The future of the news passes through crowdsourcing
Oct 31, 2012
The Power of Crowdsourcing: Unleashing the Potential of Digital Media in News Coverage
On Monday, as Hurricane Sandy began to lash New York and at least three other states, an event demonstrated the power of new digital media development. While all non-local communication companies in the country (plus the local ones on the East Coast) poured all their resources into covering the event, about 600 photos of the event were posted every second on Twitter using other image services like Flickr and Instagram. If all the professional photographers in the United States (about 160,000 today) were huddled on the East Coast covering the event, they would need to take at least 13 photos per hour to keep up with the pace. Do you understand?
The numerical comparison is not intended to diminish the need for the work of professional photographers, because not all media is dedicated to breaking news coverage. However, it serves to show that the potential still untapped in digital media and its penetration into social networks is absolutely incomparable to everything the press has seen in its just over three centuries of history. Ignoring this is not only foolish but also equivalent to stopping a comet with a sheet of paper.
The omnipresence and fragmented nature of the "crowd's" ability to produce collected material make it the natural provider of information for live covered events. The case of Hurricane Sandy is not even the ideal one. A tsunami like the one that occurred in Asia in 2005 today would be presented with a furious amount of images, precisely because of its unpredictable nature and its geographical location outside the axis.
With the transformation of the cell phone into a multipurpose tool, the ability to collect data that anyone will be able to do tends to turn digital potential into information. In fact, today, there is already a large amount of information collected that is not used due to a lack of hubs that can channel this product. Administrators seeking cost cuts in their massive corporations, be warned.