Crowdsourcing: A Joint Effort

For our COM400 “Social Media U Need 2 Know” class, myself and three other classmates, Timothy Killian, Leigh Ortman, and Charlotte Schaefer teamed up to research and present our findings about crowdsourcing. The first obstacle we faced was picking a topic that appealed to each of us, something that we could all get excited about and engage with. We found that crowdsourcing was the perfect answer for our group. After our initial research, we found that while everyone might not be familiar with the term ‘crowdsourcing’, once defined, almost everyone recognized that they had participated in crowdsourcing at some point in their life. The term was coined by Jeff Howe (@crowdsourcing) in his 2006 article in Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.06/crowds.html), “Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally preformed 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.” Once we had a starting point, we assumed the rest would be easy, we were wrong.

The biggest advantage of using multiple social media sources is that once the information or connections on one site appear to be exhausted, another platform comes to the rescue. Using twitter proved to be our most effective tool and although we made an attempt at exploiting Google+ ,we didn’t seem to get the results that everyone else did. What we did find helpful was organizing social media tools such as pearltrees (as seen below), Google docs and Google hangout. Although these tools didn’t help us gain more information, it helped us do something equally important, share information with our group members in real time and in an organized fashion.

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After our presentation, storify helped share our findings and classmate responses as well.

<script src=”http://storify.com/AlexandrakDolan/newcrowdsm4-crowdsourcing-twitter-stream.js”></script><noscript>%5B<a href=”http://storify.com/AlexandrakDolan/newcrowdsm4-crowdsourcing-twitter-stream&#8221; target=”_blank”>View the story “#NewCrowdSM4 Crowdsourcing Twitter Stream” on Storify</a>]</noscript>

In the end our biggest learning came from our frustrations. We had trouble getting experts to respond to us and help out with interview questions. After much disappointment we found that it was easiest to get the best results from certain sources, ie/ asking people who were speakers at Crowdconf opposed to article writers or CEOs. I think that our exposure to social media and networking sites forced us to become more comfortable using the tools in a natural way. We relied on curating and sharing information because our research depended on it and we became invested in crowdsourcing more than we were with the #NewhouseSM4 tag. It was fun to watch our group’s progress as we each gained a better understanding of both social media and crowdsourcing, a transformation that couldn’t have happened without group participation. In the end we got 18,000+ impressions, a feat so impressive hashtracking even retweeted Leigh!

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