Commentary on the "First" Fully Crowdsourced Book: Enterprise Social Technology


What is most intriguing about Enterprise Social Technology by Scott Klososky (and 11 other crowdsourced authors), is the way in which this book was created. The book itself is not a lightning bolt of new information, or the pinnacle of literary pose, but it is fascinating to read about the development process as explained in the Afterword section. The book was created entirely by crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing, a method to get a project done by outsourcing to the masses, is still relatively new to most businesses. According to Corey Travis, the project manager of this book, “…to our knowledge we are the first to crowdsource a book in its entirety.” This fact, and the ease of purchasing the Kindle version from comfort of my armchair, was the main reason I picked up Enterprise Social Technology.

Unfortunately, once you get past the crowdsourcing idea, the book’s content is not very enlightening or inspiring for an online professional with more than a few years under their belt. In the book’s defense, it is meant to be a “guide” to social technology; a description I fully agree with. However, I would not go as far as to call it “thought-leading” as Corey Travis describes it in her Afterword.

While reading, I kept thinking of my car’s user manual. Like my manual, the book is helpful for the do-it-yourselfer whose work is primarily outside the immediate online business scene. It would  also be useful to anyone who got lost in the twists and turns during the explosion of what the book calls “social tech”. In such cases, Enterprise Social Technology is a good reference.

While reading the first 12 chapters about the basics for implementing social into your organization, I couldn’t help feeling a strong sense of déjà vu. I could almost hear myself speaking to one of the many organizations that I’ve presented this subject matter to in the past few years. This made me think of how amazing it is that we, as online professionals, try so hard to differentiate ourselves from one another, only to read our words regurgitated back to us in blogs, websites and books. Nonetheless, I was pleased to see a great number of reference sites listed at the end of each chapter, something I always appreciate for my never-ending education.

In the final chapter, Klososky’s presents his view on the future of social tech. Let me say that if you’re going to reference your website, please be sure it’s up and running before you publish. I was surprised and disappointed to see the iconic 90’s splash page, “Website Currently Under Construction” on Mr. Klososky’s site, I was similarly disappointed with Klososky ten predictions that he excitedly tells the reader will, “soon change our world even more.” I guess I was expecting more than the prediction that we will see “standards” emerge and “Connection Addiction” will be considered normal. Yes, I was interested in the crowdsourcing prediction, but the actual process described later was far more engaging.

Overall Enterprise Social Technology does not go down on my list of thought provoking or favorite reads. That being said, I would not say the book was a waste of my time. I picked up a tidbit or two, new sites to explore and it re-energized me to look more closely at sites such as 99designs and crowdSPRING. Perhaps my next book review will need to be on Jeff Howe’s 2009 book, Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.


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