Thursday turned out to be quite difficult for editors in charge of newspapers. As of mid day, it was evident that the prime minister's speech in the Lok Sabha was one of those typical Narendra Modi affairs, full of clever jibes and campaign material. If nothing else noteworthy had happened, there would have been no question about what ended up as lead story on the front pages. But something else did happen: Kanhaiya Kumar.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union president had emerged earlier in the day from jail after having been arrested on charges of sedition. Kumar turned up at JNU's administration block by evening and, amid hundreds of students, gave a remarkable speech that was broadcast live.
For a student leader who had been arrested, vilified, attacked and eventually granted bail after undertaking to channel his energies constructively, Kumar's speech was a revelation. Most were certain that, by arresting him, the Modi government had created a new leader. And the front pages reflected that.
As can be expected papers like the Telegraph and the Indian Express gave much of their front pages to Kumar, with even the Times of India putting Modi and the JNUSU president's speech on practically the same footing. A few newspapers – like a few television channels that chose not to broadcast Kumar's speech the previous night – did choose not to put Kumar on the front page.
Meet four companies using crowd-sourcing to put you at the center of their businesses
Allowing users “behind the curtain” is paying off in big ways for these organizations.
The web has connected companies and consumers like never before. Whether through websites, social media or messaging apps, an exciting two-way dialogue has emerged. A few select companies have realized how to harness these linkages for more than just likes, shares and fancy Instagram snaps. Rather, they see true value in bringing their customers “behind the curtain” and crowd-sourcing their input on current and new products. For the companies listed below, this shift towards greater transparency and accountability is translating into much greater customer satisfaction.
Facebook’s “Bug Bounty” program. No web-based service gets it right the first time, not even Facebook. That’s why they established the “Bug Bounty” program in 2011. This clever program incentivizes users to find and report bugs in existing features, and often allows top developers access to exclusive new features before they go live. The reward can be as high as $15,000 per glitch, with the bounty varying depending on the level of risk a bug poses. Facebook has made more than $4 million in payouts to more than 800 researchers since the program began, which shows the inordinate value they place on user partnership.
Google Maps “Local Guides” program. Ever wonder how Google Maps tends to be so spot on? Meet their “Local Guides” program, which rewards active users who rectify and add new pins to keep the maps as up to date and accurate as possible. The rewards are distributed in a “level system” whereby people who make small contributions are entered into giveaways or given special access to new Google features. More significant contributions come with greater rewards, too: a level 4 user, for example, is granted 1TB of Google Drive space for 2 years.
Wikipedia. Knowledge is for everyone, and the democratization of knowledge is the fundamental principle that led Jimmy Wales to start Wikipedia. The internet encyclopedia project is free of charge and allows users to copy and change it as long as they follow certain guidelines. The project has been alive since 2001, and is available today in 275 active language editions with 41,000,000 total registered users. The user community actively edits and adds information, and the encyclopedia is always in a constant state of update and improvement.
Airtel. Another initiative that is pioneering new standards for transparency and accountability is Airtel’s Open Network initiative. Through this move, Airtel wants to create a seamless mobile experience for customers by partnering with them to improve its network. The Open Network website allows users to track coverage and signal strength across the country in real-time and provides a direct channel for communicating leaks in service. Customers can see where Airtel’s current network towers are and even the ones the company plans to build in the future. It even lets customers offer up space for placing new towers in areas they are planned or were forcibly shut down.
This will help Airtel learn which spots need better connectivity and enable it to improve the network in those areas. With this hyperlocal knowledge and insight of customers, Airtel intends to build a seamless network that will cater to populations that may not have received the full benefit of its network until now.
By working closely with their customers, Airtel is readying itself for dramatic improvements in service and massive leaps in customer satisfaction. To check out Airtel coverage in your area, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel and not by the Scroll editorial team.