The role of non-monetary incentives in crowdsourcing and social production projects
Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine
Cory Doctorow popularized the notion of “whuffie”—a reputation-based currency that took the place of money—in his science fiction book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Web 2.0 conventional wisdom—promulgated by this speaker, among others—is that whuffie and other non-monetary incentives fuel a vast portion of the collaborative, productive activity taking place on the Internet. But what little empirical data exists shows that money plays a greater role than this somewhat Utopian vision allows. Is Whuffie the next coin of the realm, just wishful thinking or a combination of both.
Jeff Howe is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covers the media and entertainment industry, among other subjects. In June of 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. He has continued to cover the phenomenon in his blog, crowdsourcing.com, and released the book Crowdsourcing in 2008. Before coming to Wired he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. In his fifteen years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has written for U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Alysia Abbott, their daughter Annabel Rose and son Phineas and a miniature black lab named Clementine.