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This chapter is from the book Finding the answers from other people

Finding the answers from other people

It is easy to feel that you are an island, working away towards your goal of becoming a web professional or at least gaining a certain level of proficiency. But of course, you are not alone; you are virtually a click away from untold numbers of people. This is where your learning moves from solo to being community-based.


Web searches aren’t the only way to find information. Crowd-sourcing is a research method that has gained popularity due to its speed and effectiveness. Crowd-sourcing is harnessing the knowledge of a large community of people to generate ideas, problem-solve and create solutions.

The rise of crowd-sourcing has been concurrent with the boom of social media. Indeed, there is practically no better way to access untold numbers of people who share similar interests. The main channels of crowd-sourcing are anyplace there is a critical mass of people reading the information and able to interact with you, such as through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, blogs, forums, wikis, and mailing lists.

How do you do it? Start by simply asking for answers, resources, opinions, or the sharing of experience. You can provide incentives, but usually people will respond without them. If you’ve ever asked a question on Twitter and received a number of responses within minutes or have written a blog post with a question and had it answered, then you have experienced crowd-sourcing.

When crowd-sourcing remember this: the answer is only as good as the source. The more people who respond to your request, the better, because then, either you will be able to sift through the responses to find those that are the most appropriate for the situation, or the crowd will vet the responses and give you the best solution.

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