Is this crowdsourcing?

Rob Walker, the guy behind Murketing, asks the question if the Sour video (after the jump) qualified as crowdsourced:

If the crowd’s job is basically to follow orders from well-funded visionary authorities… and kinda look all crowdy-like while doing so — then what, exactly, does crowdsourcing mean?

I love Rob’s question. I think most other people miss the big underlying reason why the video was so amazing and enjoyable to watch. There’s been a trend and pattern among viral videos that leverages “Obsessive Houdinism”. (I’m going to call it that.) “Obsessive Houdinism” is the theory that by using technology and a big helping of obsessive coordination, we can transform what appears to be an impossible feat into an entertaining event.

The Sour music video almost maximizes this theory by using amateurs and hence people’s awe of “amateur aesthetic”. I say almost because if the video had been performed by the users’ puppies and kittens, the Houdini act would have been more impressive.

That video is not crowdsourced. Just massively awesome.

Turning the question upside down also raises an interesting question. Consider Hollywood, where millions of struggling amateur writers are creating new shows and some get made, is that crowdsourcing? If not, what about American Idol?

Posted on July 23, 2009, in Culture, Personal, Technology. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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