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Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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July 09, 2008

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Out Wrong

So what is the "good cause" that you refer too? Some altruistic ideal of helping the "less fortunate?"
What if a person took those five minutes and took better care of herself? That's a "good cause" I can get behind.

Digidave

"Good cause" is of course interpretable. If you need to "work on yourself" far be it from me to tell you not to.

But some people feel good when they help others.

Alice Casey

I really like the way you put it in your post:

"The idea is simple - if you are a lawyer, review a document for a nonprofit. If you are a doctor answer a medical question sent to an anonymous "Dear Abby" type account. Or if you speak another language, do five minutes of translation. No matter what your skill - you can probably donate a little expertise to somebody who needs it to further a good cause."

I think that coming from a perspective of not wasting time and actually transforming dead time or 'boredom' into something meaningful could really lift both the individual and do some good for another person/group.

To the commenter above, I would venture to say that we ought to stop being so interospective and focused on the internal 'fixing' of ourselves and instead turn outwards to other people - you learn alot about the inner you and grow as a person through this process.

Indeed, as the commenter above puts it..."some people feel good when they help others." I'd say this is true of most rather than some - its just a matter of shoehorning this stuff into our increasingly packed lives.

Something has to give in this time-pressed environment - and too often its neighbourly behaviour and our own good mental health! (That's my own London perspective anyway...)

Alan Booker

Clay certainly gained both admiration and scorn for his novel take on the metamorphosis and changing use of life forces/free time that has taken place over the last few decades.

His creative use of language, “civic surplus, social lubricant, architecture of participation,” is certainly refreshing.

What he calls “cognitive” surplus might be a little bit of a narrow view point though. It might not only be taking place on a cognitive level!

His take is certainly a great introduction to a concept that is unbelievably interesting and worthy of much examination.

Clay’s, what I would call “new thinking,” opens up the question of both community involvement, virtual or otherwise and possibilities of every thing from global awareness to very specific elements of personal development.

His focus upon the “collective” element opens up the question not only of free will but collective/conscious free will.

What are the cultural or societal shifts that have made collective/conscious participation a possibility?
What/where are the roots of the changing landscape and the transformation of society, particularly in regard to social networking and the myriad spin-offs such as CS and the like?

Hey out wrong, a good cause must surely be a very personal thing that cannot be dictated by another person. Your point was a good one; developing or maintaining personal health and wellness could be the starting point/foundation needed to cast ones view upon benefits to a larger communities/societal goals or needs.

Regards, Alan

Jeff Howe

Just coming back from my vacation, but I wanted to pop into this post to note that Yochai Benkler takes a stab at estimating the size of this "volunteer surplus" in his book The Wealth of Networks and comes up with the amazing number of 6 billion hours *per day.* This is a pie-in-the-sky calculation, of course. It assumes that everyone in the world has at least one spare hour to devote to some collaborative/crowdsourcey/altruistic effort. Given that only some 1.3 billion people are actually online, this estimate is surely on the high side, but his purpose is just to show a sort of Platonic potential. As a mental exercise, I found it useful and quoted it in the book.

kraloyun

Just coming back from my vacation, but I wanted to pop into this post to note that Yochai Benkler takes a stab at estimating the size of this "volunteer surplus" in his book The Wealth of Networks and comes up with the amazing number of 6 billion hours *per day.* This is a pie-in-the-sky calculation, of course. It assumes that everyone in the world has at least one spare hour to devote to some collaborative/crowdsourcey/altruistic effort. Given that only some 1.3 billion people are actually online, this estimate is surely on the high side, but his purpose is just to show a sort of Platonic potential. As a mental exercise, I found it useful and quoted it in the book.

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