MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Crowd-sourcing is like outsourcing but without any contractual agreements. Web 2.0 has given companies access to the collective intelligence of the Internet. Crowd-sourcing employs the vast expanse of the web through willing participants to help solve or contribute to projects, issues and research (environmental scanning). Imagine having access to millions of perspectives, ideas and part-time employees without having to pay for any of it. That’s the nature of crowd-sourcing in a business environment. The downside of crowd-sourcing for business applications are: people’s suggestions may not jive with your companies current economic or communication strategy, contributors don’t necessarily have any investment with the company or its strategy, poor quality contribution or no contribution at all.

There are also many other applications for crowd-sourcing content as well. For example there are many successful crowd-sourced news websites. The most popular website, Digg allows users to vote up and down content based on the community’s collective influence. Digg’s  front page is highly desired by companies and communications practitioners because of the influence of the community.  Articles that make the front page of Digg have been ‘dugg’  by users all over the Internet, meaning that users have voted positively for that specific article. News-makers, bloggers and citizen journalists can add a Digg widget to their website so readers can ‘Digg’ content from their blog. The idea is that only the best and most interesting news will make it to the front pages of Digg because of the voting system. However there has been extensive criticism of Digg’s voting method.

 Crowd-sourced news sites all have different methods of displaying, ranking and selecting content but the commonality is that the content is either user-generated or user-supplied. 

Other news sites mentioned in our index are:

Newsvine – It’s differentiators include a live feed of content and it’s user rating system called ‘Vinacity” in which users ear ‘branches’ when they display any of their six key values of content sharing. 

Mixx – It’s differentiators is the ability to choose categories of interest, your ‘Mixx.’ This allows for personalization of content consumption and community building with news-makers in your areas of interest.

Reddit – This site is basically resembles a Twitter stream full of links to content. The community votes up or down content they think is valuable or interesting.

Hubdub  – Lets users predict outcomes of topical news stories. Users get ‘virtual money’ and bet on outcomes. This site is pretty interesting and can be pretty useful for acquiring statistical data about how the community feels about certain topics. Not surprisingly, sports is highly favored on this site but there are also interesting polls on how much the dollar will be worth on May 22 and whether H1N1 will be upgraded to level 6 or downgraded to level 4. I find that information excellent for gauging attitudes but not entirely accurate.

Crowd-sourcing is classic web 2.0. It’s use can be very helpful or worthless depending on how you use it. Web 2.0 tools can help execute strategies but can not hold their own.



May 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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