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Simple Crowdsource Motivation for Start-ups

10 Mar Posted by in on learning | 1 comment
Simple Crowdsource Motivation for Start-ups
 

Key Takeaways

  • Definition and history of crowdsourcing.
  • Get tips how to motivate crowd particiaption.
  • Learn why voluntary contribution is better for the internet.

“Crowdsourcing taps into the global world of ideas, helping companies work through a rapid design process. You outsource to large crowds (hence the word: crowdsourcing) in an effort to make sure your products or services are right.

What makes crowdsourcing so powerful is the broad participation that takes place at relatively no costs. Solutions are generated from volunteers or free lance professionals who get paid only if you use their ideas.”
- Anonymous from the Power of Crowdsourcing

Creating content for my magazine is an all passion consuming task. I daydream mid-day about topics that will peak your interest, and I stay up late nights editing and writing .

The same stories on Facebook, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, and Twitter are a whimful hobby for an unrecruited cast of volunteers.  Infact, most of the content team is putting stuff together while multitasking at a full-time job or posting from a smartphone while doing something as attention consuming as driving, God forbid.

Crowdsourcing has created the modern day equivalent of Egypt’s pyramids on the web:  world wide street map, finding free sales leads, and editor and cheif of the entire internet . No doubt crowdsourcing is the future of the web, but why do so many volunteer for a job that is solely the heart of any website ?

The other day I came across an article on Ad Age.com where a guest contributor was calling on advertising creatives to push the envelope on their online messaging. The article struck a cord with me because he really grabbed at core ideals of the internet today. It got me thinking of what our experience would be if bloggers and website startups could grasp on to  the concept of  the “What If ?”  internet.

Master at winning crowd motivation

Open source is a gift from a generation before us, but close relatives like user-generated content and crowdfunding are pivotal to the new brand collaborative web projects that have evolved the current generation of social web startups.

The term crowdsourcing was coined by Jeff Howe, in the June 2006 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”.  The  etymology of this word is so grand in today’s version of the web, I asked Peter Organisciak, a PhD student studying Digital Humanities at the University of Illionois and author one of the simplest guides to learning how to motivate crowds on the web for a better understanding of  the concepts.

“When Jeff coined the term, people ran away with it and expanded on the meaning of the term. They realized ‘ There has been this thing going on online  for a while and its not just business’. There was open source and many other sites like that and nobody had a good word for it. So crowdsourcing came about a lot later, but everybody sort of liked that word and they ran away with it because it sort of made sense. When you hear the word you sort of understand what people are talking about, outsourcing to a lot of people”, said  Peter Organisciak.

The ultimate priority of a successful crowdsource site has to be creating authentic altruistic community value, free exchange of ideas, and user based interaction.  Concurrently these are the values at the core of the internet.


Organisciak has studied over 300 crowdsourcing sites and has a built a Delicious directory of around 1000 bookmarks pertaining to the topic of crowdsourcing.  His master thesis on crowd motivation,  demonstrates his expertise on the subject.

“I am seeing more and more sites move towards a good balance where they are not just trying to cash in but, they create something that people like . Then people don’t mind so much that they are making money because they love what’s being offered to them.”

Crowdsourcing has already produced some of the most awesome experiences for today’s web users, but more importantly it has evened the playing ground for smaller site owners to access a work resource that bring what would otherwise be impossible .

User-centered communities are good for the internet, and they might be your best option if you are on a boot strapping, small budget or if funding is a challenge for you.

Organisciak’s work proves that the audiences that were motivated by money, were less effective at producing valuable content than those motivated to volunteer. Think about creating a cause that motivates when you plan your next startup.

Crowdsourcing is even better for content. The crowdsource environment fosters creativity because it offers an individual a supportive community to maybe push their creative juices a little more. If everyone else is jumping off the bridge, it makes it that much more attractive.

More Crowd MotivatorsPeter’s List of 15 Crowd Motivators

  • Community Participation
  • Forced Participation
  • Self-Benefit
  • Interest/Passion
  • Incidental
  • Academia
  • Charity
  • Money
  • Fun
  • Boredom
  • Desire to leave their mark
  • Sense of Obligation
  • Validation (my own personal addition)
  • The future is bright for this subsection of the new internet, as more and more social based web start-ups seek wide scale content resources and more entrepreneurs attempt private and independently funded ventures. Crowdsourcing has given way to a new lifestyle on the web called “share communities”. Trendwatching recently included sharing as a trend to watch in 2011.  A great resource to look up if you want to learn more about share communities is Lisa Gansky’s book “The Mesh”. I am reading it and its is a phenomenal read.

    It is still pretty new, and I even recommended it to Peter Organisciak because he had never heard of it.  Check out the directory on her blog too, it details great crowdsourced sites. (Lisa if you ever read this, I’d love to hear your comments)  Oh yeah and if you decide to make your next start on crowdsourced content be sure to upgrade to the dedicated server package, if you are hosting your sites on a shared environment. You will need the bandwith.

    What are your plans for how to put this article to use ? Please share in the comments.


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    1. peter organisciak » Blog Archive » Interview on planning crowd projects04-04-11