Sunday, July 1, 2012

Open Couch Request, why?

When you become a power hoster in the couch surfing world you can begin to put yourself on a bit of a pedastal. I am lucky enough that I have barely brushed the elitist attitudes of many of my fellow power hosts and still host for the cultural exchange. I am not going to deny though that the surfers who take that extra effort to be a good guest rate highly in my books.

One issue that is raised quite heavily with the super hosts is the lack of personal requests. Considering the amount of effort it is required to host its often seen that the surfer should at least write a detailed personal request when they want a free bed, but with the newest addition of the OCR (open couch request) suddenly the pressure is put back on the host. The idea that the host chooses the surfer seems to some to create more burden on an already stretched host.

With the kitchen being redone I have had my couch off for several months only occasionally accepting OCRS. I ran a statisitic of current OCR's I accepted in my town. Bear in mind all OCRs unreturned I accepted within 24hrs notice.

Out of 15 OCRs sent out

4 x No response

3 x Declined nicely with reply
1 x Accepted then cancelled by text on the day of being hosted (she was nice about it but I was slightly annoyed)
3 x accepted & were "good" surfers. Nothing bad nothing spectacular.
4 x AWESOME surfers. +4 extras that came as add ons with my awesome surfers that were also AWESOME!!!

I never put a lot of effort into my invites generally just a line or two saying to read my couch description and that I would be happy to host them. By this the effort I took to invite people who never responded doesn't really phase me. But what I did get out of the experience was eight awesome people who surpassed many of my personal request surfers. So if I was to take the attitude that surfers should take the effort to send me personal requests I would have missed out on meeting these people. I know I can't be friends with everyone despite my best efforts and that a couchsurfer missed can be quite easily replaced with another but its hard to imagine my life without them in it.

OCR can also be a little bit about real life. If everyone sits around waiting for people to make the effort to talk to them then a lot of connections could be missed. I know I have a bit of a lonely hearts complex where I seem to befriend lonely people quite reguarly.  I hate the thought of all these people not having friends just because they perhaps lack the certain social skills to create friendships. There always has to be someone to make the first step and thinking your better than everyone else so they should come to you is not a good mind frame.

So overall I like the OCR system combined with a personal request system. Really its proven to me that there are some amazing people I just haven't met yet.

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