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Why I don't like 'crowd sourcing'

Friday, July 11, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named crowd.jpgOn Twitter, Jay Rosen asks why I don't like the term crowdsourcing. (He says hate, but that's way way too harsh.) Anyway, he's right -- I don't like it -- because it betrays a not-useful point of view. I am not part of a crowd, I am an individual, I'm a one man band by the quick lunch stand, playing real good for free. When you mash us all together you miss the point.  Permalink to this paragraph

I don't like it cause it's cheap, it's always used by people who want something for nothing.  Permalink to this paragraph

Tell me Jay, how does your wife feel when you tell her she's part of the crowd you were thinking of marrying.  Permalink to this paragraph

If you want people to like you, and who doesn't, try seduction. Don't tell us about your greed, say how much you love and respect our individuality our originality. Permalink to this paragraph

Bottom-line: I don't think of myself as part of a crowd when I write on the Internet. When you describe me that way I don't like it.  Permalink to this paragraph

I don't like it for the same reason I never liked "The Long Tail." The person using the term is never in the long tail, he or she is the head! It's the rest of us that are in the tail. Well excuse me but I'm riding up front with you. Been locked in the trunk many times by Microsoft, Netscape and Apple. It sucks! ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

One more reason -- it's not useful because it doesn't actually model what's going on. In the 20th century everything was about mass markets and centralization. You could explain things with concepts like crowds. In this century we're going the other way. The technologies push us there in a positive way, because the cost of communication is so low it doesn't need to be financed by moguls the way printing presses and TV stations were. And in a negative way because while our desire for information is increasing, the ability of professionals to provide it is decreasing. So we have to fill the gaps ourselves. Permalink to this paragraph

Hope this helps. Permalink to this paragraph

PS: I didn't reply on Twitter cause 140 chars is way too limiting for an idea like this. Permalink to this paragraph

PPS: I have even more to say, the industry you cover keeps trying, even clutching desperately to an idea that we can go back to the world they grew up in. It's not going to happen, imho. Better to accept things as they are and try to figure out how to make the best of it, for all of us. My own industry got decimated by the forces at work in publishing, so I've been through it. I'm still here, knock wood. But no one gets to have it easy. And the individuals you want to turn back into a crowd won't go for it, also imho. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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