What is microtasking?

Microtasking helps process huge amounts of data, and by tapping a wider set of individuals, an organization gets to engage a broader community and introduce them to its mission. Photo by: Laura Billings / CC BY-NC

The term “microtasking” is often associated with crowdsourcing, which involves both the use of technology and a large number of people. But there’s a difference, according to Alix Dunn, executive director at The Engine Room, a U.S.-registered charity helping organizations navigate the use of data and technology.

Crowdsourcing is more about data collection — for example, when citizens take pictures of potholes across the city and send that to the government agency in charge of keeping roads safe for motorists and pedestrians. A number of nonprofit organizations use the concept in various ways. When it launched in 2007, for example, Ushahidi used crowdsourced information to keep track of and map election-related violence in Kenya.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.