7/15/09

Competitive Intelligence in a Web 2.0 World - Part 1: Finding Company Employees on Twitter

I got the idea for this multi-part post because Melissa Sachs has taken on the project of trying to find as many people as she can that work in AmLaw law firms that have Twitter accounts (#AMLAWTweeple). It's a great work in progress, and you should go check out the list (and contribute if you know of anyone.)

Scenario: Boss comes in and says (in a voice that sounds a lot like Tommy Lee Jones in the Fugitive) - "I want to know everyone from 'X' law firm that is on Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, Flikr, YouTube, Bloghouse, Roadhouse, Doghouse, and Outhouse." Okay, that last part probably didn't happen in this scenario, but I got all into the Tommy Lee Jones theme.

In “Part 1” we’re going to focus on finding employees within a law firm that have Twitter accounts.

There are a few 'tricks' I've learned on how to identify people on the Social Web (social media, web 2.0, etc.) that I wanted to share with you. Some are basic, and some require you to have a Law Degree and a Masters in Library Science in order to truly understand them (Hey! Let me justify my dual degree!!). The steps are also generic enough that you can probably alter the scenario to fit any type of company. Just for fun, let's start off big and for our scenario, "X" = "Skadden Arps".

Step 1: Steal what others have already compiled. (In academia I think they call this "research")

Take a leap of faith here with me and trust me when I say that some of this work has already been compiled by others. For starters, I already told you that Ms. Sachs has a list of people from AmLaw firms on Twitter, so let's start there.

Also don’t forget to search Twitter’s “Find People” option for the name of the firm. Most firms missed the boat when it came to reserving their Twitter names, but it doesn’t hurt to look. In this case, we found that there is a @SkaddenArps account (with zero tweets, but with 175 followers that might come in handy later.)

Step 2: Keyword Search Twellow for the firm’s name in the Twitter Bio

Although I’m pretty sure that Melissa has already done this step, I’m going to double-check the Twitter Profiles using Twellow by searching for the word “Skadden” in the Twitter profile, or for the a link to Skadden’s website. This does give me two new names, but when I read their profiles, I see that they are former Skadden employees (I still keep them on my list because they might prove worthwhile later.)

Step 3: Find Twitter Through LinkedIn, FaceBook and MySpace

This step is the one that has worked best for me in finding additional Twitter accounts. We all know that LinkedIn is one of the most used social networking sites by attorneys. But, what you didn’t know is that you can extract information out of LinkedIn (using a search engine like Google) to find things you may not have thought about. The search is pretty simple:

site:linkedin.com Skadden Twitter

I suggest searching this same string in Google, Bing, and Yahoo (just to be safe.) Then redo the search using FaceBook and MySpace (and any other social media site you think would be useful. In this case, the LinkedIn and FaceBook searches uncovered some additional Skadden Alumni, and the MySpace search disclosed two Skadden employees - one secretary and one legal assistant.

Step 4: Search the Twitter Accounts You Found Using TweepSearch.

TweepSearch allows you to enter the Twitter name of someone and then index the bios all of the users they are following or are following them. Once you have them indexed, you can do a keyword search (I tend to use ‘attorney OR lawyer OR “law firm”). Scan the resulting list to see if any of the bios lead you to additional members of the firm.

Step 5: [If You Can] Ask!

Getting on Twitter and sending a Tweet to the names you found asking them if there are others in their firm that are on Twitter can be an extremely easy way of finding additional people. Of course, if you’re doing this confidentially, then this step doesn’t apply.

Following these steps, I found a couple of non-attorney accounts, and about 5 or 6 alumni accounts for Skadden. All of this took about 15 minutes or so to conduct. If I were to really dive into the project and had a few hours to spend, I’m sure I could come up with a few more. At least now I have something to present back to Tommy Lee Jones (er.. my Boss, that is), and you now know a few tricks on how to find people on the Social Web. If you have any additional tips and tricks, let me know.

I’ll start working on “Part 2” where I’ll begin looking at finding people on LinkedIn.

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4 comments:

Greg Lambert said...

Ian Smith twittered about a great article that takes a different ('defensive') view of CI in a Web 2.0 world. Good read: Defensive Competitive Intelligence In A Web 2.0 Environment

Melissa said...

Thanks, Greg!

I'm all about "research," as you described.

I will be publishing a post about my motivations behind the AMLAWTweeple list that includes how I went about finding people. (And, yes, I probably will refer back to this post!)

A preview? I found a lot of people using www.tweepz.com. I would search by firm url (minus the www).

This would pull up anyone who used their firm e-mail address and/or their firm website in their profile.

This went hand-in-hand with my goal to publish #AMLAWTweeple who wanted to be found.

You'll see more reasons for why I compiled this list, why I think #AMLAWTweeple should use twitter, & other insights in my post.

...just as soon as I finish writing it.

Melissa said...

Er, I should say *in addition* to firm name, I would search for firm url (minus the www).

Anonymous said...

Its good the members on twitter increase day by day,but i my opinion facebook is more authentic social network in comparison to twitter.Facebook applications,share options are not as complicated as twitter.

 

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