published by Indigo Productions


Crowdsourcing at the Thanksgiving Table

By Konrad from Elliottsweb for Indigo Productions

I spent this year’s Thanksgiving in Downer’s Grove, IL at my friend’s parents’ home.  The atmosphere was great and the food delicious—everything was simply wonderful!  Now, what’s interesting is the fact that all the goodies on the table were provided courtesy of crowdsourcing…sort of!

Coincidentally, we JUST WROTE about both crowdsourcing and crowdfunding on our video production blog the other day.  So, how can these phenomena possibly be related to a Thanksgiving dinner for a small group of family and friends?  Turns out a lot!

Each member of my friend’s family prepared at least one course for the Thanksgiving table.  After gobbling up our first helping, each cook described his or her dish, its preparation and ingredients.  That was the moment when I decided to write this article.  The source of inspiration was my friend’s sister—Nicole.

Nicole prepared tasty, fresh backed biscuits made from scratch.  I believe THEY were the first ITEM to disappear from the table.  Very tasty indeed.  Nicole admitted that her first trial attempt—a recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine—was a complete failure.  When Nicole explained, “I followed the recipe to the T, as I always do, so instead of trying again or looking for other recipes, I crowdsourced a recipe from Facebook,” I immediately had a little lightbulb light up over my head and promptly requested an interview then and there.

My first question was how exactly did she “crowdsource on Facebook?”  The simplest solutions are often best, so that’s what she went for—she posted an update asking for help from the pros!

Nicole’s cry for help WAS answered by six people, EACH OF WHOM volunteered their recipes.  A question she did not expect was whether she intended to do a cut or “dropped” biscuit.  After a quick research (read: let me Google it for you), the decision was made to follow the “dropped” biscuit method—suggested that two friends of hers, who are complete strangers to each other and live opposite sides of the country.

A little further into our ad-hoc interview it turned out that Nicole is a master of crowdsourcing using Facebook.  Another interesting example includes asking where in Chicago can she locate two Turkish breakfast items, which she planned to serve for post-Thanksgiving breakfast the next day.  Being a Turkophone (and a self-declared Turkophile) she wrote the message in Turkish, which generated a flood of responses.  Who would have thought that a Facebook post asking such a simple question could go viral?

Back to the Thanksgiving table.  While Nicole’s use of technology and harnessing the power of social media to get a basket of perfect biscuits is clearly an example of crowdsourcing, it was not the only one.  The simple fact that the whole family contributed to the dinner could also be considered a low-key type of crowdsourcing—especially since it involved a group of people that contributed in smaller chunks of work, known to project management professionals as sub-tasks and work packages just without strict structures, Gantt Charts, and other project development life-cycle ‘accessories’ that business schools around the country are so fond of mentioning on every possible occasion (wink, wink).

But stop!  There’s more!  Another trendy buzzword floating around nowadays is crowdfunding.  So, what is crowdfunding?  In simplest terms, it is exactly what the name implies, that is a type of crowdsourcing where “the crowd” collaborates to finance an endeavor instead of simply doing the grunt work.

So, how does that relate to our Thanksgiving table?  It’s simple really, since everybody contributed to fill the table (and the liquor cabinet), they had to finance the produce required for preparation of the food.  Since contributions were not limited to human resources but also included financing, we can say that we crowdfunded the Thanksgiving dinner.  One could argue that real crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and crowdwhateverelsethereis requires online collaboration to fit the definition but I can refute that right away, after all I was invited via a Facebook message and received all the details in the form of iMessages.

Various “Crowdactivities,” great company, and delicious food—the biscuits of course, two turkeys (one of them deep fried!), rice-free zucchini risotto with wild mushrooms (a mix of chanterelle, boletus edulis, and morels), to name just a few—are not the only things that made the Thanksgiving 2013 special.  This year, Thanksgiving (date: 11/28/13) and Hanukkah (date range: 11/27/13 to 12/5/13) fell on the same date, which hasn’t happened since the 19th century (125 years ago in 1888) and won’t happen again for a long time.  There are numerous different numbers being thrown around on the Internet but in reality, next time the two Holidays coincide will happen in 2070 and then again in 2165.  70,000 is the number of years we’ll have to wait until a full day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving happen together.

Since our hosts celebrated both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, or Thanksgivukkah as we came to call it, I had a chance to celebrate Hanukkah for the first time myself—there was a toddler who was a first-timer there, too.

Speaking of Hanukkah and Crowdsourcing, I was told a story how the siblings in question, inspired by the (in)famous “ugly Christmas sweaters,” decided to search the Internet for “ugly Hanukkah sweaters” and what did they find?  The first result was a crowdfunding/crowdsourcing initiative to manufacture and sell Hanukkah sweaters online—what a small world!

Do you have any Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah stories connected to crowdsourcing or video production (or any other type of feedback for that matter)?  If so, we want to hear all about it—please use the comments section below and share your story or your thoughts on the subject!


Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Dinner
South-West Suburban Home, Downer's Grove,IL
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Category: Crowdfunding Video Production, Crowdsourcing Video Production, Video Production

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