By Syiang Dong, Davide Pedone, Lorenzo Piazzoli, Giulia Ponzetta, Lorenzo Positano, Chiara Riente

on the sharing economy

2015 was declared the "year of the sharing economy": in a society that pushes the human being to an extreme egoism and to a selifh competition, there are some new occasions of collaboration and sharing growing from bottom-up. It's a phenomenon demanded by the quotidianity of every person, but driven by big companies that are twisting the idea of pure sharing.

Through our research we realized that, using a metaphor, sharing economy is a small planet where nothing in particular happens, untill the sudden arrival of a meteorite that completely changes its face. That meteorite is the sharing economy super actors, in particular Uber and Airbnb. Our analysis focuses, at the beginning, on the comparison between the situation of the sharing economy planet before and after the impact and subsequent analysis of the meteorite, investigating the characteristics of the main super actor: Uber.

We tried to explore different themes. One of them are the lexical changes of texts related to sharing economy: topics have changed year-by-year. Sometimes we can see grassroots media anticipate a shift of topic or of key word. Usually the academic field that influences news and websites.

Then we focus on the main actor Uber and its influence on the countries where it acts. In some of them, this sharing economy form has been banned due to legal action issued by competitors (i.e. taxi associations in this case). Our image analysis will show how the web talks about the protests through visual information.


Finding the main issue on the web

Sharing economy, known also as collaborative economy, collaborative consumption and on-demand economy, doesn't have a very precise definition: experts are focusing on the differences between these four definitions, while the public opinion talks about different topics. Is there a common theme or these two worlds are completely separated? Is this separation the main controversy?

Before and after the super actors

It's clear that the experts and the real world are talking about the same topics, but in different ways. Thanks to Google Scholar, Lexis Nexis and Google search our investigation brings to open air who are the main actors and what do they talk about.

Uber and its relevance

Looking at all the resources during the time, it's evident that from a certain moment the public debate has shifted to two main actors: Uber and Airbnb. Our investigation focuses on the main company that is revolutioning the idea of the sharing economy: Uber.