Musings of a PR Professional

Chapter 8: Working with Crowds

Crowdsourcing is the focus of this chapter. Crowdsourcing is “the process of organizing many people to participate in a join project, often in small ways” according to authors Kanter and Fine. Some examples of crowd sourcing include voting, funding, and creation of new knowledge, products, etc. The rise of social media has exacerbated the notion of crowdsourcing because now it can be done easily and is virtually free.

However, where Kanter and Fine are proponents of this collective activism strategy, Dan Woods, chief technology officer and editor of Evolved Technologist wrote an op-ed article for Forbes called The Myth of Crowdsourcing. Essentially, Woods argues that even though organizations crowds do not create, expert individuals do. He cites Wikipedia as an example saying that a majority of the articles on that site is are products of motivated individual contributors, rather than many people coming together to add a sentence on the topic at a time.

I believe that a lot of the reason why Kanter and Fine strongly believe in the successes of crowdsourcing where Woods does not has to do with the fact that nonprofits and for-profit businesses have very different goals and therefore different reasons for crowdsourcing in the first place. For example, as Woods says, “…let’s not call it crowdsourcing and pretend that 10,000 average Joes invent better products than Steve Jobs.” True, but nonprofits aren’t usually trying to woo consumers or create the next big thing, they are trying to get people interested in their cause.

As such, I believe that the process of coming and working together to create something is a large part of the . This engagement between individuals and individuals and the organization with which they are working- creates meaningful rapport because they are motivated and willing enough to put forth effort for a cause. When an organization can elicit activity from a crowd of people, they are building lasting relationships that they can call upon later.


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