Mar 29

Crowd sourcing the cephalopod

Victoria Baxter

The octopus is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Pandas are so last year.  The octopus, the smart but spineless creature, is the new star of the National Zoo. An octopus is surprisingly smart and curious, which can lead to some unfortunate mishaps and escapes from aquariums.  They are also extremely flexible, like the octopus in Boston that stuffed its entire 7 foot body into a 14 inch glass cube to get at lunch. 

But don’t just consider the octopus, name him (or her – they are not 100% sure of the little detail yet!).  The National Zoo is holding an online contest where people can name the zoo’s newest “charismatic cephalopod.”

Crowd sourcing has been a hot topic of late in social media circles. Our team recently attended a session on crowd sourcing at the SXSW Interactive Festival.  Does this contest count as crowd sourcing and does it add value to the zoo? 

The contest definitely fits into the broad category of crowd sourcing by allowing zoo fans to name the newest arrival.  One limit the zoo imposed is that you select one of four possible names. (Olympus, Ceph, Octavius and Vancouver, if you were wondering.)  The contest could have been more participatory by allowing people to suggest their own names.   But then again, the zoo doesn’t have to live with what would have been my well organized campaign to name the octopus Smarty Pants.  Even still, the contest is a way to build engagement with fans of the zoo. Not a bad move when trying to build excitement for an animal that doesn’t have a panda’s star appeal or its own TV show

Get your vote in before April 7th.  The winning name will be announced on Facebook and Twitter.


Sign-Up to Receive Our Social Impact Newsletters



Must-read social impact news, trends and insights. (Monthly)