Community sourcing beats crowd sourcing

One of the panels at SXSW I was most looking forward to was Star Wars Uncut: The Force of Crowdsourcing

The emmy-award winning ‘Stars Wars Uncut’ is based on a simple premise –

Chop the film up into fifteen second segments, get people to claim one and then redo it in any style they wished.

The first 473 segments were claimed in just 3 days from people in over 100 countries

According to the creators who formed this entertaining sxsw panel, there were a number of factors for this staggering success but two really strike me as important.

The first is discovered if you try and search Star Wars. What you will find is that Stars Wars is, quite literally, just a touch less popular than Jesus.

Not just in America but throughout the world and probably the universe too (I’m certain there are a couple of aliens sitting down to watch  ‘Return of the Jedi’ as I type this)

The second reason for its success follows directly from the first. Where you find extreme interest in a subject you find communities. Communities for whom the idea of an ‘Ewok Festival of Love Painting Challenge’ is the most exciting thing they can think of. By the way I didn’t make that up. And if you want to enter it’s not too late.

So if you have massive and passionate fan base who already love the film so much they’re prepared to do portraits of Ewoks in their spare time, it’s not to hard to imagine them finding the time to do a 15 second clip.

All the ‘Star Wars Uncut’ creators were doing was tapping into this energy.

In this sense ‘Star Wars Uncut’ is more community sourcing than crowd sourcing.

There’s a lesson here for us advertising types. If we research our target market and discover what they are already engaging with, we can harness their passions and start providing them with the tools apps and platforms that let them create their own entertainment. Judging by what people uploaded for ‘Star Wars Uncut’ I’d suggest that this content is better than that provided by any ‘professionals’ in the field.

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