Why crowdsourcing hasn’t made me lazy
Though crowdsourcing has other applications, I was first introduced to it in the context of Web 2.0, specifically Twitter. In case you’re new to this stuff, too, my best understanding of crowdsourcing is this: asking for information or advice from many others to solve a problem. Most recently I’ve seen someone trying to decide whether or not to see a movie, so they turned to followers on Twitter to ask who had seen it? what did they think?
Last week Danny Brown argued that the use of crowdsourcing makes us lazy. Why do good ol’ fashioned research when you can ask legions of followers instead? In many situations I agree. In my own life, however, I have found this tactic has made me anything but lazy, especially when it comes to my continuing search for full-time employment.
I have been lucky enough to have some great cheerleaders during this tough and seemingly fruitless search. A former professor of mine, Dr. Craig Carroll, has influenced me in many ways since we first met. He fueled my passion for PR measurement and analysis, and he has guided the development of my related skill set. As soon as I returned to Chapel Hill for my senior year, he became my agent. Dr. Carroll has always sought out opportunities for me and been my loudest supporter (and for that, I am eternally grateful and honored).
My own father has also served as an insightful guide as I take my first steps into the adult world. Something he brings to the table that almost no one else does: he will support me no matter what I choose. In a very different way, my mother has also helped me to better understand my job search, and she, too, will always support my decisions.
Beyond these three key players, I have often sought the advice of other job seekers, interns and newly-hired graduates. Who could better understand where I am or what I want than them? The many connections I have made on Twitter can offer invaluable insight as well, and I can never turn up my nose at advice from the greats in my chosen field.
While I cannot deny that having access to various knowledgeable people has made my search a whole heck of a lot easier, I don’t think it has made me lazy in the slightest. Very much the opposite! If I’m lucky enough to stumble upon an opportunity, who do I talk to first? Do I ask for advice from all these people or just some?
Dr. Carroll knows the industry better than anyone, and he knows best where I want to go and what skills I bring to the table. My father knows business, corporations and how to make things happen. And my mother can read people (including me) in seconds when it takes me weeks to come to the same conclusion. Of course my friends and fellow interns understand where I am like no one else can.
So who can help me? When? In which situations do I turn to just my parents, and when do I seek out the advice of anyone and everyone who will offer?
Answering these questions is a daunting task in and of itself, and I believe that having the ability to crowdsource has made decision-making a much more involved, time-consuming and mentally (not to mention emotionally) draining process.
But am I the better for it? Will I make a much better decisions in the end? You better believe it!