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Introduction to Craigslist Joe

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Introduction to Craigslist Joe and Essay III


In order to prepare for watching the film, you are required to read over and think about the following information on this page (click on the provided links, brainstorm the questions, begin to understand the cultural context of the film).


After you become familiar with the premise of the film as well as its cultural context (social experiment, shared economy, gift economy, etc.), then you must complete the Pre-viewing section of the Film Analysis Worksheet.


1. Read the following brief article about Craigslist Joe 



Behind the Scenes with 'Craigslist Joe'

July 3, 2012


Eliza Murphy 

Would you ever ditch your responsibilities to devote yourself completely to living off the kindness and generosity of the strangers you find on Craigslist?

That's what Joe Garner did.

Garner, 32, joined forces with funnyman-turned-executive-producer Zach Galifianakis for a documentary called "Craigslist Joe." Set to premier Aug. 2, the film follows Garner cross-country as he relies on Craigslist ads for food, a place to sleep and bathe, and more.

Garner is no stranger to the film industry. He was the assistant to director Todd Phillips on what he calls "a little movie at the time," which turned into the blockbuster hit "The Hangover." It was on the set of "The Hangover" that Garner and Galifianakis first started discussing the premise for "Craigslist Joe." Living in a hotel casino in 2008 while filming the movie, Garner said he felt isolated in Vegas.

"The country was falling apart around me, people losing their homes, people just out on their own. So I got to thinking: If I lost everything, what would happen? I'd probably be OK, because I have great friends and family. But what if I didn't? Who would I rely on?" So he put social media to the test to see how reliable it was in times of need. Garner said he didn't have a central goal but wanted to prove that it was possible to get help.

"I'm going to go out and be as open as I can, talk to regular people around the country and see how technology is going to enable me to better communicate with those people to make meaningful face-face-connections," Garner explained.

He hired a cameraman he found on Craigslist a week before he set out on his journey. Equipped with only a laptop, a new cell phone with a new number he hadn't shared with anyone, a new email address, a passport, toothbrush and the clothes on his back, Garner was ready to embark on his month-long adventure.

"We started off in L.A. I've lived here for over 10 years, and it was just very odd. I've never experienced L.A. as much as I did in those first four days," said Garner. "It was about getting out of my routine and isolation in my own world and just opening up and realizing, 'Whoa, there's other things in front of us that's happening.' It was a good time to go, since our country was going through such rough times, and I wanted to find those stories and see how people were coping."

When Garner contacted people on Craigslist he'd say he was just a regular guy looking to meet up, go out of town, go on a hike, whatever he could think of. It wasn't until after people agreed to meet him person that Garner disclosed there'd be camera documenting their journey.

"It was all about establishing trust. People weren't just initially helping me because of the camera, because they didn't even know about it at first," said Garner.

Garner said he had to figure out the fundamentals of living through Craigslist.

"How am I going to eat today? You get pretty hungry when you're just walking around, even after a few hours. I allowed myself as much water as I could find," he said.

His two favorite sections on Craigslist that became his lifelines were "Free" and "Ride Share." Garner explained "Free" was where "someone would literally be giving away milk," but he cautioned how careful one must be when using Craigslist, especially the "Ride Share" section.

"Meet up in a public place, write down their cell phone number, check out their ID, you definitely have to be smart about it," Garner explained.

The 31-day social media experiment taught Garner a few life lessons, especially as he visited the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

"Everywhere I looked around the country were these pockets of inspiration. It's one thing to see it on TV, or read it in the news, but I broke down in the Ninth Ward," said Garner. "After a couple weeks of exhaustion, the amazing kindness that people shared with me I realized, here I am in the middle of this place that was once a totally amazing community that is just totally wiped out now. But these people are taking abandoned houses and creating them into art spaces."

If given the chance, Garner says he would absolutely embark on another Craigslist adventure, even for a lot longer than a month.

"What I did was no big thing. The biggest thing was making the decision to let go of the things I hold most important and step out of my comfort zone," Garner said. "It was the most amazing experience of my life. I've never felt so connected with people around me."


article from: 




2. Watch the trailer and learn more about the film


here: http://www.craigslistjoe.com/



3. Brainstorm 

Before we watch the film, ask yourself these questions:


  • Of course, many of us haven't embarked on such social experiments nor have we had to live off the goodwill of Craigslist, so why would we want to watch this film? What might it offer to us? In what ways does this seem to appeal to pathos?


  • What do you expect from the film? What do you think will happen to Garner on this journey?


  • Based on this description of the film, what issues/concepts/ideas do you think the film will explore?
  • What larger conversations/issues might it connect with? What other ideas might it open up?






4. Explore the cultural context/themes of the documentary




 It is important to understand the context/rhetorical situation of the film so that when we critically evaluate it, we are able to discuss the extent to which the film participates in the larger conversation--how well it explores important issues--how/why it is relevant--how it shows exigence and validates its purpose.



Craigslist Joe looks to evaluate a number of social, cultural, and economic debates about the following (4) topics:


A. Social Media vs. Real (face-to-face) Communication:What are the typical arguments associated with these two entities? How might the film offer a different evaluation? In today's society, what role does social media play in philanthropy/charity? How might social media infringe upon our ability to change the world/help the people around us?


B. The human/American spirit--the generosity and goodwill of the American People/ our attitude toward charity.  How would you describe our efforts to help others around us? Are we generally enthusiastic about helping strangers? Why or why not? What motivates us to help others?  What types of people are more apt to help others in need?   Are there certain times of the year (IE: holidays) when we feel more generous/charitable?


C. The usefulness/practicality of a Social Experiment in today's society (see information/links below)


D. The significance of  the shared economy in today's society (see information/links below).


E. Its usefulness/significance as a participatory documentary


 Participatory documentaries believe that it is impossible for the act of filmmaking to not influence or alter the events being filmed. What these films do is emulate the approach of the anthropologist: participant-observation. Not only is the filmmaker part of the film, we also get a sense of how situations in the film are affected or altered by her presence. 


Information about Social Experiment 



What is a social experiment? Why is the film a social experiment? 


A social experiment is a research project conducted with human subjects in the real world that typically investigates the effects of a policy intervention by randomly assigning individuals, families, businesses, classrooms, or other units to different treatments or to a control condition that represents the status quo.



  • What do we know about social experiments?
  • Where have we seen such examples in the media?
  • Why are they important in today's society?



    Social experiment

    Another type of reality program is the social experiment that produces drama, conflict, and sometimes transformation. Wife Swap, which began in 2003 on Channel 4, and has aired for four seasons on ABC (in addition to producing a spin-off, Celebrity Wife Swap), is a notable example. People with different values agreed to live by each other's social rules for a brief period of time and sometimes learn from the experience. Other shows in this category include Trading Spouses, The Bad Girls Club, the British programme Holiday Showdown and Secret Millionaire. Faking It was a series where people had to learn a new skill and pass themselves off as experts in that skill. Shattered was a controversial 2004 UK series in which contestants competed for how long they could go without sleep. Solitary was a controversial 2006-2010 Fox Reality series that isolated contestants for weeks insolitary confinement pods with limited sleep, food and information while competing in elimination challenges ended by a quit button, causing winners to go on for much longer than needed as a blind gamble to not be the first person to quit.


    Just when you thought the networks had put every possible twist on the genre (dating, survival, dancing competitions, D-list celebrities, elephants taking on a group of little people), they've come up with a new theme to explore: the social experiment.


    Among them: Fox has been casting for Utopia, which takes 15 people into an isolated location for a year and challenges them to create their own world; MTV has Are You the One?, a dating series recently renewed for a second season; Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid and forthcoming Survival Live both fall into the "social experiment" category; and A&E Networks' new channel FYI recently ordered Married at First Sight, an "extreme social experiment" that will find six brave souls agreeing to legally marry the moment they first meet.




    Information about Shared Economy


    What about the shared economy? What is this? Why is it getting so much attention these days?



The Sharing Economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.


Whilst the Sharing Economy is currently in its infancy, known most notably as a series of services and start-ups which enable P2P exchanges through technology, this is only the beginning: in its entirety and potential it is a new and alternative socio-economic system which embeds sharing and collaboration at its heart – across all aspects of social and economic life.


The Sharing Economy encompasses the following aspects: swapping, exchanging, collective purchasing, collaborative consumption, shared ownership, shared value, co-operatives, co-creation, recycling, upcycling, re-distribution, trading used goods, renting, borrowing, lending, subscription based models, peer-to-peer, collaborative economy, circular economy, pay-as-you-use economy, wikinomics, peer-to-peer lending, micro financing, micro-entrepreneurship, social media, the Mesh, social enterprise, futurology, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, cradle-to-cradle, open source, open data, user generated content (UGC).

(source: http://www.thepeoplewhoshare.com/blog/what-is-the-sharing-economy/


Sharing economy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The sharing economy (sometimes referred to as the post-scarcity economy, peer-to-peer, mesh, or collaborative economy; also collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.[1] These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.[2] A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.[3]

Collaborative consumption as a phenomenon is a class of economic arrangements in which participants share access to products or services, rather than having individual ownership.[4][5] Often this model is enabled by technology and peer communities.[6]

The collaborative consumption model is used in marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, Tradepal and Krrb, emerging sectors such as social lending, peer-to-peer accommodation, peer-to-peer travel experiences, peer-to-peer task assignments or travel advising, car sharing or commute-bus sharing.[7]




This Week, Exploring The Sharing Economy

November 11, 2013 3:15 PM ET
 Citi Bike is the bike sharing program that launched this May in New York City. Bike sharing is part of the sharing economy.i

Citi Bike is the bike sharing program that launched this May in New York City. Bike sharing is part of the sharing economy.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As often as we can, your tech team is focusing our reporting into themes over the course of a week, and this week, we're all aboutthe sharing economy, or collaborative consumption. (Check out the series page where we'll archive all the stories from the week.)

The sharing economy can encompass a lot. There's tool sharing — whether that's bike-sharing, car-sharing or actual sharing-sharing. It also includes a subset called the peer economy, which describes peer-to-peer platforms in which people sell things to one another. There's also a subset called the "gift economy," which is stuff like couch-surfing through platforms like Airbnb. Speaking of which, the Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia described this movement this way, to New York Magazine:

"Social media is about sharing online. We've extended that behavior into the offline world. In the wake of the recession, there's a slightly different mentality beginning to emerge, which is that access is more powerful than ownership. The last century was predicated around ownership as status. There's an opportunity for this century to be defined by access as status. You see this across all industries. Zipcar is a great example. You don't need to own a car; having access to Zipcar actually gets you status. Suddenly, you can be the guy with the car when it's needed. For Airbnb, you don't need a vacation home anymore. You have access to 500,000 of them when you want them."

How much of an impact is this culture having on our economy?

"The numbers around the sharing economy are actually pretty murky," says Denise Cheng, who researches this economy at the MIT Center for Civic Media. "A lot of the sharing economy is actually fueled by startups, and startups tend to be very, very cagey with their data," she says.


gift economy




An economy based on giving in the context of relationship rather than making transactions simply for profit or personal material gain. This is in contrast to barter or commercial economies which rely on exchange of goods or labor for money - or for goods and labor of equal monetary value. Altruism is sometimes viewed as the basis for spreading wealth throughout a gift economy. However, the individual giver actually benefits indirectly. For example, social status and support in times of need may be obtained by those who give to others in the group or community. Most economies rely on both commercial aspects such as paid work and gift aspects such as volunteer or unpaid work.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/gift-economy.html#ixzz3I4gl2sHD





Community is woven from gifts. Unlike today's market system, whose built-in scarcity compels competition in which more for me is less for you, in a gift economy the opposite holds. Because people in gift culture pass on their surplus rather than accumulating it, your good fortune is my good fortune: more for you is more for me. Wealth circulates, gravitating toward the greatest need. In a gift community, people know that their gifts will eventually come back to them, albeit often in a new form. Such a community might be called a "circle of the gift."




The same transition to the gift is underway in the social realm. Many of us no longer aspire to financial independence, the state in which we have so much money we needn't depend on anyone for anything. Today, increasingly, we yearn instead for community. We don't want to live in a commodity world, where everything we have exists for the primary goal of profit. We want things created for love and beauty, things that connect us more deeply to the people around us. We desire to be interdependent, not independent. The gift circle, and the many new forms of gift economy that are emerging on the Internet, are ways of reclaiming human relationships from the market.








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