DIY is also not just about making things; it’s about breaking established models of thinking and questioning traditional approaches to living. DIY is also not making stuff by yourself but with like-minded groups and social networks who share knowledge, techniques, tools and give regognition.
There are many factors and social changes that have contributed to the rise of DIY. The main drivers behind this trend or movement, which is shared in many subcultures, are:
1. The change of meanings of the concepts of work and labor. Most Americans don’t work with tools like saws or hammers anymore, but with computers and social media. The environment they work in has also changed from real physical places to virtual spaces. A lot of free time is spent on-line and the line between free time and work time has blurred. The appreciation of free time and the projects done on your own time have become more evident. This structural change in work and lifestyles has gotten people to long for physical, real world experiences and to appreciate hands-on work (aka DIY).
2. The rise of professional amateurs. These passionate hobbyists can even surpass experts and usually want to contribute and share their expertise with other like-minded as well as with companies they appreciate. People’s knowledge and capabilities have increased and they have access to highly developed but also affordable designing and manufacturing tools, this means that they can professionally produce things by them selves.
3. Open source everything. The ideals of open source have gained momentum also in other fields than software and the value of crowd sourcing and sharing of knowledge and techniques has become a key to success in big companies as well as in smaller communities. The ideals of open source are also one key element of DIY.
4. Social media and networking services provide platforms for sociability and become thriving hubs for collaboration. DIY is about making things together and the communities around it are based on sharing (open source), providing, acknowledging, creating and learning. Even if the members of different subcultures and communities share the DIY ideals of hands-on making and physical doing, a big part of their interaction and strengthening of their community happens in virtual worlds.
5. From consuming masses to thinking and producing individuals. Consumers are turning away from faceless mass production and big retail to look for authenticity, individuality and stories and people behind the products. This movement is also linked to the rise of ethical values and to the concern for equal treatment of workers in Asia and developing countries, where most of good are produced.
6. Sustainable and economical consumption replace conspicuous consumption. In times of economic and ecological crisis people tend to decrease their consumption and buy long lasting, quality products that don’t carry un-ecological burden. DIY is driven also by ecological values and is all about re-making, re-using and reducing.