Digital Media Creatives Climb On Crowdsourcing Bandwagon
Crowdsourcing is a buzz right now.
Can digital media professionals use crowdsourcing to their advantage? First let’s be clear on the concept (and some pros and cons).
Crowdsourcing is another one of those dead simple concepts that’s been around for years then went all Web2.0 crazy with a catchy name that put it in the tech meme pool. It's like the way word-of–mouth became viral then became social media marketing. Now you stick the term social media on anything and it's buzz-worthy (at least for a little bit longer).
Wikipedia (itself an early example of crowdsourcing) defines crowdsourcing as "the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call." Jeff Howe first coined the term crowdsourcing in a June 2006 Wired magazine article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing”.
The Pros: The Lofty Ideal
We should be happy that many tasks still require real human eyeballs and creative brains not just robots or computer algorithms. So at its best, crowdsourcing is the notion that the Internet can provide the power of collective intelligence for solutions to some of the world’s important challenges. Hundreds, thousands or even millions of people from all over the world can focus on a predefined task or goal. There is still hope for us.
The Cons: Working on Spec
On the other hand, crowdsourcing can just be a way for companies to get work done on the cheap. Jobs normally handled by internal employees can now be posted on the Internet and many people who take on crowdsourced projects get paid pennies for their work. Yet, ironically, many business owners have found crowdsourced projects can sometimes end up costing more than traditionally outsourced projects. If you want to give it a try, read on.
Where to Find “Work”:
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, LiveWork, CrowdFlower and Squadhelp provide crowdsourcing services for a wide variety of tasks. But if you are a digital media professional you may want something else.
Crowdsourcing for Creatives ('cause we're special):
Specifically for digital media creatives, there are several new crowdsourcing sites to check out. The basic concept is a “matchmaker” service. A company or agency puts up a project with an outline, a creative brief or description of work required. Then designers or creative professionals sign up and take a shot at the project and submit a logo design, video spot or music track, etc. The client then has the “pick of the litter” sometimes from hundreds of submissions. The payment methods vary among services. Sometimes only the winner is paid and everyone else has another experience with the joy of spec work.