Thursday, December 12, 2013

Crowd-Sourcing: A World of Possibilities

The internet’s Pandora box is churning out new stuff by the minute. New apps, new concepts and a constant exchange of ideas have made the internet more powerful than ever before. But in this quagmire of unlimited possibilities, there are only so many things that can actually make a difference when it comes to addressing issues that affect our lives every day. One of such ideas is the idea of crowd-sourcing.

We have dropped the name, but what does it really mean?

Crowd- Sourcing is not a new concept per se. It was coined by two editors of the Wired Magazine, Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, back in 2006. It is a method of getting work, or funding by a large group of people, who are connected through the web.  Crowd- Sourcing also pertains to micro tasking, where small, repetitive tasks are performed by a small group of online workers.  Another way by which Crowd- Sourcing works is by source designing, where tasks such as logo designing is completed by interested people, say, in form of a contest.
One of the best known examples of a Crowd- Sourced website is Wikipedia. It collects articles from contributors and presents it to the user in the form of an easy to use encyclopedia. Another example of Crowd-funded site is Trevolta which allows travelers to exchange ideas for travel so as to raise funds for their travels. Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app, leverages Crowd-Sourcing to help drivers navigate through traffic. Social ventures such as IChangeMyCity and Zerocrime are using Crowd-Sourcing to create a map of issues that affect citizens.

Crowd- Sourcing seems to be a great idea because it helps to reduce the former inhibitions which used to antagonize the free flow of thoughts and opinions. Through the internet, ideas can now be shared across the world at the click of a button. In recent times where privacy and anonymity are of huge importance, internet can ensure that they are respected. Also Crowd- Sourcing can help reduce the cost and time involved in gathering information by a single entity. The concept is also advantageous for government agencies to gain knowledge into the problems that citizen’s face, as well as see the solution that these citizens themselves suggest.

Crowd-Sourcing is a great way to bring together ideas and opinions to create something truly innovative. We will now leave it up to you to decide, whether Crowd- Sourcing is just a concept, or a world of possibilities, waiting to be explored.

Article written by Vistrit Choudhary, a writer and volunteer with the Zerocrime initiative

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