Crowdsourcing: or Generating Meaningful Online Activity

What is crowdsourcing? Wikipedia states that “Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.” Wikipedia itself is a crowdsourcing project.  There are over 3.5 million articles that have been written for the English version of Wikipedia by people like you and me.  Why do you want to have your users or patrons generate meaningful activity for you online? Search engines are crawling the web every day. The easiest way to be found on the internet is to have everyone contribute a small piece of content, instead of having a few people generate thousands of articles, comments, posts, and buzz for you. Why do people participate in a crowdsourced project?

  1. The prize is irresistible.
  2. Making the product is entertaining.
  3. The product is valuable to the participant.

If you want people to participate in a meaningful way with your product online, your efforts should hit as many of these targets as possible.  Notable sites, projects, and contests that have been crowdsourced:

NetFlix Prize Ever wonder how NetFlix can predict your new favorite movies? They held a competition for the best new algorithm for predicting user ratings. The grand prize was $1 million dollars. A prize of that size had top academic researchers and commoners alike pounding away at NetFlix’s biggest challenge: Knowing what you want to watch.

DSBTheMovie is a short film that was entirely produced by volunteers worldwide. Though there was no prize, participants were able to work on their craft and add the experience to their resumes. The coordinator of the event created this step-by-step crowdsourcing slideshow that describes how he managed it all.

Crowd Sourcing And Humanistic Psychology is a website and tool anyone can use to fund their ideas. How does it work? Make a page describing your idea and funding goal. If your idea is exciting and people like your plan, they can pledge to financially support you. If you reach your pledge goal, you receive the funds! If not, start over!

Need more inspiration for your own user generated content project? Visit the List of Crowdsourcing Projects on Wikipedia. Have you had a successful project? A flop? Share it!