Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social Web

Euan Semple

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10 out of 10

Two words guaranteed to raise the hackles of many an IT professional: ‘social media’.

Many of us employed in gatekeeping, governance or service management roles have enough trouble keeping a lid on what we do own and control; never mind what we don’t. Is our antipathy to these tools a sustainable position? I don’t believe so and neither does Euan Semple, the author of this book.

Those looking for a technician’s guide to the social web should prepare to be disappointed; this is not it.

Euan’s book addresses fundamental aspects of human behaviour and its curious dysfunction in the workplace, corporate thinking and the lost art of conversation. It draws on his experience of working with collaborative technologies for over ten years.

I heard Euan Semple speak a few years ago and much of what he said then struck home. This book expands those ideas to paint a picture of a potentially very different workplace to the one most of us experience on a day-to-day basis. 

Euan’s style is not evangelistic, his passion is obvious and his wit engaging; he presents well-reasoned argument for the points he makes. ‘Start small, aim high’ is the message. Euan talks of cultural change: ‘a social revolution made easier by technological change’; not of a technological revolution.

So why, as technologists, should we read this book?  Euan has an important message for us:

‘The goal of conventional IT has been to manage information in structured ways that reflect the business models of their organizations.

The loose, networked, unpredictable environment generated by social tools is a considerable challenge to them. Indeed if there is a single biggest block to making social media happen encountered by my clients in large organizations it is their IT department.’

This is a challenge we need to recognise and respond to positively. Euan continues to show that it is not entirely our fault. The organisational business models we reflect are themselves deeply flawed and also need to change. We can all help drive that change through an enabling approach; this book will help make a start on that journey.

Available as an ebook or conventional hard cover, it is an easy read with - as Euan himself says - each chapter ‘intended to be just long enough for a visit to the executive rest room’. 

Euan gives terrific value in under 300 pages and for those of you looking to the bottom line, Euan closes his book with the assertion that ‘social computing is capable of taking 25 per cent out of the running costs of most businesses.’

I highly recommend this book to those who are already in tune with social media for business, those who think they are and of course to the naysayers who think social media has no place in the world of work.

Further information: Wiley

February 2012