For other uses, see Share.
Sharing food

Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space. In its narrow sense, it refers to joint or alternating use of inherently finite goods, such as a common pasture or a shared residence. It is also the process of dividing and distributing. Apart from obvious instances, which we can observe in human activity, we can also find many examples of this happening in nature. When an organism takes in nutrition or oxygen for instance, its internal organs are designed to divide and distribute the energy taken in, to supply parts of its body that need it. Flowers divide and distribute their seeds. In a broader sense, it can also include free granting of use rights to goods that can be treated as nonrival goods, such as information. Still more loosely, "sharing" can actually mean giving something as an outright gift: for example, to "share" one's food really means to give some of it as a gift. Sharing is a basic component of human interaction, and is responsible for strengthening social ties and ensuring a person’s well-being.[1]

In a market

Sharing disjoints the connection between usage and ownership of a product. Products are often sold because a buyer intends to use the product or the buyer intends to sell it to someone who will use it, thus sharing a product may reduce the product's demand by reducing the number of people who intend to acquire it to use it. Though sharing is touted as an economical and environmental aid to the public (carpooling, shared apartments, etc.), some businesses perceive it as a threat because of its assumed effect on their profitability.

The concept of copyright makes some sharing illegal for certain intangible goods. This provides an economic incentive for the creation of informative, entertaining, or useful content by enforcing a monopoly price for a certain time period. On the other hand, prohibiting sharing has its own economic costs for consumers and producers of derivative works. Limitations and exceptions to copyright and patents include scope, duration, and doctrines such as fair use to balance these competing interests.

Sharing figures prominently in gift economies, but also can play a significant role in market economies, for example in car sharing. Share housing is a common and informally negotiated example of sharing of householders' labour (for example, in the form of housework).

In households

Plant sharing

Resource sharing - called kaláka in Hungarian - is an old tradition in Hungary. Young couples had to build their house after marriage. Marriage itself was called házasodás in Hungarian (en: becoming the owner of a house). When doing so the whole community, relatives and acquintances helped the young couple with work, knowledge and even money. At pigsticking all members of the community got their shares too. Superflouos plants were freely distributed for neighbours in the season.

In computer and Internet culture

File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multi-media (audio, video), documents, or electronic books. It may be implemented through a variety of ways. Storage, transmission, and distribution models are common methods of file sharing incorporate manual sharing using removable media, centralized computer file server installations on computer networks, World Wide Web-based hyperlinked documents, and the use of distributed peer-to-peer networking (see peer-to-peer file sharing).

Sharing is a key feature in the developing field of free software and open source software, with implications for economics. This is leading to a need to review licensing, patents and copyright, and to controversy in these areas, as well as new approaches like Creative Commons and the GPL.

More generally, sharing is also the word used to describe people's very participation in the platforms and services known as Web 2.0.[2]

In computer science

In computer science, the issue of handling shared resources figures prominently. For example, time-sharing is an approach to interactive computing in which a single computer is used to provide apparently simultaneous interactive general-purpose computing to multiple users by sharing processor time. Sharing of resources between processes and threads is the source of most of the difficulties of concurrent programming. The word "sharing" is also used in some functional programming communities to refer specifically to sharing of memory between different data items to save space, otherwise known as hash consing.

In religions

Information, knowledge

अपूर्व: कोपि कोशोयं विद्यते तव भारति ।
व्ययतो वॄद्धिम् आयाति क्षयम् आयाति संचयात् ॥
  • Translation: Oh Goddess Saraswati, your treasure of knowledge (Vidya) is indeed very amazing! If used (shared) it grows and if unused (obscured) it shrinks!
Muhammad also said: "Whoever is asked about a knowledge that he knows about and then hides it and keeps it away, he will be bridled on the day of judgement with a bridle of fire."[6]

See also



  1. Poquérusse, Jessie. "The Neuroscience of Sharing". Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  2. John, Nicholas A. (2013) Sharing and Web 2.0: The emergence of a keyword. New Media & Society, March 2013 vol. 15 no. 2 167-182
  3. Sanskrit slokas about Vidya
  4. Vidya Daan: about
  5. Sunan Tirmidhi Tradition:4159, Sunan Ibn Majah Tradition:9784, Ibid Tradition:9785, Mishkat al-Masabih Tradition:216
  6. Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi
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