A while back, I introduced you to a few online tools for crowdsourcing. "Crowdsourcing" 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 to find an obscure source for a story, or maybe you're just looking for advice. Either way, here are three relatively new tools that are free and easy to use.
Quora is a new crowdsourcing site that harnesses the people in your social networks as well as others. You ask questions to the group and members answer. But the neat thing about Quora is that all of the questions and answers are then put into categories and archived, so that the conversations become a body of content that can later be researched and reused.
Aardvark debuted at a summit I attended last year and has grown significantly since then. Aardvark is a social search engine, where you can post questions to the people in your social network (and the people in your friends' networks). Aardvark uses a series of algorithms to determine the best person to answer your question, and relays your query. Wtihin minutes, you'll get an answer. Aardvark impressed researchers and search companies so much that it was acquired by Google recently.
LinkedIn isn't necessarily new, but it has recently undergone a site redesign and some new functionality was added. Post a question to LinkedIn and tap the wisdom of the site's millions of users.
Amy Webb is a digital media consultant and the CEO of Webbmedia Group, LLC. She has also launched Knowledgewebb, a new website for multimedia training. You can follow Amy on Twitter. 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.