By: Bennett Florence
Crowdsourcing – What does it mean to us?
The first known example of crowdsourcing dates back to 1861. In this year, William Russell, one of the largest investors in the Pony Express, decided to attempt to deliver Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address from the eastern end of the telegraph line in Nebraska, to the western end of the telegraph line, in Nevada. His goal was to deliver the speech as quickly as possible. He organized fresh relay horses every ten miles along the route. It took an astonishing seventeen days and seven hours after he spoke them to reach western Nevada.
In 2008, president Obama’s inaugural speech reached the far ends of the world, from Washington DC, within seconds.
The emergence and popularity of crowdsourcing to complete projects has become a force that we can no longer ignore. With technology increasingly becoming available to everyone, the level of collaboration amongst peers will continue to grow.
Wikipedia took 100 million hours to create, completely run by crowd contributions. In the USA alone, people watch 200 billion hours of television in one weekend. It’s staggering to think that the current Wikipedia that we know now could have been created in one weekend alone.
Crowdsourcing to create television commercials is becoming more popular than ever. The past couple of years, Doritos has completely eliminated the idea of hiring a creative ad agency to produce their Superbowl commercials. Instead, they encourage the audience to create and produce their own spots in a contest to have it shown during the big game. The website Tongal has caught on to this trend, creating paid contests to encourage users to fully execute an entire ad campaign for various clients of theirs.
How does this relate to technology you ask? The unknown question, is how far away we currently are from utilizing crowdsourcing to create full businesses and technological products. Through crowdsourcing websites and technology, various people across the country can now collaborate on projects, and essentially pick and choose their level of involvement and ownership in each.
I was originally going to speak on the topic of Google Glass and its potential impact on society. However, I couldn’t find enough information on its features. While conducting unsuccessful research, I came across a Google promotion. They were offering the opportunity to purchase an early prototype of the glasses if your tweet won the prize for the most creative entry. The hashtag was #IfIHadGlass. If you haven’t figured out what I’m getting at here, the all mighty untouchable Google, is now turning to the people to suggest additional features for their cutting edge, never seen before product. Crowdsourcing at its best folks.