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The Influencers: Five to Follow on Twitter for Crowdsourcing

By Kara Ohngren Prior

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the economy fights to rebound, many employers are forgoing paying full-time employees, and are instead tapping into the online community of hungry freelancers. Many business tasks -- marketing, public relations, research, design, legal services -- can be handled quickly and affordably through crowdsourcing sites.

One of the first to latch onto the opportunity was programmer Ian Ippolito, who launched (formerly in 2002. His Tampa, Fla.-based site connects businesses with a global market of more than 312,900 virtual workers in hundreds of fields. Ippolito estimates last year's revenue at about $3 million.

Here's Ippolito's list of the top Twitter feeds to follow to stay on top of popular and emerging trends in crowdsourcing:

1. @Crowdsourcing
Followers: 10,223
Tweets: 1,791
Jeff Howe coined the term "crowdsourcing" and wrote a book on the subject last year. He's a writer at Wired Magazine and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. His Twitter feed offers a healthy dose of personal info and interesting business tidbits.
Sample Tweet: Coming in late, #wjchat: I crowdsource questions from my J-School students, in real time, on the projector, as I lecture. Totes awesome.

2. @nytimesfriedman
Followers: 24, 432
Tweets: 257
Thomas Friedman is a New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author. He primarily tweets links about business from a global perspective. "Friedman was one of the first to understand and explain globalization, outsourcing and crowdsourcing," Ippolito says.
Sample Tweet: Going Long Liberty in China

3. @TAEradio
Followers: 509
Tweets: 1,245
Ron Morris is the host of the American Entrepreneur radio show. His inspirational tweets stem from the interviews he conducts with successful entrepreneurs in the crowdsourcing sector, and beyond.
Sample Tweet: "The goal is to work on the business, not in the business, and if you have effective systems, you can do that."

4. @Xprize
Followers: 3,874
Tweets: 722
A great example of crowdsourcing done right, the X PRIZE Foundation is one of the original and largest crowdsourcing contests devoted to radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Its Twitter feed is an up-to-the-minute report on its latest contests to drive innovators to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the world today.
Sample Tweet: Genomics X PRIZE Advisor, Leroy Hood wins $500k prize 4 "for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine"

5. @AlizaSherman
Followers: 9,479
Tweets: 26,361
Aliza Sherman is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing. Her Twitter feed is full of tech news and quirky personal updates.
Sample Tweet :I need the digital post-it that comes directly from brain to digital device w/o the need to launch anything. Someone pls invent.

Kara Ohngren is a freelance writer and part-time editor at YoungEntrepreneur. Her work has appeared in publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Huffington Post and Business Insider.

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