Archive for the ‘Weinergate’ Tag
I’ve been thinking about whether there are any lessons to be learned from Weinergate that I could explore here. So far, my thoughts boil down to “don’t be a douche,” so I’ve decided to explore another political hot topic: Sarah Palin.
As you are probably aware, Gov. Palin was on “vacation” in Boston recently and when a local TV reporter asked her a generic question about what she had seen that day, and she gave an awkward and historically inaccurate explanation of Paul Revere’s ride. Now, being a southern girl, I must confess that my own retention of American Revolution history is not nearly as strong as the Civil War, but even I knew she had it wrong. You can tell from watching the video that she knows it, too.
It didn’t surprise me that she refused to admit she was wrong. What did surprise me was how quickly her supporters mobilized to try to rewrite history (as represented through Wikipedia) on her behalf.
Wikipedia’s genius—as well as its Achilles heel—is its crowdsourced content. But what happens when the crowd is actually a mob with nefarious intent? Is this where the democratizing effect of the Internet starts to break down? Turns out those folks at Wikipedia weren’t born yesterday, and they have mechanisms in place to freeze entries when other members of the crowd spot funny business, and that is what they have done to the entry in question.
But, this kind of thing happens all the time, particularly when the stakes are high. At the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago earlier this month, Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org, shared a story about a high-profile corporate cause marketing contest that used crowdsourcing for which they were an NGO partner. She asked one of her interns to see if there was a way to game the system. It took him two weeks to figure out how to rig it. She then dropped out of the contest, for fear that her organization’s reputation would be sullied if word got out that it was so flawed.
The moral of the story for an organization that wants to employ crowd-sourcing: make sure you have back-stops built in to preserve the integrity of your efforts, particularly if there is big money or history at stake.
Click here for 12 tips from my colleagues and me about effective cause marketing from CMF11.