You may already be familiar with the term "crowdsourcing," which refers to relying on the wisdom of a crowd to help answer a question or learn more about a particular topic. Typically, a user of a social network will "crowdsource" a subject by asking all of his/her friends and then responding to replies.
You might need a to find an obscure source for a story, or perhaps you're just looking for advice. Either way, reaching out to your network can be a great way to find high-quality information quickly.
There are a handful of new websites and applications that can help you tap the wisdom of your crowd, even if you don't know any code. Below are just a few ways to get started:
PollDaddy is a free and simple way to create online polls that can be distributed via your website, as a widget, or even through Twitter. It includes lots of templates to choose from, and you can export the results or even get them through Email or RSS.
Twtpoll is a crowdsourcing application that integrates directly with Twitter. You can also create and distribute twtpolls via Facebook and FriendFeed.
Don't overlook LinkedIn, which can be a powerful resource for finding information. Rather than posting a question (I'm looking for a source on xyz) in your status update, try using LinkedIn's Q&A section instead. Look for the Answers button after logging in, and then start asking. Depending on how many people you send your question to, it may only take minutes to get an answer.
Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and head of Webbmedia Group, LLC. She has also launched Knowledgewebb, a new website for multimedia training. You can also follow Amy on Twitter and delicious. Webbmedia Group is a vendor-neutral company. Any opinions expressed about products or services are formed after testing, research and interviews. Neither Amy Webb nor Webbmedia Group or its employees receives any financial or other benefits from vendors.