CW: Right. We can do a fairly bare-bones visualization tool for a huge amount of data, where I certainly don’t have the time to go through all 15,000 Facebook names and look for interesting things, but if you lay it out and let people explore it and then encourage them to email you, then you can enlist your readers in a way that is fun for them. Then if they come up with anything great, you say “reader Rob Jones found this” and they get their name in their publication.
To me, that’s a great example of—you wouldn’t call it crowdsourcing, because crowdsourcing to me is more like using your readers for manual labor. Although that sometimes works, too; readers are often more than happy to pitch in. For instance, the Guardian did a brilliant project on the scandal with the members of Parliament and their abuse of expense accounts. This huge, scanned PDF document came out, so the Guardian set up something where readers could go through it and flag whether given one of these 150,000 pages had anything interesting on it. The way they did it was just brilliant because readers could log in and get a score for how many pages they had gone through, and they made a leaderboard, that kind of thing.
So they got their readers to help by turning it into a game.
Read the second part of this conversation here.