If I like you and you like me, and you like what I like and I like what you like, then I want to know about it. You follow? Call it peer pressure, call it follow the leader, call it the ultimate marketing tool…whatever you call it, it’s the power of the relationships, the influence, that is driving friends and fans to click.
Influence, when it comes to crowdsourcing, is worth noting. Jeff Howe, the author who first coined the term in 2006, defines crowdsourcing as tasks previously done by employees “now outsourced in the form of an open call to a large, undefined group of people generally using the Internet.” Web 2.0 technology and social media tools have made this phenomenon commonplace, with Facebook among the most popular applications.
I tend to alter the definition of crowdsourcing a bit, particularly when it comes to purchasing decisions. I think of it more as a means to an end, using the power of many to provide insight that otherwise might not have surfaced had it been left to just one person. Reviews, essentially. Add on top of that, influence, and now you not have only input and feedback on a particular product or service, but now you have individuals you know or know of weighing in. In your world, the information becomes more credible. (Cisco home products, grants contributors a particular status in its peer to peer community…adding to the pool of influencers. We’re seeing this with badging programs as well.)
A few thoughts on relationships and social media to cuddle up with this Valentine’s week.
What are your experiences with crowdsourcing?