E Pluribus Unum, Maybe it is on your money for a reason

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Meaning: from  the many, one. The following illustrates how many voices can come together via social networking and the internet to help us spend our money more wisely.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist says in this interview:

“Posting information about products and experiences as everyday as hotel stays (”Generally all my reports are shower-related,” he said) helps other people make more educated purchases, he said during a panel session Tuesday, and can ultimately lead to better customer service when large numbers of people weigh in on social-media forums. Participating in these sites is an act of compassion, in some sense patriotism.”

Think back to your last “pig in a poke” purchase or “Hotel from Hell” experience. What would you give to have had someone spare you that? We all tell our friends our good and bad experiences in the marketplace. Now with social networking our “friends” can be like friends squared, we have the ability to reach the full six degrees of separation (just about anyone who has an internet connection) and share information. I agree with him that the numbers have to be large for it to really work and your idea of a great laptop and mine may vary due to what we want or require from it. Each reviewer contributes a piece of the puzzle to give shoppers a better picture of the product or service.

While it is often our own current economic woes that are making us choose more carefully where we spend our dollars, it is also the “green” thing to do. There is a lot of waste in the process of returns, and many products, particularly electronics, are not disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. In the end, the manufacturers and retailers include that cost of returns into the purchase price of their products. If we were able to choose more wisely, resulting in fewer returns, perhaps prices would reflect that. While my skepticism prevents me from holding my breath for that, (it could happen) I totally agree with Craig that it is a public service we can provide for one another and benefit from ourselves.

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