December 23, 2007

Blogger: "I'm feeling a little dirty"

Blogger Tara Hunt effectively expresses one of the problems I've had with crowdsourcing when she asks "Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me" in a recent post.

Hunt says:
"I started to feel a little dirty…a little used…a little like cheap labor, replacing people you probably laid off or decided to save money on not hiring because you were getting so much great value out of my time."

I'm not sure exactly what started the rant on (I love the URL), but it is worth a visit to her blog. She leads us to a few more sites and shares her insights on why good crowdsourcing requires reciprocity.

Her feelings are similar to something that perplexes me about volunteers. Are people giving service and time for free what a company should pay for?

(I am thinking about this more and more as non-profits hear I'll soon have "lots of extra time" on my hands as I leave the newspaper/online venture I've worked with for 29 years. Oh, the dreams dancing in their heads as they seek to make sure I have lots to do, a web site here, a contest there, a class over there.)

Do volunteers give a nonprofit an advantage for success that "regular" companies can never achieve?

Will crowdsourcing or sites using only content generated by users help to eliminate more paying jobs for those with journalism or media degrees?

I see big advantages in involving communities in generating content about so many subjects. I just worry about the long-term effects and wonder if we have thought this all the way through.


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