Friday, April 24, 2009

ALL HAIL THE INTANGIBLE!

I have recently been made aware that one cannot offer "free advice" as a service under the "For Free" section on Craigslist. Apparently there is a sub-culture of regular Craigslist users who refresh their browser every five minutes in this section in the vain hope of being the first to stake a claim on whatever treasure they can get their hands on.

This same group also apparently does not take kindly to anyone clogging up Craigslist with "intangible" offerings (such as the benevolent desire to offer free advice to anyone seeking it), as it may interfere with their capacity to get their hands on that vintage 8-track someone is going to give away at any moment.

Any offer for a free intangible service is apparently limited to the forum section of Craigslist. Of course this is very limiting for those who desire to offer something intangible as a service or gift to those seeking it, relegating it to a conversation piece in the forum. You can give away free parts for a lawn mower on Craigslist, though free advice be damned!

I would like to make a strong case that Craigslist should make room for "intangibles" in their classifieds service, and not be so hung up on the acquisition and transfer of fleeting (and highly breakable) material objects. Case in point, here is a non-exhaustive list of the type of highly valuable intangibles that could be offered as a free service through the Craigslist classifieds;

Active Listening
Advice
Affirmations
Anecdotes (personal, or otherwise)
Assumptions
Brainstorming
Casual Remarks
Clich├ęs
Compliments
Conspiracy Theories
Encouragement
Esoteric Quotations
Feedback (constructive or negative depending on the need)
Folk Tales
Generalizations (these are always problematic)
Ideas
Insults (I recall a street performer who did this for cash - I would do it for free)
Jokes
Logical Fallacies
Musical Recommendations (no MP3 files exchanged)
Obscure Pop Culture References
Old Wives Tales
Opinions
Paranoid Delusions
Personal Insights
Poetry
Philosophical Discourse
Predictions
Reviews
Sarcasm
Speculation
Tall Tales
Various Quips & Assorted Witticisms
Warnings

I don't know about you, but I would jump at the chance to utilise some free brainstorming if I was stuck at a creative impasse late one night. Also, why bother with useless material things when someone can grace you with their sparkling wit, the occasional sarcastic remark or a really bang-on knock knock joke.

Any other ideas for valuable intangibles that could be offered?

2 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sympathy? Heartfelt or patronizing, I can do either believably.

Westcoast Walker said...

Excellent options for my growing list of intangible services - just don't offer "tea & sympathy" as that would be a violation of the terms of use.