Language evolves. Words take on different nuances in response to social change (e.g. "gay"); sometimes they are co-opted into use when technological developments outstrip linguistic innovation and leave us short of adequate terminology (e.g. "floppy disk"). It's a fact that no amount of pedantry or protest can prevent this process. Nevertheless, it is worth pausing to consider whether the meaning of a word has become so changed as to become contradictory. If, for example, you thought that the verb 'to share' meant to give some of what you have to someone in need, then Facebook would have to disagree: its definition is to distribute, to spread around, to make available and, ultimately, to monetise (sell) information it does not really own.
The internet has enabled a whole, so-called sharing economy, one which encompasses a variety of activities from true sharing (as of information) through collaboration (as in pooling resources) to renting (as in, for example, Airbnb or Uber). At best, using "sharing" when you really mean "renting" degrades the meaning of the word and introduces confusion, potentially disenchanting those who would otherwise be attracted to the sharing economy. At worst, it's a cover for seeking out occasions when people are already sharing and turning these back into monetary exchanges. This shift in the meaning of sharing should cause us to think about how we understand and describe our interactions with each other.
Things have always changed: it's just that the pace is intensifying. I was staring idly out of the window of a coffee bar, watching a group of about ten infants and two adults walk by. The kids were all tied together at the waist with bright yellow webbing. I've never seen that before, but then I've never sat there before. It's an 'indie' (non-plc) 'pop-up' (temporary) business run by young people who are fanatical about coffee and couldn't care less about customer service. I usually go to a Cafe Néro where the baristas sometimes recognise me and remember my order. When they do I smile and give them a tip (yes, I know it's an intended consequence). But something has changed lately: they now have a contactless card payment system, which means that fewer customers - me included - have any cash about them with which to tip. The employees are suffering a consequent drop in income - for which I'm sorry - but we customers are also missing out. Payment by contactless (what an appropriate adjective) card diminishes the transaction by denying the opportunity of an increasingly rare moment of human interaction - the accidental brushing of fingertips as coins are passed; the meeting of eyes to affirm the deal; the exchange of smiles in recognition of a satisfactory conclusion. While you're waving your contactless card at the machine the barista has lost interest and moved on to the next customer. Your chances of an ongoing relationship have been damaged and an opportunity to share some of your loose change has been eliminated. You might as well go where tips are neither earned nor deserved.
Most of the baristas I encounter are immigrants - that is to say they are not native English-speakers - and with immigration being a hot topic in the present election campaign, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that they have formed a Barista Party, or at least a lobby group pledging support for whoever will guarantee them a continuing right to work in the UK, while pressing for a ban on contactless cards.
But they should beware of promises. The last government's mantra "we are all in this together" contained within it the suggestion that we would share the pain of the economic catastrophe caused by the banks. Apparently theirs is quite a different understanding of the verb to share.