Crowdsourcing, a Bad Influence?

April 7, 2008 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

In preparation for my talk on the 15th, I have been doing some interviews with my peers. One of the questions that comes up, naturally, is “does crowdsourcing encourage exploitation”. If you’ve read my blog/articles before, you already have an idea of my thoughts on that (quick answer: “no, but in the wrong hands…”)

Someone with no intentions to exploit is not suddenly going to go “Hey, exploiting people?! That’s rad – I totally want to do that!” I make the same argument when people bring up violence in films – it doesn’t influence anyone to commit crimes. Someone who wants to hurt someone doesn’t need a film to propel them into action – and someone who doesn’t, won’t suddenly decide it’s a great idea.

If you think exploiting people is the way to go, hey, there’s always a way. Is it beneficial? I think it’s severally short-sighted.

I’ve always believed in respect & as I get older, I’m even more opinionated about it. I’ve been at companies where they treated their employees with such blatant disrespect – one corporation, in particular, just had the worst tactics. And, logically there was a mass exodus. We’d get 3 emails a week saying so-and-so has “chosen to pursue other opportunities” etc. and then I’d hear Human Resources lamenting that they were so desperate they were having to hire people straight out of school… And all I could think was “Well, then why don’t you just treat the good, experienced people you have as though you appreciate them?!!!”

At a discussion recently, a gentleman asked re: social media “How do you get them to drink the Kool Aid”. I sincerely hope he didn’t mean it the way it sounded… If you want them to “drink the Kool Aid” – you’ll find people who feel that they should. But there’s no longevity to this – any longer. People are getting more demanding – carving out the kind of employment and relationships that they want.

Someone participating in a Crowdsourcing project where they contribute and contribute and never win the prize or reap any sort of reward – well, what kind of quality individuals would do that…

A healthy discussion on the topic of exploitation in Crowdsourcing can be found on Jeff Howe’s blog. And my friend, Jan sent me Aaron Swartz’s blog where he says (among much other brilliance):

I have a friend who is even more brash than I am and when anyone asks her for business advice she tells them simply: Well, in the future, your servants are going to rise up and eat you. So, invest in toothpicks.


Employees – as well as Crowdsourcing participants should be treated as if they matter. Because they really do.

You get more out of people when you treat them right.

And if you don’t agree with that, keep cracking that whip… And pray.


Entry filed under: 1, crowdsourcing, Exploitation, Social Marketing, social media, Web 2.0. Tags: , , , , .

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