Crowdsourcing was a term that I wasn’t too familiar with. Sure, I’ve heard and understood the concept, but I didn’t know it was defined as crowdsourcing. So, for those of you, who like me, didn’t know what crowdsourcing meant I will define it simply, crowdsourcing is acquiring a service, content, or idea by distributing tasks to a large group of people.
The Web has made whatever service, content, or idea a person is searching for even easier to obtain. In “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” various examples are described of this occurrence. Take photography, for example. Years ago, people would pay hundreds of dollars for a photograph for advertising, websites, or anything else. But, it isn’t as easy for a photographer to make that money now. iStockphoto is a stock photo website that sells images for roughly one dollar each. Why would anybody spend hundreds of dollars then? To post or sell an image on iStockphoto you do not have to be a professional, any hobbyist, part-timer, or dabbler can join the effort – it’s just crowdsourcing.
IBM has also joined this “crowdsourcing movement.” The article “Jamming for a Smarter Plant” describes Jam, an “Internet-based platform for conducting conversations through brainstorming.” Jam allows students, business professionals, experts, and more to engage in conversation about particular topics from anywhere in the world.
This discussion of crowdsourcing made me think of Wikipedia – a website that solely relies on the general public to provide the content. Anybody is able to go in and edit a Wikipedia page, and while the company does try to fact check it some, how reliable is it? A lot of people refuse to use the website because they don’t think it is accurate. All of my teachers and professors in the past have forbidden us from using it. My boss is a huge advocate of the website though because it is a quick and easy way to look up a simple term that I may not have known. According to “Measuring Public Relations Wikipedia Engagement: How Bright is the Rule?” 60 percent of people believe that everything posted on Wikipedia is correct.
All in all, crowdsourcing has its pros and cons though. What are your thoughts on the matter?
How often do you use Wikipedia to learn about a new topic?
What are some other examples of Crowdsourcing?
Have you ever participated in IBM’s Jam or a similar brainstorming session? What was your experience like?