Thought communes died along with other hippie ideals decades ago? Wrong. WeCommune, a piece of networking software launching this week, is banking on the resurgence of grassroots organizing. The software will offer commune-specific management features, such as ridesharing and bartering systems. WeCommune's basic Web-based platform will be free, with more complex services available for a monthly fee of less than $2.
The idea for WeCommune came from founder Stephanie Smith's Wanna Start a Commune? project, which launched three cul-de-sac communes in Southern California. Smith discovered that the test communes didn't have tools to bring together schedules and resources for large projects like neighborhood gardens and disaster preparedness plans. And so WeCommune was born.
The software's definition of "commune" is broad, defining any group of three or more people with a shared interest or zip code as, well, a commune. Smith uses the Wikipedia definition of "a community in which resources are shared." In an interview with NPR, Smith proclaimed that every neighborhood, apartment building, and office building is a commune. That means the WeCommune software might just be the next big social networking service for groups of friends, colleagues, and neighbors hoping to pool their resources for all sorts of projects—socially-conscious or not.