Monday, May 16, 2011

Facebook As A Crowdsourcing Tool

Facebook is well-known for connecting friends, publicising events and allowing people to be in touch and up to date. But recently, a scientist conducted a fish survey using the social networking tool.In January, doctoral candidate Devin Bloom of the University of Toronto helped conduct the first ichthyological (fish) survey on Guyana's remote Cuyuni River. Led by Oregon State University's Brian Sidlauskas, the goal was to find which species of fish live in the Cuyuni and get a good estimate of their abundance.Bloom and the research team spent two weeks catching as many fish as they could. But after collecting more than 5,000 specimens, the team had a big problem.The team needed an accurate count of each species and provide a detailed report to the Guyanese government. That's when Bloom, who isn't exactly the most tech-savvy guy out there, suggested Facebook. Sidlauskas uploaded photos of each species. And in less than 24 hours, their network of friends - many of whom hold PhDs in ichthyology - had identified almost every specimen.With 5,000 identifications in hand, the team was able to deliver their results and return home on schedule.The team's novel use of Facebook to accurately crowd-source could change the face of facebook in coming days
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