Aging Audiences or Out of date Ideas: New Crowd-Sourcing Concepts Attract Elusive 18-to-30 Year Old Fans

Virtual Choir title screenTrudel | MacPherson has listened to complaints about disappearing audiences for classical music and we suggest learning from the amazing work of our favorite crowd-sourcing pioneer, Eric Whitacre. Already the most popular choral composer working today, Whitacre has pushed the classical music envelope by inviting thousands of choristers from all over the world to join his virtual choir – splicing individually recorded parts into one video. Check out the results out on one of YouTube’s most popular posts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

Virtual Choir screen captureWhitacre has inspired millions via his new approaches to audience engagement, making audiences participants in the creative process. We’re studying the key aspects of effective crowdsourcing and suggest an approach that engages by making the engagement matter. Our new crowdsourcing framework – Making It Matter—focuses on three basic rules:

  1. Make it Matter

  2. Make it Easy

  3. Make it Fun

We suggest encouraging visitors to an organization’s website to help make a difference and serve the common good, while enjoying the competitive/collaborative process of participating. Here are a few examples we think are interesting and effective:

The New York Public Library (NYPL) which boasts more than one million social media followers invited visitors to transcribe more than one million dishes from 15,000 historic menus, engaging followers in a task that could only be accomplished by a crowd of concerned foodies http://menus.nypl.org

Another NYPL project celebrates national poetry month with the first national poetry content on Twitter eager poets will have the thrill of having chosen offerings become part of an official NYPL poetry ebook http://www.nypl.org/media-center/national-poetry-contest

UMS (University Musical Society) encourages audiences to curate its virtual lobby – an online companion to the center’s actual lobby where visitors can comment on performances and connect with other fans and critics http://www.umslobby.org/.

The Seattle Opera makes new opera goers feel comfortable via its First Timers Opera Blog, inviting a neophyte to report on her experiences and suggest new ways the art form can be more welcoming http://seattleopera.org/tickets/ring/ring_2009/confessions/

What all these projects have in common is sensitivity to audiences’ passionate interests and short attention spans. The workflow demands are easy, the process is so engaging it can become additive and the bottom line is fans leave behind a meaningful “product” for other viewers to enjoy.

 Tell us what you think and how crowd-sourcing is working for you.

2 Responses to Aging Audiences or Out of date Ideas: New Crowd-Sourcing Concepts Attract Elusive 18-to-30 Year Old Fans

  1. JM says:

    Really interesting, thanks!

    Given your interest, I think that you (and the other readers here) would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across that theorizes about crowds and such similar phenomena.

    It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

    In my view it provides a powerful, yet simple model, getting to the heart of the matter. Enjoy!

    • Mary Trudel says:

      Dear JM –
      Many thanks for bringing this research to our attention– “The Theory of Crowd Capital” by Pripic and Shukla from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Franser University. We agree that it provides a reasoned approach to building external as well as internal knowledge to give organizations a competitive edge! Interestingly to us, is the importance of an organization’s building a “Crowd Capability” before crowd capital (the results of successful crowd-sourcing) can flourish. It all starts with “engagement” with those dispersed knowledgeable individuals –AKA the Crowd.

      The best approaches we’ve seen reach out to unknown groups of problem-solvers with open calls for solutions — which have a psychic or actual reward.

      In this era of doing more with less, we are intrigued by groups that succeed in harnessing the power of networks to extend and improve their work.

      Best,
      Mary

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