Elephant Post: How Is Social Media Changing Your Profession… Or, How Should It Be Changing Your Profession?

We're big fans of social media here at 3 Geeks… blogging, twittering, LinkedIn'ing… all of that. Whether it is making connections, finding information on obscure topics, or keeping up with the latest rumors, social media is one of the best communications tools available today. Let us know how it has helped you in your profession, or how you think it will help someday in the future. Here are some perspectives from law librarians, marketing analysts, knowledge management, marketing, coaching, and information technology. Enjoy! Also, take a look at next week's Elephant Post question (down at the bottom of this post) as we make you think of how you use quotes from Saturday Night Live at work.
Law Librarian Perspective Greg Lambert One of the greatest information tools in years! I can understand why some "Information Professionals" would be hesitant to enter into the social media universe, but I think the rewards are so great, that it would be foolish not to have at least a toe in the social media water. I cannot count the number of times that information I found on Twitter or blogs has helped me spot issues, answer existing questions, or make future contacts that have become invaluable to my day-to-day work. Whether it is breaking news, rumors of things happening in the legal field, or links to really good jokes… I've been able to leverage the vast amount of quality information I discover in the social media world and make myself look great in this world. It takes some getting used to at first (separating the junk from the valuable information), but as you spend more time working on ways to streamline the process, the more valuable an Information Professional will find social media to be in their profession.
Marketing Analyst Perspective Danny Johnson Getting a job through Facebook I work at NetDocuments doing social media and web marketing and will be starting law school in the fall. Earlier this year, I wanted to contribute to a local politician's campaign and went to become a fan on Facebook. When I saw that he had no fan page, I made one for him and it grew relatively fast. I kept my part in it secret for a long time while the politician wondered who had made this page. When he found out, he took me to lunch and hired me to do some marketing consulting for him on the side which has been an awesome experience and resume builder. Working in the social media at NetDocuments taught me the value of SM and it has provided dividends in my life outside of work.
Marketing Analyst Perspective Danny Johnson Indirect revenues I manage the social media marketing at NetDocuments and have seen many dividends. One recent experience highlights this. After building a relationship over Twitter with Jared Correia of MassLOMAP, he wrote a blog about using NetDocuments in a small firm. We have signed up about 5 users who heard about NetDocuments through that blog post which amounts to over $2,000 of annual recurring revenue. I've also built relationships with a number of our channel partners through LinkedIn and Twitter.
Law Librarian Perspective Shaunna Mireau Enabling the "trusted advisor" role Law librarians in firms are often the 'trusted advisor' for junior lawyers. I had a recent experience where one of my firm's juniors found a blog post I wrote a year ago about a court decision that was useful to his research. If all legal information is seen to be moving to the web, what better way to solidify your role as trusted advisor if your colleagues web search finds...You. Social media provides another method for librarians to communicate with and be visible to their stakeholders.
Knowledge Management Perspective Ayelette Robinson Have It Your Way One of the greatest things about social media, and the reason it's becoming more and more pervasive in our professional as well as personal lives, is that it has turned the tables from network/meet/learn on everyone else's timetable to network/meet/learn when *you* have the time and mental focus to spare. These activities often feel like, and are treated as, luxuries in our professional lives: we know we should do them, but we're busy at our day jobs and we just find the time when we can. So being stuck to someone else's schedule makes it even harder to fit substantive network/meet/learn interactions into your own life. Social media has come along and changed all that -- you're free to network with the people you want to, reach out and meet new people, and learn more about everything you ever wanted -- all whenever and wherever you want. For those who are focused, you can spend a solid 30 minutes a day; for those who are multi-taskers/semi-focusers, you can break it into fifteen 2-minute bite-sized activities. Whatever you want, you can have it your way.
Knowledge Management Perspective Toby Brown Bottomless Knowledge Source An often overlooked aspect of Social Media (SM) is the massive volumes of knowledge it generates. Last week in a meeting with the CLE team from the State Bar of Texas, it occurred to me how often I said, "Oh ... I read about this in a tweet/blog post/facebook post/...." If you're reading this blog, you already participate at this level and may well get a lot of your knowledge and news from different forms SM. But if you take this thinking a step further, you start to appreciate that even though SM looks and acts like a river of information, all that water ends up somewhere. So the River is the answer to our first question: SM is changing the legal profession by becoming an important and credible source of legal news and information. After that meeting with the Texas Bar CLE team, Pat Nester, their director, commented, "that there is a vast world of excellent thinking and relationships that is developing out there, unseen to the slow of step and the otherwise distracted." Those that participate, have access to this river. The Ocean is the answer to the second question. People and technology are just starting to realize the volume and value of information that has flowed past them in the River. Now I want to retrieve something I saw (or didn't) from the past. How do I get to it? This is a significant challenge and not just for the legal profession. As SM matures, our profession should be adapting to take full advantage of this ocean of knowledge.
Internet Marketing Perspective Lisa Salazar Wanna Play? Social Media was a game-changer for me. Before, my job consisted of managing the content--both text and graphics--for the web site. All in all, it is a pretty innovative and creative position itself. But when social media came into the picture, my job altered. I was Internet marketing to the nth degree--everything word I wrote and posted was quickly replicating across multiple platforms. I was virtually everywhere ;) At this stage in my career, I am learning more than I ever have before. I know more than I ever have before. And it is exhilarating.
Librarian, Instructor, Coach, Psychotherapist PerspectiveScott Brown Realizing the promise of knowledge management What's striking to me about social tools - among other things - is how they are accomplishing what the knowledge management movement of the late 1990s/early 2000s was trying to do. At that time, there were knowledge management efforts to try to capture the tacit information in people's heads, but these typically were huge, unwieldy efforts that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars - and the failure rate was abysmal. The difference with social tools is that people are WILLINGLY and spontaneously contributing their knowledge and expertise. While the information is still somewhat scattered all over the place, the good thing is that people are using them, and the tools to find and organize information in social networks are getting better.
Information Technologist Perspective Scott Preston SM Also Brings Risk Social Media (SM) is having a transformative impact on user expectation (disruptive technologies). User interfaces that are simple to use (requiring no training), technologies that enhance collaboration and software that permits people to create virtual communities are all great examples of disruptive technologies that are a direct result of the SM movement. The introduction of these disruptive technologies is fundamentally changing how IT thinks and works. Another aspect of SM that has an impact on IT is the concern about protecting company assets. Company assets includes:
  • Computers – allowing access to SM sites increases the risk of computer infection. Some SM sites like Facebook are targeted by nefarious individuals as a means of distributing malware and viruses.
  • Intellectual Property – allowing access to SM sites increases the risk that your firm’s Intellectual Property might improperly flow outside the firm.
  • Company brand – allowing access to SM sites increases the likelihood that someone might say or do something that will reflect poorly on your firm.
Of course, many believe (including me) that done correctly SM will help the company brand not hurt it. Since the best defense against any of the concerns mentioned above is to restrict access to these types of sites and restricting access usually falls into IT’s lap, IT is put into a difficult position. IT becomes the traffic cop and the target of frustration by users who do not agree with or understand the firm’s policy.
Next Week's Elephant Post Share with us a Saturday Night Live quote that you've used (or at least wanted to use) at work. Welcome to next week's Elephant Post Question. I'm Greg Lambert, and you're not. Since next week will be right before Christmas, we thought we'd throw out a fun Elephant Post Question that gives you 35 years worth of content to choose from. You probably have figured out that we love Monty Python, and Star Trek, and Star Wars, and Doctor Who… but we are all big fans of Saturday Night Live, too. There's hardly a day that goes by that I don't toss out some quote from SNL… usually as a snarky response to something I just read or in a conversation that needs to be lightened up. In fact, most of the time that I talk with my co-blogger Toby Brown, the conversation usually starts out with "Toby, you ignorant slut." We've set up a nice Google Docs form for you to fill in your answers, plus you can look at answers submitted by others. Don't worry if your quotes are already used… it's really the situation you're using the quotes that we all really want to hear about!! Go Here For the Form Go Here to See the Answers Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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