People Powered Buzzword Du Jour: Crowdsourcing
from the amateur-to-amateur-to-professional dept
Over the last few years, as people have recognized the power of the internet as a communications platform rather than a broadcasting platform, different people have come up with different ideas to express the new business models this allows. This has ranged from the joke that Web 2.0 is made of people to the more scholarly work of Greg Lastowka and Dan Hunter about how "amateur to amateur" changes the way we think about content creation, promotion and consumption. It looks like Wired Magazine is now taking a stab at naming the phenomenon as well, describing the concept of "crowdsourcing." Basically it's not that different than the digital working class concept we discussed last week, but with a catchy name. While jumping on the buzzword bandwagon doesn't always make sense, there are important ideas to consider across all of these discussions. It's the basic recognition of how the internet has enabled new forms of production that simply weren't possible before. It then raises two issues: how does that challenge existing ways of doing business and what types of companies spring up to take advantage of the new possibilities. We've seen plenty of examples recently of how, especially within the entertainment industry, the traditional business has dealt with these concepts by fighting the inevitable trends. However, it's encouraging to see one of the examples in the Wired story is a program set up by Eli Lilly to encourage anyone to help companies tackle problems they're having, in exchange for a reward. It's a case where companies are recognizing that sometimes a fresh perspective is quite valuable, rather than assuming that they need to somehow protect their traditional way of doing business. Unfortunately, as with many buzzwords, expect to start seeing lots of new business models that talk up how they're leveraging "crowdsourcing" when the truth will be that very few are actually doing so.