Monday, October 31, 2011 - By Megan - No comments

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing


Generally speaking, we don't like being associated with the word "idiot." That being said, we could not have been more excited when SeeClickFix was recently featured in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing.

Coined in 2006 by Wired writer Jeff Howe, 'crowdsourcing' involves the "new opportunities cropping up due to our interconnected world, vast online communities, and cutting-edge communications tools" (as described by Howe). What does that mean? Tapping the power of many to get things done. And that's exactly what SeeClickFix does.

We like to say that two heads are better than one and 300 heads are better than two. Since the government can't be in all places at all times, SeeClickFix makes it easy and fun for everyone to document concerns in their neighborhoods from potholes and graffiti to planting trees and installing bike racks. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can communicate with your local government officials, media outlets, and fellow neighbors---effecting real, positive change in communities across the globe.

In Chapter 21 "Organizing for Crowd Action," author Aliza Sherman discusses how SeeClickFix fits into this idea of crowdsourcing civic innovation. With platforms like SeeClickFix, individuals can raise awareness about problems and apply pressure to those responsible for resolution. As the author notes, however, crowdsourcing civic innovation can only be as effective as "the city officials or people in positions with the power to implement the ideas and make change happen." Read more about how SeeClickFix harnesses the power of crowds in the excerpt below:
SeeClickFix (seeclickfix.com) encourages citizens to report their concerns about their neighborhoods using their website, mobile applications, voice-mail, and widgets that can be embedded into websites and blogs, pulling in neighborhood maps and pinpointing problems. The site involves citizens, community groups, government, and the media to report and track nonemergency issues anywhere in the world. The site also runs analyses to see how cities around the world respond to citizens requests and reports.
The site taps into the crowd and aggregates input to provide on-the-scene intelligence that no single agency or organization can provide. Bringing issues to the attention of those who can take action and then seeing action taken empowers and engages citizens in new ways. Citizens can also alert others to a problem and set up watch areas to monitor the situation. This could include anything from broken windows and potholes to traffic issues and crime reports. You can help fix a problem by publicly broadcasting the issue to the appropriate parties for resolution. The crowd works together to raise the profile of key concerns or by taking collective and direct action (pg. 286).

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