DGTL12002 Working with Social Media Week 4 – The Sheep Market and Innovation

The Sheep Market was an experiment conducted by Aaron Koblin in 2006 where individuals were paid 2 cents to draw and submit a sheep for collection. 7599 unique IP addresses visited the site and submitted sheep and the experiment stopped at 10000 sheep (Koblin 2006).

Figure 1: The Sheep Market website and the picture. Viewed 20th August 2016. Accessed at http://www.thesheepmarket.com



The site is an interesting study in its use of crowdsourcing to achieve its goals and can be considered innovative in some aspects.

To be innovative, a concept or project must be creative in its design, and be successfully created and implemented into reality (von Stamm 2008, pp. 1). In order to successfully implement a potentially innovative concept, the idea must be considered carefully if it is worth pursuing, it must be developed at a reasonable cost and the concept must be commercialised into the market (von Stamm 2008, pp. 1).

The Use of Social Media

Social media and networking sites have become extremely commonplace and are considered to be a normal forum for discussion and communicating with other people. The large number of connections and networks shared by millions of people makes spreading ideas and concepts much more easy (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 56). The Sheep Market is limited in its use of social media as a way of sharing its content. The only option is to email someone a picture of a sheep, which only reaches one person really. This is a fairly simple and common practice. The Sheep Market wouldn’t be considered innovative for its use of social media.


‘Produser’ is a relatively new term that refers to users of content that also produce said content (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 57). The user becomes the source of original content, which is referred to as ‘user created content’ (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 55). The Sheep Market incentivised users with its payment of 2 cents and method of creating content, and is composed solely of that user created content. The unique online environment was able to draw in users and the low skill barrier and incentives turned them into ‘produsers’. The Sheep Market is innovative in creating and using produsage.


The Sheep Market’s online environment and its collection and display of user created content created a unique participative medium. Because thousands of users were all contributing content to the website, they were participating in a sort of community, which strengthened the social connection and investment in the project as they all mattered to the overall result (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 59). Content was produced at a quick rate, which also makes it innovative. Using processes that allow for timely and effective execution of projects is important when working on innovative projects (von Stamm 2008, pp. 1). The Sheep Market is innovative in its use of crowdsourcing.


Hinton, S & Hjorth 2013, L 2013, Understanding social media, SAGE Publications, London

Kobli, A 2006, The sheep market, viewed 20 August 2016, http://www.thesheepmarket.com/

von Stamm, B 2008, Managing innovation, design and creativity second edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd


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