There is an old saying that goes like this, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.” I typically hear this a lot when it comes to dating and marriage, but I think it applies to networking as well. I mean, let’s face it. Anyone can call themselves a doctor, but how do you know that they are indeed a doctor, let alone a good one? Well, one way to weed out the pretenders is by “crowdsourcing.” I stumbled across an interesting blogpost called “Crowdsourcing Definition #1: What is Collective Intelligence?” that discusses how the wisdom of crowds is often superior to the wisdom of the individual.
Here is a quote:
What is collective intelligence? Jeff Howe, the guy that came up with the term crowdsourcing, says it this way, “A central principle animating crowdsourcing is that the group contains more knowledge than individuals.” James Suroweicki says, “Even if most of the people within a group are not especially well-informed or rational, it can still reach a collectively wise decision.” This is the science that explains why when asked for a lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the crowd guesses 91% correctly, whereas experts have a 61% likelihood of getting the right answer. The answers that come from crowdsourcing are called collective intelligence or wisdom of crowds. Yes, two terms for the same thing.
When I saw that, a lightbulb flickered in my head. As I continued to read, something else jumped out at me.
So what does it take to achieve collective intelligence? Will any group of people do? Crowdsourcing has three unique requirements to deliver collective intelligence – (1) a diverse crowd, (2) a qualified crowd, and (3) the right sized crowd.
This sounded like Twitter to me. Why?
- Twitter has a large and diverse crowd with 75 million members.
- Twitter members can be qualified with the right searches.
- Whether or not the number of qualified people (and “qualified” differs with each search) are a large enough sample to give wise information, it is certainly large enough to give you a significant number of pre-qualified leads to people you may want to network with.
Let me show you what I mean by looking up some… umm… some iPhone developers.
- I begin by seeking out Twitter followers who have been described by the collective wisdom of Twitter users as being an iPhone developer.
- Once I have found these iPhone developers, I will look for moreiPhone developers based on the opinion of the iPhone developers that the crowd has sourced.
I use a few search strings to find Twitter lists that focus on iPhone developers.
- site:twitter.com/*/lists/ iphone
- site:twitter.com/*/lists/ iphone developer | engineer
- intitle:*.is.following site:twitter.com iphone developer
Among the results was @joshgrenon who (according to his bio) is “Creator/Co-Host of Inspirageek, .NET programmer, WordPress noob,iPhone developer, Editor for techdrawl.com and reader of success books.”
I notice that he is on 100 lists, so I click that link (as shown below).
I then take a closer look at the lists that are following him or in other words, how the collective wisdom of Twitter crowds has labeled him. Here is a list of the words that stood out to me.
So according to the Twitter crowd @joshgrenon is an iPhone developer worthy of my networking time as he has been cited on several Twitter lists focused on software and iPhone development; along with several other iPhone developers. (Of course, this is based on the assumption that I have an interest in networking with iPhone developers.)
So what do you think of my logic? I would LOVE to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.