Power to the People
From teen novels to web TV, crowdsourcing is informing entertainment
Media / 12 Aug 2010

Seeking guidance from online "juries" on everything from our fashion choices to our own shortcomings is becoming the norm, so it's no surprise that the entertainment sector is also seeking the public opinion. Though we sometimes wonder if certain things are best left to professionals, we certainly are enjoying the democratized results.

Loser/Queen: Hoping to inspire new enthusiasm in teen readers, Simon and Schuster partnered with online community Living Social's Visual Bookshelf to create an interactive book in which readers are invited to participate in the storytelling process. The result, New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson's Loser/Queen, is an online serial novel (sponsored by JCPenney) which follows main character Cammy as she navigates the challenges of high school. The first chapters of the book were posted online in late July, after which readers have been asked to vote on how the story will develop. The posting of new chapters, as well as each voting installment, occurs every Monday now through September 13th. In addition to steering the plot, readers will also weigh in on the book's cover art before it's published offline at the end of the year. If only we could have crowdsourced our own high school experience.
Dan 3.0: Twenty-year-old YouTube celeb Dan Brown - he's perhaps best known for his Rubik's Cube tutorial - is the star of a new social experiment-turned-television show in which he's putting his life in the hands of his fans. While Brown isn't the first to use social media to dictate the course of his life, his online TV show, Dan 3.0, will document his journey as he crowdsources his life for the next year. For the next 365 days, Brown will be inviting viewers to make suggestions on how he should spend his time. Airing on the Internet TV network Revision3, the series provides viewers with access to a "decision engine," through which they can make their own suggestions for Brown. Each day he will post a video documenting his life as a virtual puppet for the voyeurs at home. But don't assume that Brown will start breaking laws at the whim of his fans, as he does have veto power - although he hopes to never have to use it.
Wired.com's Music Experiment: As an investigation into the crowdsourcing phenomenon, Wired.com took jamming to a whole new level when the site asked its readers to collaborate on a piece of music. Starting with bass, guitar and drum tracks laid down by Wired.com and Indaba Music staff members, readers were asked to add their own musical elements and vocals to arrange a synergistic piece of music using the tools on Indaba's site. The project spawned over 900 member activities during the month of May alone. Wired.com has now selected its top five songs and is asking readers to vote on their favorite track. Once that song is determined, Wired.com plans to launch a remix contest to extend the experiment. Unfortunately, with a number of participants having formed "supergroups," we probably don't stand a chance.

©The Intelligence Group