Everyday Lesson in Crowdsourcing

Today, I wanted to talk about something I’ve noticed over the past few years and hopefully let you in on an everyday lesson in Crowdsourcing.

Nowadays, they say there are two kinds of people in the world – the ones who talk to their Uber drivers when they get in an Uber car and the ones who don’t (yes, we live in that kind of world).

So which one are you?

The other day I got into an Uber, I got in a refreshing discussion about crowdsourcing with my driver and it got me thinking – why don’t more people talk to their Uber drivers?

Sure, I get that sometimes you get some different kinds of people but you can shut that down as soon as you feel uncomfortable. What I mean is people being open to a conversation. Starting out with the pleasantries – good morning, good afternoon, good evening…and seeing how the conversation will take itself from there.

I feel so many people might be missing out on a conversation because they have some sort of fear, of talking to a stranger, of being “inconvenienced” by talking to someone else but is that really the case?

Not talking to people isn’t a bad thing but it does mean you’re missing out. Uber isn’t the only example of people not being open to conversation, it could happen at the shops, at the train station…I’m not saying tell a stranger your whole life, don’t do that but again be open to a little conversation.

As a copywriter, I’ve always found stories from everywhere. People ask me, how do I do that? How can I put myself into the shoes of someone so completely unlike me? And my answer is simple – I talk to people. I might be seen as a very bubbly, outgoing person, and admittedly I am. But I’m not naturally like this, it’s actually an exercise that I continually push myself to do. I suck it up, take a deep breath, always with a little apprehension with how a conversation might go, but then I forget, throw myself into the deep end and talk. Listen. Learn.

We live in a digital world, where personal touch, personal presence, is getting less and less. And yet, we are also in a world that is getting more inter-connected, where crowdsourcing is a concept that’s crept its way into everything from transportation to music.

Here’s a definition of crowdsourcing according to merriam-webster:

The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers

From this definition alone, you can see the crowdsourcing can be used by everyone. What a cool concept, to be able to obtain services from the online community, enabling professionals to be able to help even more people. To obtain ideas from the online community – your social media page and groups that you’ve joined are just sitting right there, an open book, full of ideas to improve what you do and ideas of services you could add. To obtain content – in my profession, I use crowdsourcing often – I keep a look out for what people’s pains are and turn it into content that is valuable to them.

But I see crowdsourcing as not just an online concept, but a life concept! Wherever you go, there are services, ideas and content waiting for you to use. While not traditionally what crowdsourcing might be known to be, it is essentially at its core – sourcing what you want and need from “the crowd” aka from others. You might get things from others that you don’t agree with, but you know what? That is still an idea. An idea of how-not to or an idea of a common misconception. Disagreeing doesn’t mean that the conversation was a waste, it might be just the conversation to point out to you the need for educating your audience.

So in a nutshell, my everyday lesson in crowdsourcing is this: Be open to conversation. You never know what might come up.

Need help sourcing ideas and content? Contact me and let’s write some kick-ass blogs together! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this infographic about the power of crowdsourcing: