Scott Klososky sent me a copy of Enterprise Social Technology with this handwritten note, “If nothing else, it shows what can be done using crowd sourcing.” The story of how this book was written provides an interesting subtext to its main subject. As project manager Corey Travis writes:
For the content, we decided to heavily outline the chapters, then narrow the crowd by picking three potential writers for each chapter. We had them each write the full chapter and submit their version, and we then picked the best. We have no idea whether anyone has used this model before; we just believed it would help us create a stellar book, and we are pleased with how it worked out.
The book’s twelve chapters follow Scott’s recommended implementation strategy for enterprise social technology, from Setting Social Tech Goals and Assembling the Team to Developing Pilot Projects and Security & Regulations. Each chapter concludes with a summary of key points and there is lots of good information that any organization could use, large or small. It’s main focus is on marketing, sales and online reputation management, coupled with explanations of tools and platforms.
The book is not focused on social media for workplace performance improvement, my own area of professional interest. However, the chapter on “Building a River of Information” reflects some of what I have been advocating with networked learning or personal knowledge management (PKM).
People have always built rivers of information for themselves, but in the past it was a laborious process that required determination and discipline … Now, with Web 2.0 and the new information tools that are being developed every day, everything you ever wanted to know is literally at your fingertips. The Internet acts as eyes, ears and mouth of just about every organization in operation today, and it offers users a larger, more accessible river of information that can help their companies reach new heights of success.
The chapter discusses the need for managing rivers of information from multiple perspectives, like executives or sales or engineers, and then shows how to get started. Not just building the river, but pruning irrelevant or under-performing sources is also explained. The sales force is described as the department that could most likely profit from these techniques of harvesting “information about competitors, and thought leaders, industry news, statistics, and infographics”.
Social technologies are a fact in the workplace and this book provides a comprehensive overview of the issues. The twelve step method provides a clear path to implementation. Since ROI is always a hot topic, take note of the entire chapter dedicated to it. One key piece of advice is don’t outsource measurement until you understand it very well yourself.
I would recommend this book to my clients and also point them to the Enterprise Social Technology companion website that includes many more resources. Like the cover says, this book was “By the Crowd, for the Crowd”.