Nobody expected Twitter to be as useful as it’s turned out to be. Maybe this will work, too. National Public Radio has a story about The Extraordinaires, which is not a 60s British spy show but a social-media enterprise that encourages brief bursts of volunteerism.
Through The Extraordinaries, you might be able to use your smart phone — while waiting in the dentist’s office or standing in the Dept. of Motor Vehicles line — to:
• translate a foreign-language document into English
• add identifying tags to photos and videos for a museum
• give advice to a college applicant
During your lunch break you could snap a picture of a pothole that needs patching and zap it to the proper authorities. You could report a dying elm to the parks-and-recreation department or spot a rare woodpecker for the Audubon Society.
“This is an organization that changes the paradigm,” says Jacob Colker, 26, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Extraordinaries. “We hope people might look differently at that ride on the bus and not just play video games.”
Skepticism is healthy, too, of course. I’m still on crowdsourcing 101, myself, but unintended consequences can sometimes be positive.
[What are you doing? by wharman]