By Piers Fawkes on June 4, 2006 in Global Community, Media & Publishing, TV & Film, User Generated Content, Work & Business, Youth
Wired Magazine (June 06) has a feature on the growth of crowdsourcing - companies working with large and often dispersed groups to solve business problems to create new opportunities. VH1 have been using home-made “viral videos” to mke the content of their popular Web Junk 20 series and now they intended to get more content by asking viewers to send in their clips. “I can imagine a time when all of our shows will have a user-generated component,” says Michael Hirschorn, executive VP of original programming at the music station.  InnocCentive is a site where global companies can get scientific problems fixed by a community of 90,000 “tinkerers”. 30% of the problems posted on the site are solved including a production problem for Palmolive Colgate. What’s interesting is that these tinkerers often solve problems outside their respected fields – this is because of the “strength of weak ties”: the most efficient networks are those tht link to the broadest range of experience, knowledge and expertise. Crowdsourcing does create some difficult challenges, though. Industries that were the domain of experts and craftsmen are being put under siege by armies of hobbyists. Professional photographers, who rely on a mix of fees from commissions and stock photography sales, are finding that their income from the latter is dropping dramatically.  iStockPhoto allows designers and companies to source stock photography from an opendatabase of photographs submitted by web-users. Why turn to Getty when you can get the rights to a photo for just a $1 at iStockphoto? We’ve seen the digital format beat the crap out of the music industry - and a similar process seems to have commenced in TV & film industry – but there are more industries and more jobs that will be affected by ‘crowdsourcing’ than we imagined. And because it’s mob rule – it’s unlikely it can be stopped. Professionals will need to reconsider how they make money from what they do – for many of us, it may not be direct from the creation of a product or a service anymore.
The article provides information on a number of the crowdsourcing sites and how crowdsourcing can be adopted to help solve difficult challenges.
A good read on how crowdsourcing is affecting different industries.