The crowd may be wise, but can it write a book?

Tonight’s All Things Considered on NPR featured the story Using the Wiki Method to Write a Book about the We Are Smarter than Me project.

The project was inspired, in part, by the open-source software movement and by the success of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, which is largely written and edited by its users. The promoters of We Are Smarter Than Me are hoping that they, too, can harness the online community and produce a book about how to do that in business.

The creators have outlined proposed chapter headings and written the first one or two pages of each, including case studies that can be used as jumping-off points. One chapter, for example, focuses on how to manage a company when functions such as creating and marketing the product are handled by the community. How should the firm organize itself? What would the management structure look like?

I signed up, if only to be able to track the progress. It’s hard to say if I’ll have anything I feel is worth contributing. (Of course, that limitation may not stop some from contributing anyway.) At the time I registered, there were 1805 registered ‘authors’, including 79 others today. I expect that the NPR story will help build membership a bit.

A quick scan of the discussion forums (fora?) showed a lively discussion, a lot of folks just trying to figure out how to use this not-so-new capability of a wiki in a new way. More importantly, there was some discussion and concern that the project doesn’t turn into a situation where the new tool (the wiki) is used to implement an old process (writing a book), instead of the new tool helping to change the way a book can be written.

It will be interesting to see if the Wisdom of Crowds comes out.

One thought on “The crowd may be wise, but can it write a book?

  1. i feel this is a intresting study,and would like to hear more on the out come. PEACE!

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