Reading articles about the internet can teach you many things.  Like why can’t I get paid like everyone else?  You showed up late, and it’s all about being first. Why does so many free services exists that so many people use? They have value to the programmers, they just don’t tell you what kind of value.  Why do people do the things that they do?  People are random.  People do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons, but we still think we can figure them out.

Reading Jeff Howe’s article on crowdsourcing explained how people can make money off the internet and businesses are more than happy to pay.  Crowdsourcing is a method where businesses pose problems to the internet and ask for assistance.  Solutions are then compensated by the businesses.  Lots of money can be made in this way.  Little bits of money can be made this way as well.  In the end, it adds up to a lot of money spread across multiple avenues.  Crowdsourcing is just one method that the internet community can be used as a tool.

Jose van Dijck looked at internet tools in a different way.  He presented what the tools themselves gain from the community.  Popularity is nice, but it is also profitable.  What a tool may lose by being free to the general public, it gains through connections and data.  Users sign up to these sites and turn over their rights to privacy to varying degrees.  Sites are able to track usage of their tools and how those tools are being used.  The sites gain demographics and behavioral statistics.  These bits of information turn into data that is sought out by other businesses that are interested in how people are using the internet.  That data can also be used to motivate business to work themselves into the tools.  The tool may be free upfront to the community, but it takes away something worth more than a simple subscription fee.

Lastly, we have to understand why people use the internet and its tools in the way that they do.  Terry Daugherty and his team decided to research into those motivations.  People can have many reasons to interact with internet, and Daugherty’s test was to analyze those reasons using the standard motivation tools that have been developed over decades.  Those reasons are broken down into four main points: utilitarian function, knowledge, ego-defensive, and value-expression. The survey added in a social component to add another layer based on how social media chooses self-described. This analysis relates to rewards (utilitarian), for knowledge sake (knowledge), for people’s well-being (ego-defensive), for self-expression (value-expression), and socializing with others (social). The survey was sent out and they received a sample of more than 300 people.  The results were fairly predictable.  The leading reason for people doing things across the internet: social.  People like to connect to others.  Ego-defensive and value-expression came next and those falling to the rear were utilitarian and knowledge.  People first wanted to be social, then helpful and entertaining. Ego-defensive and value-expression can be taken as social aspects as well, at least more so than the other two.

People like other people.  Recluses are the oddities.  It only makes sense that human beings will gather and share.  The internet only makes it easier to find like-minded others. We want to speak and be heard, and if people are listening to us, we’re more likely to listen to them.