Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Charles Curry-Smithson

Abstract

In the past few years, the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies has led to complex changes in how people organize and interact. It is now possible to connect and share ideas with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Crowdsourcing, taking a problem or task that would traditionally be assigned to a specific individual and outsourcing it to some undefined, usually large group, and social media, such as blogs, wikis, and content shared on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, are two of the results of these new technologies that have arisen alongside massive reductions in the costs of communication. This Capstone is the result of exploratory research. It is an attempt to answer the question: What are the general trends related to crowdsourcing and social media, and how are organizations and individuals applying new ideas and tools? Available literature,

examples of organizations and people leading innovation, and information gathered from survey respondents who use these ideas and related technology every day were all considered.

The research led to a number of broad conclusions. Foremost, the ability to tap the collective potential of the billions of people online creates staggering opportunities. If you give people a way to communicate and contribute easily, they will. Not everyone, but a small percentage of the 1.5 billion people online can still be a very large number. Moreover, as costs of communication fall, organizations are becoming less hierarchical and offering group members more flexibility and chances for creative input. Organizations are relying on the crowd for smaller, well-defined tasks rather than ambiguous efforts and strategy, and with new means of communication there is also newfound democracy in the creation of information and access to that information. Finally, because crowdsourcing and social media are such a broad topics, it is difficult if not impossible to make further predictions about how they may affect specific people,

organizations, or industries.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Communication Technology and New Media

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