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A Prime Example of Collective Intelligence

March 12, 2011

When i think about Collective Intelligence which is one of the core Web 2.0 patterns, the first example of this that comes to mind, is a web 2.0 application called HowCast.

This application is a clear example of an online community coming together to enrich the knowledge base of the community by empowering people to create video content to enhance the community knowledge base.

This application allows the community to create video content on any topic, while providing the ability to comment and respond to a particular video.

Much like Youtube although the main difference between HowCast and Youtube is that Howcast is developed for the sole purpose of creating video “How To’s” to increase the knowledge base of it’s users.

HowCast have also extended their reach to the mobile Platform, with an app for the Iphone an Android based mobile phones, while also integrating Facebook login to their site.

This added functionality serves a number of  functions.

  • Allowing users a easy and simple login
  • Extending their community reach with the ability to comment/share videos on Facebook.
  • Simple “Howto” video creation via mobile apps
  • Extending their community reach to everyday people who might otherwise not login to the actual website without the mobile app.

HowCast have followed a number of best practices when attempting to hardness the collective intelligence of its user base.

  • Don’t force the user to signup to simply have a look around on the site.
  • Trust the User with their contributions.
  • Simple Sign up Process – to allow the user to reach the content they are searching for as fast as possible

obviously there are many such applications out on the web that provide a similar user experience, although from personal experience i have found HowCast to be a very useful application which i use on regular basis due to its rich community base.

What are you’re thoughts on this?


oreilly hardness collective intelligence


From → Web 2.0

One Comment
  1. Trent Heath permalink

    The main benefit I can see here is that collective intelligence is encouraged due to the very low barrier to entry and also the ability to share. Looking at some Howcast videos from the homepage, the variety available is incredibly diverse (and I mean that!). It is clear that by simplifying the processes of making, supporting and publishing instructional video content, there is a powerful learning and publishing platform here.

    Looking at the share options, it is clear that this information is designed to be shared. This creates enormous value around the content, and possibly invites more people to contribute, further enhancing the quality and value of both existing and new Howcast videos.

    This is certainly a much more engaging learning or instructional experience compared to places like eHow and WikiHow due to the content mode. This is where even more consumer value lies. It provides an alternative learning option for those that find it difficult to learn by reading, and need to see something to assimilate information and knowledge.

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