A lot can happen in a week. Nine days ago Scott Laine, a colleague of mine in the New York office of Wired snapped this shot off his browser:
At that time, Google returned three hits from a search for "crowdsourcing." One linked back to the Web site created by the illustrator on the story, James Jean. Another linked to an interview with Steve Silberman, a fellow contributing editor at the magazine. The third linked to a comment by VC Steve Jurvetson. Sending me the Websnap, Scott said I'd want it as a historical document. I was skeptical: The June issue of Wired had just hit the stands, and while I was proud of the story, I hardly expected the explosion of interest that quickly followed. A google search now produces 182,000 returns.The volume of mentions is less significant than the nature of those mentions: "crowdsourcing" now has its own Wikipedia entry, and seems to have been adopted by Valleywag as a euphemism for click-slavery. And if we need yet more evidence that the cycle of adoption to commercialization to satirization has hit light speed, Supr.c.ilio.us gives the term new meaning in this entry. As mentions of crowdsourcing really only picked up steam this past Thursday, I'd estimate the lifespan of this particular cycle at 48 hours.
Fortunately, the subject is receiving more serious treatment as well. I'm going offline for a few days for a much-needed fly-fishing trip in British Columbia, where I've come to work on my next Wired story. Next week I'll cover a few of the blogs and Web sites that are exploring crowdsourcing concepts in greater earnestness. There's nothing wrong with a buzzword if it actually signifies a meaningful trend or development; it's my belief crowdsourcing does just that.