Crowdsourcing, also known as “wikinomics,” involves information sharing and collaboration through social networking sites and Listservs.
In the “old days,” people used to talk to folks in their geographic area or at meetings, or communicate via telephone or snail mail. The Internet has enhanced and challenged communication and learning in a variety of ways.
Advantages of crowdsourcing include:
- We can engage with more people – scientists, citizen scientists, backyard bluebirders. “Two heads are better than one.”
- We are not limited by geography
- The process opens up questioning of traditional wisdom and troubleshooting
- It encourages innovation
- Learning is accelerated
- More data points are available to confirm/support or change theories and practices
- People on different sides of a problem can work together (e.g., a bluebirder and a nestbox or trap manufacturer)
- People need to be open to accepting input
- The Internet can be a breeding ground for misinformation – anybody can publish anything, and it can quickly spread/replicate
- Information is constantly evolving so it can be hard to keep up
- We still need to get off the computer and out in the natural world to see what is really happening in our nestboxes and trails
- People can get in heated arguments when their experience, opinions or perspectives differ, which can stifle information sharing.
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