n an interesting take on the 1960s-70s mantra of “You Are What You Eat,” several Web sites have sprung up to let us know that the counter cultural warriors who eschewed middle-class trappings to become hippies were indeed far off the mark. Harking back to the status conscious fifties, the 21st century’s new mantra is “We are what we own.” Who could ever doubt this in our society, the Sixties “revolution” not withstanding?. We were raised — much to the protests of some — to be status seekers. Jewelry, cars, homes, clothes, stereos, appliances, etc. — were all marks of our status to be. In the fifties it was called “keeping up with the Jones.” Some of us rebelled against it — but it’s still in our genes. So now witness a whole new generation that never heard of Vance Packard’s “The Status Seekers” who are using the Web to post and share their possessions.
Some of the sites allow people merely to post their book, DVD and music titles to share with others. Other sites allow people to list their possessions’ serial numbers to help in tracking down their goods if stolen. And other sites allow users to post lists to track their dollar values and preserve their investments. In any case, it’s a new emphasis on our possessions as a guiding light to define our beings (“shiny car, shiny personality”).
According to a report in the New York Times on April 30:
PACK rats, shopaholic showoffs and avid collectors take note: the Internet will give you a place to track your stuff for free. One condition: you have to keep your wallet open.
At least three companies have emerged in recent months with the aim of helping people catalog and value their possessions and post them online.
The obvious question is, how many people would be bothered to catalog all their stuff, online or off? The answer, surprisingly enough, is millions.
The three main sites:
ITaggit is “the place for organizing your things and collections. In our community you’ll discover, share and enjoy all the richness of the items you value.”
Mythings leads with the slogan “Everything You Need to Enjoy What You Own” and features a Market Value Estimator; the site allow you to “organize and protect your goods.”
Zebo’s slogan is “Own More” and has a subheading that declares “ZEBO 4 what you own; 4 what to buy; 4 friends.”