Monday, 19 March 2012

Crowdsurfing into the age of Crowdsourcing

Trebor Scholz wrote an online article entitled Market Ideology and the Myths of Web 2.0,depicting the myths surrounding Web 2.0, but more so the future of the internet altogether. Within the article he touches on social networking, and states that “people like to be where other people are”. He uses this phrase to support the social networking sites such as facebook, and credits their success to the massive audience and dedicated users. Comparing it to previous networks such as myspce, and even before Facebook when there were sites, like for example, created for (in this case African-Americans) particular groups. Although Facebook and Twitter have been so explosive people are neglecting to remember that the internet has been used as a social networking site since 1973; when the invention of the first email, APRNET was introduced. As soon as social networking was exposed there came into being, a free labour execution partaken in by the clientele of the internet, and businesses. By going online and perusing the web you are acting as a host, and your actions directly correlate with marketing schemes. This has made it immensely easy for companies to draw in business without even selling a product, but rather selling a platform. The term crowdsourcing was introduced as a term meaning a job is offered, over the internet, to a large group of people who get paid little, to nothing for their labour. Flowing beyond the internet tasks are now being performed by customers themselves rather than the employees. Examples from this article are self-check-out counters, printing your own tickets in advance, or simply just disposing of trash when leaving a fast food restaurant.

Our society has glided towards a “self-help” alternative route, where we feel independent and assertive by performing our own tasks.

Technology has pushed us in this direction subtly but consistently. We can now use our credit, and debit cards to pump our own gas, and online banking allows us to remain responsible to our bills even in our pajamas. Crowdsourcing is a revolutionary and democratic design which allows the audience to conduct the show. This may be a metaphoric translation but it can also refer to the audience of shows such as American Idol, or Dancing with the stars. In both cases the audience decides who continues on in the competition and who is voted off. This is a marketing scheme to ensure that majority roles apply, and therefore more viewers will stay tuned in to, and support their favourite contestant.

Another example is that, regular citizens with hobbies like photography can be used instead of a real photographer that would be expensive to hire. Even using images that previously been taken can be obtained (with condolence from the photographer) and used again. In newspapers and magazines there are sections which share strictly readers’ comments, humours stories, or opinions. They are not getting paid to write in to these medias, but the media itself is filling pages without having to hire writers. It works because people like to hear others opinions, and be able to relate to them from the same perspective is desirable.

Technology is advancing and in doing so jobs are being cut. There is no longer a need for multiple cashiers at franchises such as Wal Mart, or gas stations because the customers can easily help themselves. Photography has always been a popular hobby among people, and candid shots have evolved with the new digital cameras containing many settings and features to look professional; not to mention the accessible editing programs like photoshop. In this case family members are even being asked to take wedding photos, or talented family friends to take portraits for little or no money at all.

Crowdsourcing is great for franchises and social media, but for independent entrepreneur’s this may mean a new career.  

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