Crowdsourcing: My experience with MTurk

It took exactly a week, but I did it. I earned my first 10 dollars on Amazon Mechanical Turk ($12.98 to be exact!). Most of the tasks seemed pretty pointless, but I actually enjoyed doing a few of them. The majority of tasks required very little thinking, so I could do other things like watch movies while completing them.

Tasks Performed

The top two tasks I performed were completing psychological surveys and recording myself reading various Spanish phrases, but I also did tasks like rate comics and make pen line drawings of people. My favorite task was speaking Spanish—it took about 10 minutes, and I got about 85 cents for each task. The best part was that I got to practice my pronunciation, something that can always be improved.

The Spanish recording hits were fun and useful for me because I got to practice pronunciation.

The easiest task I did was clicking “like” on a Facebook photo. While I didn’t see much of a point to most tasks, I saw the value in this hit. By getting a bunch of random people to click like, the poster could win a contest for having the most likes. I only got 2 or 5 cents for it, but it was quick enough, and I could at least see that my work was actually worthwhile.

Thoughts on topics mentioned in posted slides.

Though I had a little bit of fun working to get 10 dollars, I got frustrated with the ridiculously low pay. Only two dollars to transcribe 40 minutes of audio? Really? Not worth it. It would take me about two hours to do that, and there’s no way I would do two hours of work for only two dollars.

I definitely think the posters are taking advantage of the MTurk workers, but it’s not like the workers are doing anything to change this. They continue to work for the lousy pay, I guess because it’s better than nothing.

I don’t see how anyone could possibly make a living off of MTurk, since the pay is just awful and workers get no benefits. However, I think it makes for nice pocket cash and can be used to save up for something fun. I actually might keep going with the Turking. I just started learning to play guitar, so maybe I’ll work toward getting a guitar. It would take a while, but maybe as I keep earning a few cents or dollars a day as I take lessons from my patient friends, I’ll be able to pay for a guitar by the time I know how to play a few songs.

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