufacturer’s decade-long decline in sales) and website prompts (“Share on Facebook,” “Share your thoughts”). It has even inspired at least one new word blend: sharewashing (softening the capitalistic edges of an enterprise by calling its activities “sharing”).
Blog bonus, courtesy of the Care Bears: