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Crowdsourcing is Hot Now, But Will Participation Fatigue Set In?

It seems that crowdsourcing is fast becoming the "next big thing." Whether you call it "social answers," "help engines" or something else, there’s a growing trend of asking those in your network to help you out with advice. Heck, there’s even a new search engine being built around the concept!

I spotted two interesting uses of crowdsourcing over the last 24 hours. First, AdWeek writer Marian Salzman decided that an article on how Dominos could repair its damaged reputation would be best constructed if the she tapped into the wisdom of the crowds. She sent out requests to numerous places and ended-up with some concrete reputation management advice.

I’ve personally been quiet about the Dominos saga–I’ve simply been too busy–but it was easy for me to add my 2-cents to the list of great advice:

If Domino’s really wanted to be creative in its response, record a video of chef Gordon Ramsay conducting one of his notoriously pedantic inspections of the kitchen in question. With Ramsay’s seal of approval, Domino’s customers would feel comfortable ordering pizza again.

Next up, I see that Robert Scoble used crowdsourcing to get suggestions for search engine optimization. He ended up getting a great list of practical references and even Google’s Matt Cutts personally helped out–how’s that for getting free advice!

Now, before you all rush off and think of new start-ups based on crowdsourcing, a word of caution. While technology driven resources such as Google have an infinite desire to answer your questions, your social networks don’t. Answering the questions of friends and followers is still a novelty. The real test will be whether we all end up suffering from what I call "participation fatigue" and get sick of answering the questions thrown out to the crowd.

Have you seen any other examples of successfully using crowdsourcing to get advice?

  • http://merchantstand.com Bob Williams

    Another test is the ability of everyone to add another listening post for information to their routine. Email, RSS Feeds, Twitter, Forums, etc. can take a great deal of time. Incentives, value, and utility will win-out.

    Bob Williams’s last blog post..Social media awareness

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Or a better question is when will online participation in and at so many levels really start to fatigue? Just updating Twitter, Facebook and other social networks already seem like a daunting task for some.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..iPhone App Ideas? Use MEDL Mobile To Create & Profit

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  • http://www.marinamartin.com Marina Martin

    Fatigue has already set in big time in terms of getting answers to questions on Twitter. Two years ago, I had 100 followers and 20 of them jumped in to answer just about anything. (My car was making an odd noise when taking corners, to a restaurant suggestion in a city I was visiting, to a new book to read.) Today, I’ve got 4,000 followers and exactly one person was able to suggest a hotel in Toronto.

    Mahalo Answers and LinkedIn Answers are better places to get answers to questions because people go there with the intention of finding questions they can answer. Mahalo has been pulling questions out of Twitter for awhile now, but in the few months I’ve been answering questions it’s gone from a fun place to answer a few queries to “Why don’t you Google that and go away??” (Similar to Yahoo Answers today.)

    It’d be nice if there was an easy way to filter out all tweets from people I’m following that contain a question mark. I’d like to answer more questions, but they get lost in a sea of other messages.

  • Pingback: Crowdsourcing is Hot Now, But Will Participation Fatigue Set In? « Ivanandersson’s Weblog

  • http://www.clickadvisor.com Paul Marsden

    Key finding from research into crowdsourcing – 4F’s of participatory media – must offer the participant – Fun, Fame, Fortune, or Fulfillment. Other wise participation fatigue sets in fast.

  • http://www.local-motors.com Ariel

    Crowdsourcing works most effectively within purpose-built networks, better known as communities, like Threadless, Local Motors (LM), and istockphoto. At Local Motors we see increased interest in contributing to the development of LM vehicles, and increased interest in designing cars for local regions. Twitter and Facebook are supplemental tools for supporting a crowdsourcing community because they increase exposure and they can become excellent “listening tools”; we need to understand how our brand is perceived outside of our community in order to grow our community. Using our personal networks to gather feedback on general random questions is “crowdsourcing”, but this exercise does not capture the real value of effective community crowdsourcing. Your questions need to be aimed at people who are ready to contribute through collaborative response.

  • Edward Cruz

    Have you seen BountyStorms? If not, check it out. It does a good job of addressing crowd fatigue by making the brainstorming process more fun than work, and by offering a financial reward for suggesting great ideas. http://www.bountystorms.com