Twitch: a part-time job with 2 second shifts

Crowdsourcing has opened a lot of doors to creative minds to come up with all sorts of collaborative projects. It leverages the power in numbers in all sorts of business settings and innovation. When combined with apps, another huge gateway for people to offer services or get a cheap ticket into the business world, doors of unprecedented potential open up. The combination of crowdsourcing and computer apps opened the door for a new app called Twitch. This app was developed by Michael Bernstein and his colleagues. The idea behind it is fairly simple, the app replaces a phone’s unlock screen with an interface for crowdsourcing (Marks, 2014). Swiping to unlock the phone is replaced by carrying out a task. These tasks involve things such as choosing the better of two photos, verifying if a “fact” on a website like Wikipedia or answering single quick survey questions.

To test the viability of the app, 82 people were recruited and the app was installed on their phone. These users went by their daily routines and at the end of 3 weeks, 11,200 tasks were completed (Marks, 2014). Studies were carried out regarding the app functionality, and it was found out that a regular swipe-to-unlock move takes around 1.4 seconds and the quickest task of Twitch takes around 1.6 seconds. Of course other tasks take longer than that but can still completed withing a few seconds. This low cognitive requirement is the strong point of such an app. (Marks, 2014).

Samuel Johnston, spokesman for Open Signal company, stated that “Twitch’s process of solicitation is uniquely mobile in that it allows tasks to be tailored to an individual’s location and ties into the frequent and rapid interactions individuals have with their mobile devices,”. Therefore, there is a huge potential especially in consumer surveys. These can be general surveys requested by different bodies or quick surveys by establishment in which the user is present at the time. For example, it would allow coffee shops or restaurants to ask quick questions to immediately evaluate the success of promotional offers, products, store layout, service. Furthermore, it can allow them to participate in draws to get rewarded for their participation.

Therefore, the company basically relies to splitting up long jobs into tasks that can be completed withing a couple of second, integrating those seconds over large crowds over time, can yield a huge number of “work” hours that the company can rent out or sell to realize some income. Furthermore, it can also pay its users for every time a task is carried out to provide extra incentive to use the task.

Said Idoum


Paul Marks (January 29, 2014). Crowdsourcing Twitch app could turn swipes into cash. Retrieved on 12 april 2014 from

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