Good as it is, there is one thing that Google can’t do – find material that isn’t on the Internet yet. Which is why sites like On Line Opinion do well. Publishers are in the business of guessing what readers might be after, sourcing a writer to provide the content and making it available. Search engines can access that material, but only after the publisher has done its work.
But that’s not the only way the Internet can work with content. There is a halfway spot which can be useful to publishers and readers alike. One name for this sort of activity is “crowd sourcing”, but that term doesn’t adequately capture what is occurring because often it is not the crowd that is being used as a source at all, but one or two knowledgable individuals.
In the early days of the Internet, before Google had misspelled its way into our lexicon, Answers was one site where you could post a question and it would be answered by a range of people, at least one of whom you hoped knew what they were talking about.
The forums that many of us use to answer tech questions are another manifestation of this concept.
Wikipedia then came along with its own unique take on the idea, and is perhaps closest to making the term “crowd sourcing” make sense. Except that it runs a sort of auction of attrition between the various individuals who like to think of themselves as experts in the various areas.
Last week, while attending a Networx function, I came across SourceBottle. This is a site that emails “call outs” for sources from bloggers and journalists. So it is crowdsourcing, but at a higher level than say Answers or Wikipedia. If you make a contribution to either of those you gain some recognition from a discrete peer group, but that is nothing like the buzz to be gained from being quoted in a newspaper article or a high profile blog – believe me.
So, if you are a journalist or blogger, or an expert source, it could be well-worth your time to click on www.sourcebottle.com.au and suck it and see.