A term coined by Jeff Howe in 2006, crowdsourcing has been widely used by businesses and even everyday people. Crowdsourcing is the phenomenon of using tools such as the web to gather information then outsourcing them to an unidentified group.
For instance, websites and blogs often generate content that they have gathered from other websites. “Crowdsourcing has virtually overnight generated huge buzz, enthusiasm, and fear. It’s the application of the open-source idea to any field outside of software, taking a function performed by people in an organization, such as reporting done by journalist, research and product development by scientists, or design of a T-shirt, for example, and in effect outsourcing it through an open-air broadcast on the Internet.” Says Jeff Howe in his Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.
In my opinion, crowdsourcing is a success in many ways; with websites like Groupon, and blogs like Bloglovin, word about products and content really becomes wide-spread. Since crowdsorucing essentially captures groups that share common interests and passions, a company would generate a crowd no matter what because there is always someone out there looking for that particular content.
Groupon.com has definitely been a success story. They provide the community with deals on restaurants, leisure activities, vacations, etc. As long as the set number of people buys that specific deal, then the deal is on. This calls the consumers to come together in order to accomplish a set goal.
Through crowdsourcing, many citizens are now able to come together for a great cause and even organize protests like never before.According to the article The Power of Crowdsourcing, “What makes crowdsourcing so powerful is the broad participation that takes place at relatively no costs.” Instead of traditionally going out into the community and seeking potentials who share your views, you can now easily find them through the internet. Through social media outlets, events can be organized effectively with efficiency and convenience while reaching a broader spectrum of people.
Although crowdsourcing has worked in favor of businesses, citizen journalists, and even individuals, it has caused problems for traditional journalists and the journalism world as a whole. Since many websites simply pull in content from all over the web as long as the content is related to their interests, many of them do not care for the credibility of the content or whether the content is accurate and unbiased.
In addition, with the boom of blogs like The Bleacher Report, where content is generated by citizen journalists for free, it causes conflicts for paid journalists. These citizen journalists would still be considered journalists since they are reporting news, however if they don’t have to be paid then why should other journalists be paid? If online content can be produced and sustained by free journalists, I believe our profession will continue in this downhill slope.
The only question is, how accurate and objective are those unpaid journalists? Do they do the same fact-checking as traditional journalists or do they simply report on whatever they can find? This is a lot to consider because crowdsourcing has made great impacts in our society, but how it’s used can be positive or negative.