Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crowdsourcing Creation: Comics by Committee

The Triggerstreet announcement has me thinking about this crowdsourcing thing. Wikipedia defines Crowdsourcing thusly:

Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine an algorithm or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data (see also citizen science).

As I understand it, members of Triggerstreet will serve the function of reviewing comics, providing criticism and feedback. There are a few clear benefits to this type of set-up. The most obvious is that it provides the creator a chance to gauge perception before s/he has made a final commitment to pursue a particular creative route. If something doesn't play well, the artist can change it. Additionally, it gives the creator some publicity. At it's heart, this is a promotional tool. If nothing else, it puts the creators name out there for future collaborations.

From a business sense, this kind of site makes a lot of sense for creators. It's very possible, that a commercial success will result from a Triggerstreet winner. From an artistic point of view, though, this kind of thing makes me sick. A true creative endeavor cannot be focus grouped. it has to come from the heart. Names might be made on projects like this, but I think the real innovators will come up through more traditional channels, or create channels of their own. When it comes down to it, the comic industry loves innovators over innovation.

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