Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jeff Howe on Crowdsourcing

There are numerous insights in Jeff Howe's book on crowdsourcing about how and why to engage people in building websites.

"Given the right set of conditions, the crowd will almost always outperform any number of employees-a fact that companies are becoming aware of and are increasingly attempting to exploit" (p. 11).

"Croudsourcing has the capacity to form the perfect meritocracy. Gone are pedigree, race, gender, age and qualification. What remains is the quality of the work itself" (13).

Howe relates a story by Linda Parker about the Cincinnati Enquirer in regards to their efforts to get the crowd involved in contributing stories. She said, "It used to read, 'Be a Citizen Journalist,' and no one ever clicked on it. Then we said, 'Tell us your story,' and still nothing. For some reason, 'Get Published' were the magic words." Howe notes, "There's a valuable lesson here: people want a voice, but that doesn't mean they'll use the vernacular of journalism" (106).

Howe, J. (2008). Crowdsourcing. New York: Crown Business.

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