Crowdsourcing: First Hand Account of Revolution

Video & Article By: Meghan McSloy
For centuries, revolutions have been a regular occurrence in many societies throughout the world.
 In the past, revolutionaries used many methods for spreading the word.
However, in countries that have access to the Internet, crowdsourcing has become a new way of sharing stories and reporting news. Crowdsourcing is the concept of using groups of people to complete a task that would normally be performed by one person.  For example, a journalist may write a story about a given event and write up a third-party account of what happened.
When crowd-sourcing is used, people are able to tell their own, personal, first-hand account of what happened. “Unlike more traditional notions of ‘citizen journalism,’
Crowdsourcing does not ask readers to become anything more than what they’ve always been: eyewitnesses to their daily lives,”
Robert Niles, journalist and contributor to stories on the Arab Spring, said.

A few examples of these types of websites that were used in revolutions throughout the Middle East and Egypt are 18 Days in Egypt and HarassMap.  The two sites serve different purposes but both invite citizens to participate.  Eighteen Days in Egypt allows people taking part in the revolution to upload photos, videos and anything that tells their own personal experience to the website. From there, others can watch and respond.

HarassMap has a different purpose and message. It was created to publicize and prevent harassment in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt. There are a number of ways to report harassment including text messaging and tweeting.  The website then logs the location and type of incident, creating a simple and accurate map of different types of incidents.

Another reason why crowdsourcing became popular during the revolution is because in these countries, there is no space or tools to foster youth participation in not only politics, but the society in general.

Crowdsourcing is becoming increasingly popular all over the world.  It is mostly used for public participation in enforcing laws, social issues, and public rights.  For example in Latin America, crowdsourcing sites that are similar to HarassMap and 18 days in Egypt are used to map elections as well as encouraging public participation in reporting crime.

Another important benefit to crowdsourcing is that it can be done anonymously.  Since there are dangers associated with being a journalist in certain countries and regions, crowdsouring allows the story to be told in a safe and secure way.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply