Getting people to do your work for you for free

By Steve Outing

The great promise of the Internet is that it empowers the voices and knowledge of so many people, and smart entrepreneurs and others can harness that to do great things. Wikipedia is the classic example of the potential: An army of volunteers, not paid a cent, have created a living encyclopedia that has become an essential and highly trafficked resource.

I think that the news industry — probably mostly due to cultural reasons that limit innovation when it comes to tapping the resources of the human web (the “we’re the professionals, we know best” mentality) — has been largely blind to the opportunities that are present.

Now is a good time to take a look at what other industries are doing to tap the collective intelligence. A GREAT example is this video from Google of Luis Van Ahn giving a talk on this topic. The solution to finding an army of non-paid online users to catalog images on the web — so that doing an image search on Google by typing in words will bring back accurate results — is stunningly brilliant.

Watch this video and see if it doesn’t get you thinking in new ways.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!