All I want for Christmas is you clear terminology

December 19th, 2011 by

As you are all no doubt well aware, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, every song on the radio, every elevator conversation and every piece of advertising stuffed into our mailboxes must be Christmas-themed. It’s enough to ruin what should be a fun time of year. Which is why this blog post is definitely, absolutely not going to be about Christmas.

Ok, I lied. This is all about Christmas. But don’t worry, it won’t be one of those sickeningly sentimental posts, cynically exploiting the Christmas spirit to avoid doing proper research and hard-thinking.* I have real Christmas-related, crowdsourced news to report.

Crowdsourcing is all around me, and so the feeling grows
As you may recall, a year ago we wrote about how crowdsourcing was now (then) so mainstream, that you could take care of all your Christmas essentials using only crowdsourcing companies (assuming you were happy to eat only donuts and pizza, and never see the people you gave gifts to again).

One year on, and crowdsourcing seems to be truly mainstream. Now googling “crowdsource Christmas” returns multiple examples of people using the crowd to help them choose Christmas cards and presents, where to go on holiday and which bicycles are safe to buy your kids. To top it off, there is even a nauseating crowdsourced Christmas song, to compete with the Christmas song from Love Actually for best-worst Christmas song.

The problem I have with this list is that, aside from the song, all the “crowdsourcing” on it is really just using the internet to canvass peoples’ opinions. Yes, the crowdsourcing industry has grown hugely in the last couple of years, but this growth is almost becoming overshadowed by the term itself, which is now a buzzword that people apply to almost anything involving group participation.

OK, it’s Christmas, so I won’t complain too much about an issue which I have already said a fair bit about. All I ask for Christmas, is this:

Dear Santa: in 2012 may the crowdsourcing industry and public in general please agree on more precise terminology for crowdsourcing/widesourcing/distributed labor etc, before all of us become tarnished by bad Christmas songs and lazy blog posts. If you grant me this one request, I promise I won’t exploit Christmas in a blog post this time next year.*

*OK, these are also lies. Don’t tell Santa.