Melissa Ward of Newward Development, LLC posted an intriguing expose on what could be the next big buzz for entrepreneurs willing to expand their virtual horizons: crowdsourcing. In the featured video, Jeff Howe of WIRED magazine talks about how crowdsourcing is a clear and present tool in our digital midst. Social communities globally are organizing themselves around common interests, talents, values, lifestyles and more. Heck, look at Virtual Assistants! There are pockets of VAs at every turn on the web, huddling together hatching plans and ideas and yeah, maybe even the next big thang. But what does it mean for you, the client?

  • Will your outsourcing strategy change? Should it change? Are you missing out on something here?
  • What’s more efficient? Crowdsourcing? Outsourcing? Hiring in house? Some combination of the above?
  • Is not the traditional “RFP” crowdsourcing? Or does it depend on what community is being targeted?
  • Is it crowdsourcing only if it’s online and involves a social community of some sort?

I haven’t read the book (yet!), but perhaps a true “crowdsourcer” is one who will not necessarily go actively looking for a specific type of VA; instead, crowdsourcers might prefer to just throw a post up on Ping.fm once a week and see what comes back.

Although Pinging isn’t really targeting an identifiable crowd, is it?

There are more questions than answers, at least for me, at this point.

There are obvious drawbacks to the throw it at the wall and see what sticks approach. While the response rate may be higher, versus submitting an RFP to VAnetworking.com for example, what will the quality of those responses be?

On the other hand, it might be argued that crowdsourcing will create a sort of self-selection process where the cream rises to the top, because who really knows what the competition is like except that they all follow the same person on Twitter? Or Facebook? Or even subscribe to the crowdsourcer’s blog feed?

Then again, marketing is marketing. As such, like attracts like and maybe crowdsourcing has been here all along but under a different name: outsourcing.

What do you see as the fundamental difference between crowdsourcing and outsourcing? And how will it impact your business as a potential client of Virtual Assistants, if at all?


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