Recently, my one of my brave colleagues, Kelly Senser, ventured into the social media space despite her incredible workload. She’s been a superstar ever since, and really provides value and friendship to anyone she meets. If you don’t follow @klsnature and you love wildlife and gardening, you should.
She recently published an excellent article that reminded me of the importance of crowdsourcing. The article is “Gardeners Pick their “Gold Medal” Favorites”. While the article was organized by Kelly, it has many authors. This way of collective knowledge is hardly a new concept, but it’s fantastic to see NWF working with sharp minds and talented gardeners to produce such a quality piece. I’m certain we’ll see more articles like this in the future, but I just want to point out the excellent benefits of crowd-sourcing information.
Each gardener was asked to pick a favorite plant that attracts wildlife to their garden. With each choice is a picture and a quote and includes the gardener’s name and blog! I highly recommend checking out this list. As someone who is still learning the ropes of wildlife gardening, it’s been so helpful to search on Twitter and find the conversation growing. (Heh). We’ve also created a Certified Habitat Wildlife Facebook fan page where I plan on asking all of my spring questions :).
In terms of crowdsourcing, SEED magazine has one of my favorite articles on how science can use data and information collected through crowdsourcing and knowledge “pooling” . It’s fantastic to read about how the scientific community can communicate better with technology and house information collected in various regions all over the world.
There are a number of other examples of how nonprofits can use crowd-sourcing to learn more about their constituents and create a movement toward social change. Netsquared lets the community decide when it comes to challenge winners and idea submissions.
Crowdsourcing for the sake of a contest or other means to garner a “viral” response does bring up more questions. Beth Kanter recently posted a thought-provoking piece called “Crowdsourcing Social Change: Who Gets to Vote?” where she questions some current crowdsourcing models and introduces a new contest model.
It is my hope that we see more and more crowdsourcing when it comes to the scientific community and more strategic use of it when it comes to nonprofits who are trying to make social change. With great leaders like Kelly, gathering gardener’s minds for an excellent post on wildlife plants, I say the sky’s the limit!