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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

OhSoWe.Com Looking For A Few Good Ward Fivers-Updated

Ward 5 resident, Rachel Donovan, recently got a job as a web developer for OhSoWe.com; a site for bringing neighbors together to build bonds, share recourses, communicate, and save money. The company is based out of Chicago and a lot of their startup neighborhoods using the online tool are also in Chicago. Rachel is looking to implement the website into Somerville neighborhoods to both help bring neighbors together and gain user feedback on how the website can be improved.

What would someone need this site for? Rachel described in an email, “An example of someone having a need to post to the site - There was a stump in my back yard that had two pieces of concrete next to it where two fence posts used to be. I needed a 10 lb sledge hammer for about an hour and probably never use it again. I didn't want to buy it. I was able to post my need to the site and borrow one from my neighbor.”

This site would be great considering the following facts Rachel sent over:

• In the US 80% of the items people own are used less then once a month. Rachel Botsman & Roo Rogers - What’s Mine is Yours.
• If every American borrowed one $10 item from a neighbor instead of buying it, Americans’ would save over $3 billion a year.
• If half of all Americans rented one item from a neighbor instead of buying it, we would divert ~1.5 billion lbs from our landfills. Saving roads, fuel, extra costs and land.

Upon signing up, the one concern I had surrounded the address verification feature. This feature ensures that you are a member of the neighborhood you have either been invited to or that you’re looking to join. Rachel explains, “Right now the address verification is needed to make sure you are really part of that neighborhood, and not just interested in what is going on there. This level of security is nice, so that you don't have to know the neighbors personally to get into a group, ie you could sign up with OhSoWe.Com, have your address verified, notice that there is a group around you and join (or ask to join depending on the settings of that group). Also it's good to note that users can wait and do this step later, get verified immediately by donating a dollar to red cross, or ask for a post card to be sent to them (in which they would enter the code on the postcard to be verified).” Please know that your address is not published by the website and that members of the same neighborhood cannot view it.

To learn more about OhSoWe.Com, be sure to check out the site and/or follow them via their twitter handle: @ohsowe.

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