Insights from Dead Ushahidi: What Makes a Thriving Crowd-Sourced Platform?

Ushahidi.comHere in Sarasota County, we love the idea of crowd-sourcing. Implementing the latest technology to provide a platform for community members to provide their input and wisdom is a great way to share that wisdom with a greater audience.  One such crowd-sourced platform that the Community Data Collaborative has been working on is the “Life is Good in Sarasota County” community video campaign. Life is Good in Sarasota County is all about discovering the qualities of life that matter to Sarasota County residents. Residents share their one-minute videos about a moment where they thought, “Wow, life is really good here in Sarasota County.” A rich composite picture about what is important to Sarasota County residents could be gleaned from these videos…if enough of them are collected to have a representative sample from the people who live here. A particular crowd-sourced online platform that SCOPErs have been keeping track of in the international realm is Ushahidi. This open-source platform collects data from text messages, smart phone videos, and online reports submitted by citizens. These reports are then entered in real-time into an interactive map, where they can be tracked; it was recently used during the swine-flu epidemic to track outbreaks around the world.

Then we discovered Dead Ushahidi, a website powered by the Ushahidi platform to track failed Ushahidi platforms around the world. Dead Ushahidis are crowd-sourced technologies that were created without goals or thought behind them; they were built, but no one came. The website is a crowd-sourced map of failed crowd-sourced maps, the equivalent of an “Ushahidi Cemetery” .

So what makes a crowd-sourced platform thrive, and what makes a “dead ushahidi?” According to Dead Ushahidi, a successful crowd-sourced platform is formed by first thinking carefully about how the platform will create the desired change. After that, effective outreach around the platform is important: people need to know about it and understand the purpose of it before they can decide if submitting their report is a worthwhile endeavor.

This is where YOU come in. Check out the Life is Good in Sarasota County page. Watch some of the videos. If you care about the Sarasota County community and have a Life is Good moment to share…Share it! And tell your friends about the site, and about sharing their Life is Good moments. Together we can show what makes life good here in Sarasota County and learn more about what matters to our community.