Have you felt inspired lately?

Anyone every stop and think where we would be without technology?  How about how far we have become with technology? Howard Rheingold shares his views on how mankind first started out and extends into how with technology we are going into an era where it could potentially be too fast.  One of the greatest aspects he pointed out though is how internet is an enabling technology.  This “enabling technology” has created many possibilities for us in the technology world, but Howard Rheingold points out how our everyday desktop/PCs are printing presses, broadcasting stations, a community, a market place, etc.  The power is untethering and soon humans will be holding/carrying computers linked to speeds faster than what broadband currently is.  Examples of this untethering technology would be Wikipedia, bit torrent, etc.  Wikipedia is a great example of crowdsourcing.  Crowdsourcing is possible as it is the work of a group of people, whether they are volunteers or not, working towards a common goal.  This goal could just simply be putting facts online to be available for others or it could be taken as work that is outsourced to a group of people.  No longer do we live in a world where only a small group of people can handle a task.  With technology, we can outsource our needs to crowds of people at a fraction of the cost.

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Wikipedia used thousands of volunteers to create a free encyclopedia.  However lately, within the past couple years, Wikipedia has made a strong movement to ensure the data given is factual.  Processes involve fact checking along with limiting the amount of editing that can be done on a topic.  This strengthening in their system helps increase reliability of collective efforts from a large group of people.   This is an example of crowdsourcing.

A lot of advantages has happened due to this movement.  In the wired article, Claudia Menashe needed pictures of sick people for a kiosk.  Long story short, she found suitable pictures from an open source website, istockphoto.  The dilemma poised though is the freelancer she originally lined up for photos was no longer needed.  Harmel (the freelancer) has seen a steady decline in his income due to sites like istockphoto.  It is an unfortunate situation for Harmel, but I among many others have used similar sites to achieve similar goals.  The days of paying someone for non-personalized photos will soon be extinct.

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Jean Burgess brings up many points in her article. One of the topics are “meme”.  I am sure we all are familiar with what a meme is, but has anyone realized how catchy some are?  Due to this trend, there are businesses out there that have become more popular due to random meme created by someone that is not affiliated with the business.  Random people have become famous due to certain meme as well.  Another example from Jean Burgess is “chocolate rain”.  The original work had become modified and far exceeded the original intentions.  These modified versions are mash-ups, parodies, remixes.  We are in a time where technology has allowed us to take media into our own hands and broadcast them out in many ways. People are able to modify, archive, remix etc.   These actions fall under as participatory cultures.  Examples could include groups of gamers, even us bloggers.  Anyone ever stop and notice how some commercials now are actually personal videos you have seen on YouTube? This element of the technology world has inspired people to do work they never imagined they would be doing. This technology media movement has allowed marketing to skyrocket.

Society as a whole has benefited from this movement as it sees things in ways never imagined before, it inspires people to be creative and express themselves and certain messages or idea are being seen from many people that never probably would have viewed it before.  People, among businesses, have become more aware due to the abilities of collaboration or even remixes or original work.  Have you fallen into such acts?  Have you ever had to outsource something and then found somewhere else online to be cheaper and even better work just to find out it’s a collaboration? What about searching for something and finding knock offs of the original?

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26 thoughts on “Have you felt inspired lately?

  1. Brandon Coulter March 12, 2015 / 12:08 am

    The beauty of crowdsourcing is its ability to bring together large groups of people with intent on distributing their goods or services in hopes of achieving a larger and more beneficial collective effort. The downside of crowdsourcing is precisely this same thought: the extreme inclusiveness and accessibility. While bringing together individuals that wish to positively contribute towards an effort centered on education or knowledge or even technological advancement, the amount of contributions that could have been easily tossed aside or never contributed in the first place only creates confusion and irritability for those sifting through arguments and entries intended on supporting the cause. When we rely on amateur, free contribution, it does allow for greater monetary benefit as well as finding individuals worthy of integrating into the scholarly sect of information distribution. This being said, allowing amateurs to freely contribute to the cause will ultimately add bits of misinformation, typographical errors, and altogether inaccurate or unnecessary additions to the effort as a whole. This also places an unfortunate de-emphasis on the usefulness of scholars and professionals within the field, using cheap labor as a source of production rather than trained experts. Wikipedia has found a relatively solid way of monitoring good and bad contributions, allowing moderators to fix and delete posts that are wrong or disparaging to the central post. While this may seem hierarchical and detrimental to the crowdsourcing movement, the ability for amateurs to prove their mettle and work their way up the hierarchical ladder allows for more prevalence to be given to important posters. The system of crowdsourcing isn’t perfect yet, but Wikipedia has shown that some measures can be taken to create a positive environment for it to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carly Hernandez March 12, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    I really like how you used the example of seeing YouTube videos in television commercials because I had noticed that as well. Crowdsourcing definitely has its benefits and consequences as you mentioned. Many large companies including General Mills and Coca-Cola use these large groups to gather even more information from an outside source. By using amateurs as reliable sources now, there can be many mistakes and errors made. Harmel was put in a position where he worked so hard to be in the position that he is today and can’t get any work due to crowdsourcing and people using amateurs pictures found online. I’ve also noticed that if people wanted their pictures touched up they can just use editors on their phone to fix their photos. People even think that they are considered professional photographers because they have creative pictures on their Instagrams and have a lot of people following them. These crowdsourcing websites can be helpful though if you’re just using something for fun or for short term use, such as memes. Memes, like you said, can make anyone famous and bring popularity to different people and companies.

    I don’t think I’ve consciously used crowdsourcing but I know that I have used crowdfunding in the past on the website GoFundMe.com. Large groups of people can donate anonymous amounts of money to help whoever needs it. I think that this is one advantage and benefit that is made possible from crowdsourcing. It is definitely a cheaper route for those you can afford the real deal, even though crowdsourcing hurts the professionals. While Wikipedia lacks its scholarly aspect, it is used by everyone and is very efficient if you are just looking over something. It may not be the best source to use but it definitely gives you that simple explanation you were looking for thanks to crowdsourcing.

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  3. bjuhasz10 March 12, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    When I did my two co-ops at GE as an engineer, one of the newest things they were constantly pushing is something called FirstBuild (https://firstbuild.com/). The division of GE I worked at was appliances (they made refrigerators, washer/dryer, stoves, etc.) The idea behind FirstBuild is to be an “online and physical community dedicated to designing, engineering, building, and selling the next generation of major home appliances”. Basically, instead of 10 engineers sitting in a room trying to come up with new ideas, why not open things up to thousands or millions of people all over the world, and give them a place to submit their designs and ideas.

    If an idea is shared enough times, it could turn into a real life product, such as a refrigerator with a built in Keurig (http://www.geappliances.com/ge/refrigerators/cafe-hot-water-french-door-refrigerator.htm). If your idea helps the company, you will be paid a small fraction of the profits, and the company can create an awesome new product. Win-win situation.

    This is one of my biggest and most eyeopening experiences I have had with crowdsourcing, and I think businesses will use crowdsourcing to their advantage to bring better products to the market faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mstor763 March 15, 2015 / 11:13 am

      BJUHASZ10, That is very awesome! I am jealous you were able to be part of something like that. GE sounds like they know what they are doing and best part about it, whether this was a cost conscious move or not, truly you get your customer’s aspect of things. I like what they are doing.

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  4. nebior March 13, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Crowdsourcing can be a very powerful tool when used for advertising. You mentioned memes and their ability to go viral near the end of your post and I think that is a great point to bring up. The first thing that came to my mind was the meme going around with Kermit the Frog and the caption “But that’s none of my business” at the bottom. That isn’t all that is in the meme, however. Kermit is drinking a cup of Lipton brand tea in the meme. If you browse any sites that are dedicated to internet memes then you have seen this one circulating. TONS of people have seen this meme and may never have noticed that it is advertising for a company. It has gone viral and it is an insane amount of continuous, digital, free advertising for Lipton. I am sure there are many other cases of this, but this is the most recent/first to come to my mind. It is a great example of how people took the initiative of spreading this advertisement after it was created for/by Lipton.

    –Ben Walker

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    • mstor763 March 15, 2015 / 11:16 am

      Ben Walker, It is funny you mention that meme. I was debating ending one of my paragraphs with that exact one. I also love when you see on facebook (and possibly others) people are arguing and sue the famous meme “I just came here to see the comments”. It is definitely a way people do not realize as advertising like you mentioned.

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    • efekete March 15, 2015 / 11:10 pm

      @nebior I like that example of sneaky free advertising by Lipton. I always thought of memes as an inside joke for people on reddit or any online sharing community. I wonder if in the future memes will become fully integrated/necessary ways of communicating ideas, brands, issues.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. adrianhormsby March 13, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    Hello Miles, great review of a complex topic. Your question about knock offs is an interesting one, with implications that will extend far into the future. Burgess’ article addressing the notion of cultural participation through video distribution vehicles, such as YouTube, is enlightening indeed. Functioning as a mediating mechanism, rather than just a message or product, Burgess argument that adding cultural value to media distributed through the web, acts as a hub for further creativity, is absolutely true. At first glance it appears that the free availability of original ideas, images and art on the web merely encourages cheap knock offs, but on further reflection, one can argue that the creative process itself is dynamic, continuously incorporating, building on and modifying prior innovations. In this way, internet mediated vehicles, like YouTube, truly act as hubs for not only equal participation but also for further ideas and creativity. An example of this process is Graffiti art. I have noticed that street artists frequently view their own and others work not just on the streets but now online, subsequently adopting innovative new ideas and practices into their Graffiti pieces. There was a time when artists would have met at coffee shops and cafes, rubbing shoulders with philosophers, academics and other artists in an exchange of new ideas, now this exchange is increasingly done via the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. spgregor March 13, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    I think we have definitely benefited from the movements of technology and I have become aware of things that would otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, I don’t usually sit down and watch the news, but I can easily find out the entire day’s newstories with a couple clicks and five minutes of my time online. As to the second prompt, the answer is also yes. I find myself from time to time wanting to read a book that looks or sounds interesting, yet don’t quite want to spend the money for the price of the book. This is where collaborations online come into play, as some of the times I can find websites will full texts of the books I desire and I can access them for free. As with knockoffs, of course I have seen some. Whether it was shopping on eBay, or online scam attempts, there will always be people trying to make a quick buck even if that means attempting to distribute replicas. Music sharing sites are nototiously known for their collaborations of music that include useless remixes and songs with alterations just for the sake of sharing.

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  7. cseejay March 14, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    I think, in regards to the first question, it happens almost everyday for me personally. But I don’t know if that a bad thing. Like Brandon stated the issue really like in how inclusive thing become as a result of crowdsourcing. Ultimately I think the monetary benefits don’t out weight the individuals (scholars) that specialize in various fields. The consistency of how much misinformation is spread, especially as of lately I think contribute to this point as well. On the Wikipedia side of things I know many professors that outright won’t allow students to use information that is gather from Wikipedia. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a professor that’s let me use sources from Wikipedia. As a starting point I think it’s a great way to jumpstart certain ideas but past that you need to be proficient in finding scholar articles to use to strengthen whatever you’re working on. I think cheap average labor rules all, especially if corporations can make more money quarterly. Success is measured by growth, so depending on trained professionals gets ruled out fairly quickly. But I also do agree with that notion that slowly, Wikipedia has figured out how to slowing make crowdsourcing more beneficial by allowing armatures improve when posting information.

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  8. mvzang March 14, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    Hello, MStor763. I don’t think there are many of us haven’t used some type of collaborative sources online during our college years. Who hasn’t used a YouTube video or clip in a presentation. These are all great ways to lighten the mood and spice up your presentation. One of the worst things about reading some people’s blogs or other writings is the monotony. When someone adds something as simple as a photo or meme, it can break things up just enough to keep people’s attention. Why even use Photostock when Google Images is just as easy to use and it’s free?. As long as you’re giving credit where the photo came from, there won’t be any issues.

    Authenticity has always been an issue on the internet. Whether you’re using a source that isn’t giving the proper credits or even buying goods on the internet, it’s our duty to make sure what we’re using or buying is authentic. As for businesses, I can’t say I blame them for looking to the internet for ideas and services. Like I mentioned in previous blogs, whenever a company can utilize free services, why shouldn’t they? It’s no different than the Claudia Menshae saving a lot of money by using Istockphoto. It’s up to companies and individuals to evolve with the internet and markets, because the internet and markets will not wait around for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mstor763 March 15, 2015 / 11:20 am

      Hello MVZANG, you bring up an interesting point of google image. I believe the issue behind a corporate use is they have to pay for legal rights for that photo. I do wonder if expressing credit to the source would be enough to use in instances like Claudia’s in a kiosk machine.

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  9. eakoonter March 14, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    I am probably one of many females who owns knock off purses and one of the many people who buy off-brand food items at the store. I can’t seem to help myself. Why pay for a Coach purse when I can get a similar purse for half the price!? Why spend $2 more for Oreos when I can save the $2 and buy Meijer-brand cookie sandwiches that taste exactly the same. Am I putting Nebisco our of business by making this choice? Heavens, no. There are plenty of people who would pick Oreos over “cookie sandwiches”. As a society, we look at our wallets, picking and choosing what we need and what we want. Especially in a time of financial hardship, we need to prioritize objects. Companies find ways to make more money and we find ways to save. Have you noticed that Disney has been remaking all of their old cartoon movies into live action (i.e.: “Cinderella”)? It seems as though they’ve run out of ideas, but Disney isn’t going to make any money just sitting around. So, they take our beloved childhood movies and make them “better” so we go watch them. I guess the real question is: Is Disney feeling inspired lately?

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  10. galaradi March 15, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    It’s interesting that you mentioned popular memes can attract more popularity to a business, even without the intent of advertisement. Things that go viral can attract many people to a business, which is another benefit of technology. Most popular beauty bloggers are sent free products from brands that want them to spread the word about their products. These bloggers are paid to give the product a good name, and recommend the product to their followers. Some followers get upset because it is sponsored and may not be completely honest, but at the end of the day, it benefits the brands that want to get their name out there.

    Big businesses who want to benefit from the technological advances we have can take advantage of the resources they have such as social media to advertise, instead of commercials. No one believes commercials or advertisements anymore. I don’t believe I have ever found something cheaper online, but I believe it happens quite often. I have often found knock offs of the original product, but I have never purchased them because I would rather pay for the quality of the product.

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  11. blcarr March 15, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    Technology has changed the world. Where would we be without it? We would still be waiting on the paper boys and gathering in front of the television for out dated news. With just one click of the button, we are able to catch up on worldly events and breaking news in a matter of seconds. As far as fakes, as long as eBay and Amazon are still around, fakes and counterfeits will still exist. I remember a buddy of mines order a pair of air Jordan’s from eBay. When the order arrived, all he received was a picture of the shoes. In the description, it said “pic of air Jordan’s.” People will do anything to over.

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  12. mwiedmeyer March 15, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    I just recently started watching a new show on Netflix produced by Tiny Fey (so you know it’s hilarious and wonderful) called “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and the theme is a play on the remixes done of viral videos of people like Antoine Dodson. They actually enlisted the help of one of the YouTubers who makes the remixes to write the theme for them from a fake news report that was on the show. This is a link to the theme on YouTube (http://bit.ly/1MjjJA3), and if you like shows like Parks and Recreation or The Office, you should give it a watch!
    The theme is a great example of big corporations seeing what the public likes and supporting a small-time artist to give their audience what they want. Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to be a negative for artists; in fact, I believe it can be a major positive. Giving the public a greater say in what’s produced will only make media better, and when companies give small-time artists a chance to produce that content, it’s a win-win.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. seananthony3 March 15, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    I’ve found that a lot of material is remixed or ripped off of other. Memes, you could say, strive entirely on “ripping off”. They take one concept or joke and apply it to several things. Of course, this only works if others are in on it. The same goes for the “advice animals” (what many now call memes). Stock pictures are taken from other sources, a new caption is added, and it is basically a new picture. There will be people who take credit for adding a caption to something they did not create.

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  14. sneff16 March 15, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    I created a website for my brother-in-laws soccer school. He didn’t have any pictures yet since it was a new school he was starting. I researched stock photo websites and I was shocked that some stock images were as much as $30 per image. Then I found a really cheap site that offered many of the exact same stock photos for only a $1 per image. So instead of only being able to download and purchase a few stock photos, I was able to download numerous. The site has been criticized for not paying very much to the owner of the photos. While I sympathize,I am also looking out for what is best for my needs and budget. So, I am going to pick the cheapest stock photo site there is.

    I have also seen knock-offs of originals. It is insane to me that someone spends so much time trying to create something that looks just like another product. I have seen fake Uggs, fake Toms, and fake Hunter boots. It’s always really obvious, because it isn’t the same quality. Does this also apply to crowding sourcing and people like Mark Harmel? Am I just getting an obvious cheap knock off when it comes to photos? With stock photo sites, I found the exact same images. So, I don’t think so. With photographers, it is different. It is all about talent. A person doesn’t have to be a professional photographer to take really great photos and some professional photographers don’t take that great of photos.

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  15. ajmiros March 15, 2015 / 9:45 pm

    Strong examples and summary. This was an interesting topic to examine. Technology is a powerful tool that can be used for good and evil! The use of meme’s or other attention grabbing forms can be used to drive traffic, gain awareness, and generate a profit to your cause or business.

    Allowing others to participate in your forum or to use more than one voice to express information or concern has great advantages. However, many times these tactics can be used to sell fake products, spread false information, or to mine personal information. As with everything technology/internet related, the user must be smart.

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  16. rmpaulk March 15, 2015 / 9:52 pm

    I have never outsourced something, myself, but I have looked into it. I run a book reviewing blog and have recently decided that I wanted to change what my blog looks like. I was researching design companies who would create a whole new logo and things for me when I remembered that I had a follower who was a freelance designer. Her prices were EXTREMELY cheaper. I haven’t decided on who to pay yet, but I have definitely looked into. In the past I have even let new designers create something for the blog for free to help build their portfolio. I think crowdsourcing is a really great thing for those who don’t have deep pockets, and even if you do why pay more for the same quality? When searching for something I have unfortunately found many “knock-offs”. Especially when it comes to looking for images or videos. If there is a funny video or meme you want to see that everyone has been talking about you have to wade through all the parodies first. Luckily, if it is popular enough you should find it right away, but try to find a music video. There is the video, the “official” video, the video with lyrics, the video someone recording with a cellphone on TV, and then a parody video.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. jaemillz411 March 15, 2015 / 10:55 pm

    I like the idea of collaborations more than I actually practice it. And I realize the benefits of diverse aspects coming together to create something new. I have noticed commercials on TV that were from Youtube and I think that it is great. I even see Youtube sensations in professional commercials too. Companies are becoming aware of their familiarity and “star” quality and using it to their benefit (which is smart business wise).

    But I have mixed feelings about whether or not it is good for everyone else. There is something special about purchasing something that was crafted by a professional. I have purchased a designer bag and the handiwork is beautiful, because a person who is skilled and understands the art made it. As oppose to knockoffs that lack the expertise, which produces an inferior product. I do not want to embrace mediocre work as the norm.

    I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. And crowdsourcing allots for that possibility. Cheaper is not always better. But crowdsourcing can also cause the collaboration to create something better. So ultimately, I can see both the pros and cons of crowdsourcing, but I still believe in the idea and benefits of this concept.

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  18. akuelbs March 15, 2015 / 10:57 pm

    I find crowdsourcing a great way to find backings from people you dont even know. It is a much easier way to see who will support you in what you do without them actually physically being there to support you, but they support your ideas and intentions of what you are doing. If you want to look at outsourcing, we can say we all do it on simple things such as group projects. Different people will do different tasks all in order to reach one final goal/product. Yes, this is a different and less form of outsourcing, but i think you can say outsourcing has been around for a long time if you look at it in this light. The fact that people are going crazy in the fact that people think crowdsourcing is eliminating professionals i say they should look at it in the light of competition. Someone used the time and effort to create these other methods and ways in which they are getting paid by the user for creating this product. It is just another form of competition that has been created and if we want to look at competition, it helps run our economy and makes it where we dont have to pay even more for the services we do. This new competition is new and that is why i see people having a problem with it, but i believe this is a great new competition and it will become less of a big topic when people adapt and learn how to understand it fully.

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  19. thegradytrain March 15, 2015 / 11:15 pm

    Our use and the proper use of “enabling technology” and technology in general is probably why we as humans are at where we are at over other animals. I think that is one point Rheingold was trying to maybe allude to in his talk when we was talking about our use of collaboration dating back to cavemen times. I find it very hard to imagine us without the use of technology. It kind of puts certain things in perspective. Even within the last decade the advent of broadband internet has allowed us to do so much more at much more efficient speeds. Things have gone from being a solo job to become a collective job because of enabling technology. Crowdsourcing is this sort of think tank for getting things done over the internet. You get your ideas prototyped and funded through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can get your business done with the help of Mturk services, you can get your questions answered through Wikipedia (just don’t say you used it for scholastic research). The downside to this is with the advent of new solutions the old ones kind of get phased out. What I mean is with new business solutions coming from crowdsourcing, you get much cheaper and convenient solutions over those from professionals who make their career from it. As much of a problem that is, it is a way of life, and why it is important to keep up with technology so you don’t get left behind.

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  20. lewenzel93 March 15, 2015 / 11:15 pm

    I have definitely become more aware of crowdsourcing and all the ways it’s affecting me as a simple consumer. I like your example about YouTube ads, because I’m on YouTube quite often and while they may be annoying, there’s no denying I see a lot of them and a lot of products I wouldn’t have normally been exposed to.

    And I have found items online that were cheap knockoffs of the product I was originally looking for. I once bought a ring for $5 that while it still looked nice, was cubic zirconium and quite obviously not real. Crowdsourcing may introduce us to many new and different products and items, but sometimes we have to distinguish between what’s real and what’s a knockoff.

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  21. smkiraco March 15, 2015 / 11:26 pm

    Yes, I have become more aware of people and businesses through memes. The Old Spice commercials would be my greatest example. Those things are memes in and of themselves, and the things people have done with those commercials, especially on YouTube, are just as entertaining. Comedy is not only the best medicine, but also a pretty good way on constructing advertisements. I am not saying it cannot go wrong though. The intention in creating such ads among other things should not be of intentionally creating a meme though. Those usually turn out horrible.

    I have not had any to outsource anything yet so I have no say on finding better works.

    I always run into knock offs of things that I am searching for. Sometimes it can get quite annoying. Thankfully I know a few search engine functions that make singling out the originals easier.

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  22. hessaj March 16, 2015 / 12:05 am

    Crowdsourcing is great for collaboration. Collaboration itself can be even more encouraging itself for something rather than by yourself. When I see people online that I follow or watch collab, it brings attention to other’s work and it sort of works out by growing your audience.

    If you think about it, almost everything is a knock-off. It’s just a matter of distinguishing yourself enough to stand out from competition. That’s where crowdsourcing comes in. You want something for your liking, not some cheap knock off that takes up your time.

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