March 23, 2009
Blogging is a form of crowdsourced thinking. Posts set out ideas, views and opinions for others to read and comment on. These comments can lead to the further development of ideas or dismiss misunderstandings or take the blogger off on a completely new direction.
Is this not crowdsourced thinking? Crowdsourcing is a new term and helps when explaining observed behaviour on the web but is it a new concept?
In the past people may not have had access to countless unknown blog readers but could spout forth in front of a small group of friends in the pub on any topic and likely get a good few comments back. You may not consider this activity as crowdsourced thinking but what is the difference?
As social interaction moves online we are seeing many traditional activities take on new forms, blogging being one of them. I often hear people saying that the youth of today are not anti-social as some suspect but they are merely social online in a way that their parents do not understand. Instead of going down the local park and hanging out with their mates from the same area they are going online and hanging out with the mates from school or from other schools or other town or countries.
What was the offline equivalent to blogging? Publishing or expressing my opinion to a group of people (may only be a few) and hoping for some comments and feedback – well that could have been considered a conversation? But the guys down the pub do not work in my industry and do not understand what I am talking about! So the conversation has to take place at work or at the local club where specialism can be indulged. However, it is very convenient to be able to locate an almost infinate variety of specialism from the comfort of my home PC.
Now we are talking about the long tail of interests that can be found on the web. More about that another time.
Blogging allows specialist conversations to take place with a potential audience of millions but with a likely audience of a few other specialists. With the aid of a web search engine a small “crowd” of specialist can find a blog and comment on it in a meaningful way … crowdsourced thinking.