Raise your hand if.......

you've ever heard of crowdsourcing.


Oh no....... you were just stretching........

Well, I had to do a little extra reading on the matter to feel like I had a better understanding of just what this "crowdsourcing" encompassed exactly. Did i fully achieve that? NO. But I have at least a working understanding of it, which, it seems to me is all anyone else really has either.

And that's because the term is so new (2006), it's really just settling in. The concept, however, is far from new. It's just that now it seems to be reaching a crescendo. Wikipedia (which I'm glad I can reference in an informal setting, if not a more academic one, and get away with it) noted that the Oxford English Dictionary was put together by a form of crowdsourcing by soliciting volunteer definitions of thousands of words on pieces of paper - in the 1800s.

What's confusing about defining crowdsourcing is figuring out what qualifies, and why. It's not mere volunteerism, as it appears. And even that could lead to some form of compensation, depending on the arrangement. Neither does it preclude upfront compensation (though I'm sure that's rare; it certainly limits the scope of the net you could cast).

Whatever it is, i'm certain we'll be seeing more of it, particularly as companies are crunched for resources, and the access to "human capital" has never been greater. It's just smart really.

There are certainly some ethical and moral concerns, along with more practical ones for the entities concerned, as sometimes these attempts backfire and end up costing them more than they otherwise would've had they simply hired qualified individuals to oversee and carry out a particular task.

Speaking of Wikipedia (since we can, freely, in this type of setup), I can think, immediately, of no greater success in "crowdsourcing" (Can I stop putting that in quotations? I feel like I still should, for some reason). And yet, their founder, Jimmy Wales (cousin of Sarah Barracuda) is averse to the term.

Here's the exchange:

Q: Do you worry people will suddenly decide they don't want to contribute for free and demand to be paid?

A: We haven't seen anything remotely like that ... because it's fun. One of my rants is against the term "crowdsourcing," which I think is a vile, vile way of looking at that world. This idea that a good business model is to get the public to do your work for free - that's just crazy. It disrespects the people. It's like you're trying to trick them into doing work for free.

What you're really in the business of is providing a nice place for people to come and do what they want to do. We're going to use advertising to build this social place, and people will come only if we provide them with tools and the social environment they need to have fun. If the by-product of that is some amazing work, that's great, too.

Wow captain bullshit! You've really convinced me.........

Anyone else?

No comments: