Social Media Column: Projects take off with crowdsourcing, crowdfunding

Published in the July 2, 2013 issue of The Edmonton Sun.

Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.

Projects take off with crowdsourcing, crowdfunding

Got a great idea? Not sure how to make it happen? Put it online.

That’s what more and more people and organizations are doing these days.

Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding – garnering support, ideas and money, from a network of people (typically the online community) – is becoming the way to get a project off the ground.

Locally, we’re seeing the Make Something Edmonton movement act as a crowdsourcing campaign to spark ideas and initiate projects that help build the city’s identity.

There’s the recent launch of Alberta BoostR, an online platform that lets local businesses ask the public for a financial ‘boost,’ while offering donors certain incentives depending on how much they contribute.

There are crowdfunding projects to help non-profits and aid in disaster relief, and on a larger scale, we look no further than Kickstarter.

Since 2009, more than 4.3 million people have helped fund more than 44,000 projects through the Kickstarter crowdfunding website. And beginning this summer, Kickstarter will begin to accept Canada-based projects.

I kicked in $50 to back a Hollywood movie through the crowdfunding site. The Kickstarter Veronica Mars Movie Project ended up getting the most backers of any project in the website’s history.

My contribution gives me access to weekly insider emails, information from the set, movie swag including a T-Shirt and DVD, but more importantly – taking part in that crowdfunding project gives me the incomparable feeling of involvement, knowing that I played a role in making something so big come to life.

It’s that feeling of involvement that’s behind the success of so many crowdsourced, crowdfunded campaigns.

“I think crowdsourcing is just that one more component that allows us to be a part of something we are energized about. People want to be heard, people want to feel connected,” says Morgan Hrynyk, marketing and social media consultant with local company Hello Media Co.

“It’s so cool and super powerful to see that level of engagement.”

Hrynyk says crowdsourced projects energize people in a big way, gets them talking about projects, while effectively helping organizations identify what their audience, or potential customers, want.

“From a marketing standpoint, I think it’s smart,” she says.

But it doesn’t always work.

Mountain Dew’s ‘Dub the Dew’ campaign is a popular example of how crowdsourcing can go wrong. The company asked the Internet to help name its new drink but many of the most popular suggestions were very inappropriate.

And there are also things that just shouldn’t be crowdsourced – including one man’s recent campaign to fund a “seduction guide” that was deemed highly offensive against women, but still managed to raise more than $16,000 from more than 700 backers.

As disgusting as that particular crowdfunding project was, it still goes to show how powerful tapping into the online community can be when it comes to turning an idea into reality.

Crowdsourcing isn’t a new idea; its reach is just expanding – one of just a number of opportunities made possible thanks to the web and social media.

Some Tweets of the Week

@amaesaa97: We’ve got really nice sunsets. #edmonton #yeg #lovethiscity

@ZubayrChohan: The reason I love summer in Edmonton. Lemonade and festivals. #yeg #edmonton #summer #summer2013

@jvmckay100: One year ago I left everything I knew and loved and moved to #yeg. I may not still be here for the same reasons but I am glad I took the leap.

@matt_bowes: I think #yeg would be a swell place to ride out the post-apocalypse. We have an excellent location.

@WayneJones11: Absolutely incredible 10 days put on by @theatresports and @shostakattack. So many new friends, so much fun, amazing crowds. #ganza2013 #yeg

Click here to read the column on the Edmonton Sun website!

1 Comment

  • The Good Day Crowdfunding Show brings the buzz of a broadcast radio reality series and pits crowdfunders in a contest judged by crowdsourcing industry thought leaders. Entrepreneurs and businesses interested in raising capital, social lending and fundraising websites for their products, charity projects and creative ideas are invited to “pitch the experts” on the first crowdfunding radio reality series.

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