12/27/10

Show 'Em Exactly Where To Look – Using Snip.ly

Back in November, I reviewed a product called Summarity that summarized websites on the fly so that you didn't have to read an entire page to get the relevant information. However, as a researcher, sometimes you want to point lawyers to a specific article, but really want them to see a specific section of that article so that they can quickly see why it is relevant to their research. To do that, you can use a new product called Sniply.

Sniply (snip.ly) is a web URL shortener, but it also allows you to set focus on a specific section of a webpage, and even add comments to explain why you're pointing to this section of the page. This is particularly useful if the person you are sending the snip.ly link to is someone that has a short attention span. (I imagine that some one's face just popped up in your head just now???)

The process is simple, effective and free! You can connect Snip.ly to your Facebook or Twitter account, or you can use it as a guest user. Snip.ly simply adds an overlay to the web page with the portion you've highlighted, plus any comments you've added. Here's a quick example:

Let's say there was something in last week's Elephant Post that I wanted a friend to read. However, I really wanted her to focus on the part that talked about “competitive intelligence” and breaking bad news. Using snip.ly, I can draw her eye to that paragraph simply by sending her the snip.ly link.

Step One: Paste the link into snip.ly and click next (or, use the bookmark tool that allows you to just do it right from the page you're on!):


Step Two: Select the portion you want to highlight.


Step Three: Add comments, select the image you want to include, and determine if you want to directly share it to Twitter, Facebook, email it, or if you just want to get the shortened URL.



Once you have the snip.ly URL, send it to the person and when they click on the link, they'll see an overlay with your snip.ly comments.


How easy is that??

If you've connected snip.ly with your Facebook or Twitter account, it will save your links if you ever need to go back and review your work. The only issues I saw with this was that it didn't let you delete those links if you wanted to clean up your history, and it sometimes would not get the formatting exactly right… especially if you're highlighting numbered lists. Both of which seem pretty minor considering the usefulness of this resource.

Give snip.ly a try and let me know what you think. Heck… even send me a couple of snip.ly links of stuff you think I should read!!

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12/23/10

Elephant Post: What SNL Quote Have You Used At Work?


Welcome to this week's Elephant Post Question. I'm Greg Lambert, and you're not.

Since we're only a couple of days away from Christmas, we thought we'd throw out a fun Elephant Post this week that was 35 years in the making. 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."

So, we've got some library, competitive intelligence and marketing folks sharing with us some of the SNL quotes they like to pull out of the bag at work and why they like to use it.

I think we'll skip the Elephant Post next week, but that will give you an additional week to come up with a contribution for our first Elephant Post of 2011. What Is Your New Year's Resolution For Your Profession? Instructions for how you can contribute are listed at the bottom of this post (it is super easy!!)


Law Librarian Perspective
Cindy Bassett
Bad Idea

I am the person in meetings coming up with crazy projects for everyone to participate in.  The ones that will take over my colleagues' work life . Some of my ideas are brilliant (at least to me and the patrons they would serve) and some...not so much. At times, I can almost hear the "Bad Idea" mutter coming from my colleagues.
I never think this myself though. ;)




Law Librarian and Competitive Intelligence Liaison  Perspective
Jan Rivers
The Big Picture

“And that, my friends, is the Big Picture.”
During SNL’s Weekend Update, A. Whitney Brown would comment on current events and put them in perspective by ending with, “And that, my friends, is the Big Picture.”
I make passing reference this at work and live by it on a daily basis.
To bring value to your business, you must be aware of the Big Picture.
What are the goals and objectives of your firm? How does your organization operate? How are profits generated? What are the issues that keep management up at night, etc., etc.?
You must understand how you fit within the Big Picture of not only your firm, but also your profession and industry.
If you don’t have the context of the larger whole, you make decisions in a vacuum and waste time and effort on tasks that are not valued or necessary.
With the advent of the “New Normal,” it is more important than ever to have a robust understanding of the Big Picture surrounding your work and your firm so that you can be nimble and proactive in the face of change.


Competitive Intelligence Perspective
Zena Applebaum
Hit and Run, Dine and Dash....


As CI people, we sometimes have to deliver news that no one wants to hear: a key competitor won a bid that your firm lost, a client has had a class action filed against them and so forth. Often, when faced with delivering this news, I think of Dennis Miller and the Weekend Update.  "That's the news, folks, and I am outta here!"


Marketing Analyst Perspective
Danny Johnson
A hug from God

"I believe it's just God hugging us tighter" - Tina Fey as Sarah Palin in response to her thoughts on global warming.
Every Friday the marketing and support teams at NetDocuments have lunch together and politics seems to be the popular discussion point. When a climate change issue came up a year or two ago, someone asked me (the moderate voice in the room) what my stance on global warming was. Being the witty man I am, and being fresh off of seeing SNL, I said, ""I believe it's just God hugging us tighter."" Half the room thought I was a mastermid...the other half thought I was an idiot. I don't think their opinions have changes since.

More recenlty, when Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup, a co-worker sent me an email saying, "at least Sarah Palin will be able to watch the World Cup from her house."


Internet Marketing Perspective
Lisa Salazar
That's so funny, I forgot to laugh!

Here in law firm-ville, humour can be sorely lacking.
Every once in a while, to smooth the way, it's good to inject some humour into meetings. It's amazing how things can turn around and lighten up.
So maybe, next time you walk past your colleague, just say, ""there's that wild and crazy guy.""
Make 'em laugh. I dare ya.


Knowledge Management Perspective
More Cowbell!

How many times do you sit in meetings and watch as the discussion focuses in on some minutia while skipping over the pivotal pieces that are important to getting things done? Whenever that happens, I want to say “you know what this policy needs?? More Cowbell!” 


Alternative Fees Perspective
I'm Not Worthy!

NOTE: Actually, Toby didn't contribute to this week's post, so I just thought I'd put that in there to make him feel bad about not contributing! – GL


What Is Your New Year's Resolution For Your Profession?

What are the things you want to accomplish this year? What trends do you see on the horizon? What trends will get left behind in the year that was? 
Let us know what you plan to do this year. You can go to the Google Docs Form to share your New Year's Resolution with us! Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


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12/22/10

Why Blogs Don't Make Rain


Mark Herrmann at ATL, wrote an excellent piece on “Is blogging a useful business development tool?” I thoroughly enjoyed the piece, but take issue with a core aspect of his thesis. He notes that “Blogging can be very rewarding in many different ways, but it will create only a very few (if any) serious rainmakers.”
My push-back on this piece is somewhat semantic – but in a crucial way. I question whether the legal industry understands the term “business development.” At many firms, you still can’t use the word “marketing”, so they call it client relations. We blend together and interchange the terms: marketing, client relations, client development, business development, rainmaking and on some rare occasions, we use the term sales. In a more traditional business environment you have the continuum of marketing - business development - and sales. Marketing is primarily about getting attention in the market. For law firms this is done via websites, brochures, seminars and ads. Business development (BD) is primarily relationship building with existing customers and with the new customer leads generated by marketing efforts. For law firms this is usually the follow-up efforts from marketing events, along with pure BD events, such as attending sporting events and social gatherings with clients. Sales is the closing of business deals. This is where one locks in an engagement with a client, and settles on the fee.
In many professional services firms, BD is sales. In reality, BD (although not always called that) is sales for law firms as well, which brings us back to Mark’s thesis. Blogging is really a marketing tool that extends itself into the BD realm via its relationship enabling aspects. But blogging doesn’t build relationships – people do. Blogging merely provides the platform to build relationships. Therefore, I wouldn’t expect a blog to turn anyone into rainmaker, any more than I would expect a kiss to turn a toad into a prince.
It has been my experience that the law attracts people who are uncomfortable with BD. Lawyers get much more excited about the facts of a case or the terms of deal than they do with relationship building. One of my golden rules of AFAs is that a lawyer will do anything to avoid talking to a client about fees. This demonstrates the non-BD personalities of most lawyers.
And again back to Mark’s article – what really caught my attention was the incredible success he experienced from his blogging efforts. Just to name a few:
  • I became a better lawyer.
  • We became unbelievably plugged in to events in our area of law.
  • We dramatically raised both our personal profiles.
  • People who sponsored conferences about drug and device issues were keen to have us participate.
  • We got our book deal.
Most BD people I know would kill for these opportunities. Becoming the “go to” person in your field is approaching BD nirvana. Clients come to you, instead of you knocking on doors hoping to get some of their time.
My evaluation of the ROI of Mark’s blogging is extremely high. But no – his blog didn’t close any deals for him. And I wouldn’t expect it to.
Meanwhile – my blogging goals remain the same: Getting to know more fascinating people and learning interesting things.

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“Sham Pocket Parts” and Tricks of the Publishing Trade – So, What Are You Going To Do About It?

My friend Joe Hodnicki over at Law Librarian Blog lays out a good overview of some of the bad decisions that West Publishing made in the whole Rudovsky vs. West matter. As Joe puts it, "Invoice-paying law librarians" have seen tricks and shams for a while now, but with so much going on, and in an economy where we've all taken on extra responsibilities, how does one fight these tricks?

Although West Publishing (Thomson Reuters Legal) got slapped with a $5.18 million verdict in this case, most people I've talked to don't think that the final amount will be anywhere near that amount. Jonathan Turley writes on his blog that the amount will most likely be reduced, but that “Even at a total of $2 million, however, it would be a major new precedent in the field and the company is likely to appeal on contractual grounds. Indeed, this could end up in a Torts Treatise or West pocket part.”

I've sent a message to the AALL Executive Board and the SLA Legal Division Board about this matter, but I think there are things that we in the legal industry (whether you are a lawyer, librarian, paralegal, or secretary) that use these products should ask ourselves. In fact, Jason Wilson's comments on Jonathan Turley's post say it better than I could, so I'll just quote him:


Regardless of what happens to the verdict, the larger issue is the message concerning “sham” updates. I forget the price, but I believe customers paid around $175 or possibly more for the update that included only three cases. But for the Professor’s review of the material and their objections, no retraction and more thorough update would have been forthcoming. For me, the question is:
 
  • Who is policing the content for sale?
  • Do you know if the content you buy, whether online or in print is current?
  • Does this opinion change how you feel about West Publishing products?
  • Will it make you scrutinize a product more carefully before you purchase it?

We all feel like something should be done to prevent things like this from happening, or at least quickly identify questionable practices and call out publishers when they are playing tricks with publications. The $64,000 question (or maybe it is the $5.18 million question) is what do we do from here?
There are really good people in the legal publishing business… but there are also those that pull stunts like this one in order to pad the bottom line in a weak market. The stunts are being pulled as Joe Hodnicki mentions in a previous post where Scott Burgh points out a number of questionable actions that publishers are playing with updates, volume replacements, and pocket parts that have changed very little, yet cost very much. AALL's CRIV members have been pointing out these practices for years to its members, and the Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers is mentioned almost every time somebody identifies a questionable practice by a legal publisher. Yet, the practices seem to continue. 
How can we, as customers, stress to the publishers that attempting to run schemes like these may help the bottom line in the current fiscal quarter, but will have long-term damaging effects for years to come?
I'm sure West Publishing is going to appeal to have the Rudovsky decision tossed out and attempt to go back to business as usual. So, what are you going to do?

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Who Says Lawyers Can't Dance?

[Note: The video was taken down after Will.I.Am's copyright claim of the song.]
Big tip-o-the-hat to my friend Marlene for sending me this video of a flash mob made up of lawyers, staff and even a partner or two from the Toronto office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Just shows that even those in the legal field can put on a red ball cap and dance around the mall to some "Just Dance" Wii choreography!

  
Blakes Lawyers Rock YouTube! from BlakeCasselsGraydon on Vimeo.

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12/21/10

Merry Christmas!

Sharing a little Christmas cheer in my own small, little geeky way:
My Christmas Wish for You As the twelve days of Christmas draw near With its impending clatter and chaos galore, May you find pockets of peace Amidst the crowd’s maddening roar. That you have taken the time To sit and listen to a silvery carol Pierce the darkening night And show its dazzlingly simple splendor. And linger a moment or two over a scent Of a cinnamon candle, lit To send its velvety glow out And spread its aroma to befriend the night. Tie together these moments and know That this is Christmas, here and now. By Lisa Salazar Christmas 2010

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How Can The Library Make The Office A Better Place To Work?

I've watched the video embedded below from 37signals co-founder, Jason Fried, a few times and have enjoyed the concepts that he discusses about where do you really want to go when you want to get work done. Fried details why work (as a physical place) is not where people want to go when they need to actually “get work done.” The primary reason is that “work” has too many distractions, and people trade in their “work day” for a series of “work moments.”

One of the places that Fried mentions where people go to actually get work done is the library. This has been sticking in the back of my brain for a few weeks now about how we value “The Library” (a physical place), and the hodge-podge concepts that are attempting to move “The Library” into a more progressive place that resembles a Starbucks or Barnes & Noble store instead of the traditional quiet space.

Should the physical space of a library be a “third place” of social gathering, discussion and idea sharing… or would we benefit more if the physical space of a library reverted back to the traditional area where everyone expects it to be a quiet place to go and get work done without interruptions? As a librarian, or as a patron of a work place library, which would you prefer? I'll be covering this topic at the February Ark Conference in New York and would love to get some suggestions to share.




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12/20/10

The End of the Web

At the risk of being typecast as a kooky prophet of doom, I’m going to make another prediction that should prove to be about as popular as my last. Say goodbye to the World Wide Web. Sorry Sir Tim, it was great while it lasted, but it just couldn’t stand the test of time.

Pish, you say. The web is the single greatest invention of all time. It has revolutionized everything from commerce, to government, to news gathering, to communications. It has changed the way we learn, the way we speak, the way we interact with each other. The web has created entirely new ways of thinking about the world around us. The web may have even ushered us into a post-human existence; external evolution at the speed of technology. All of this is true and more. I personally think it’s impossible to overstate the magnitude of change this invention has wrought upon us. And yet… ten years from now, December 20, 2020, the World Wide Web will be akin to AOL today. Sure, you’re Great Aunt in Peoria still uses it, but if her browser opens to a blank page, she thinks the internet is down. Ah! And therein lies the key. The browser. It’s the browser that is going away and with it the web.

I believe the beginning of the end came in late 2001 with the release of a Mac OS application by Karelia Software called Watson. Watson was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. (OK, I was young and easily impressed, but it was really cool.) Watson gathered information directly from websites and presented it in a simple, easy to read format without requiring me to open a browser and dig through a web page. I could easily track Ebay auctions, buy from Amazon, or check movie listing and recipes all from within the Watson interface. Granted, the web wasn’t then what it is today, but for my money (and it did cost money), Watson was hands down a better interactive experience than using the web. It provided just the information I needed, without distractions, and in a format that I could easily navigate. And that’s why Watson, and Dan Wood, owner and lead developer of Karelia Software, are the household names they… are… today. Oh, I forgot. It didn’t happen that way.

Watson was designed to be a companion application to the Mac OS search program called Sherlock, hence the name (please tell me I don’t need to explain that further). At the end of 2002 there was a minor scandal in the Mac community when the new version of Sherlock was released and it incorporated plugins that provided much of the functionality previously found in Watson. Watson hung on for a few years, but Dan finally gave in to the all powerful Jobs and retired Watson in 2004. And that’s why Sherlock is the universal application that everyone… No, unless you were a power Mac user in the early 2000s you’ve probably never heard of Sherlock either. Within a few years even Sherlock development had ended. The web had moved on, there were much better Web 2.0 interfaces and they now had video! The web-appliance concept seemed doomed to the dustbin of history.

Until, July 11th, 2008, when Mr. Jobs triumphantly revealed the return of Sherlock in the guise of the iPhone App Store. Suddenly, the development world was all about web appliances. Stand alone apps that gave you instant and easy access to just the information you wanted without the need to log in every time and search for what you want. Just click on the icon and boom, there it is. Access to all the information without all the headache of a browser, which is ideal for a small mobile screen. Next month, however, Mr. Jobs is releasing the Mac App Store, basically the same concept as the iPhone App Store, but for Desktop Mac Apps. There has been a lot of speculation as to what kind of software will be available on the Mac App Store, and why developers will want to go through Apple for distribution, and share a large percentage of profits, when they can still go directly to the consumer. Presumably, you will still be able to install any compatible software on a Mac after the App Store is opened, unlike iOS. But the naysayers are again missing the point. It’s the “Mac App Store”, not the "Macintosh Software Depot". It will do great business in games, utilities and simple apps. There will be some productivity apps, most notably Apple’s own office suite, but the Mac App Store will bring the App experience from the mobile handset to the desktop in a way that Dan Wood could only dream about in 2001. Mark my words, the App will kill the browser, just like video killed the radio star. In 10 years, your Great Aunt will still access FaceTwitterBook via her AOL browser, and you will laugh at how quaint she is as you fire up the FaceTwitterBook App on your ARI (Apple Retinal Implant, pat. pend. Steve, call me.)

So here’s to Dan Wood, owner and lead developer of Karelia Software, the Killer of the Web, the Bane of Berners-Lee, and may I be the first to say it, the Father of the App!

The question is not whether or not you need to develop an App, but rather, why haven’t you already hired Dan to do it for you?

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West Publishing Ordered to Pay Rudovsky & Sosnov $5M in Punitive Damages

Interesting news out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where a jury awarded David Rudovsky and Leonard Sosnov $90K each against West Publishing for defamation and for placing the Defendants in a false light. In addition to the $180K, the jury also slapped West with punitive damages for $2.5M for each defendant.
Here are the court documents for the jury's verdict:
The background of the case is covered very well by Erika Wayne at Legal Research Plus, and the jury decision was broken by Louis J. Siricos, Jr. at Legal Skills Prof Blog. Basically, it seems that West tried to cut the salaries of the authors of West's publication on Pennsylvania criminal procedure treaties, which Rudovsky and Sosnov refused to accept. According to the complaint, West publishing went ahead and published a pocket part for 2008 updates, and included the names of the two professors.

West Publishing argued that the authors were not damaged from the update… but, it seems that the jury seems to think otherwise and gave the authors a $5 million Christmas present.


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The Legal Technology Village

Each time I look back on a past project or ahead to a new one, I am reminded of how much each depends on the collaboration of many. Each of us is surrounded by professionals and colleagues without whom our successes would never happen, people whose strengths complement ours, and who make us look good.
It takes a team to transform each vision into reality, and none of us could do our jobs well without the knowledge and skills of those around us. Of course we each have strengths and skills of our own, but we also have areas where someone else's experience, someone else's abilities, or someone else's personality are just a better fit for what needs to be done.
In the spirit of the holidays, I want to say "thank you" to the entire legal technology village for making us a community that shares, supports, and most importantly of all, succeeds.

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12/17/10

Need A Cheap Game for Your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad? EA Has What You're Looking For…

This post has nothing to do with law firms, libraries, marketing (well, maybe a little bit about marketing), or alternative fees (unless by alternative fees, you want fun games at a cheap price.) According to touchArcade, Electronic Arts has dropped prices on a number of its games for the Apple handheld systems do a measly 99¢, and this cheap geek has already started his Christmas break early by getting a few of these for my iPad!!

Enjoy the deals, and let me know if you want to do an online battle of Madden ’11, or a mind-stimulating round of Boggle or Scrabble!!

Here is the list of games marked down to 99¢:

iPhone/iPod touch Games:
iPad Games:

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12/16/10

“It's All Cow” – Current State of Client / Vendor Relations

A good friend of mine pointed me to this video that lays out where we seem to be with client vs. vendor relations right now. Bad economies, bad relations, and unrealistic expectations (on both sides) lead to what's being said in this hilarious video.

Enjoy… and remember… "yeah… cow."



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Now That's A Library Party!! - OU Students "Rave" at the Library

You gotta love my Alma Mater (plus, I actually worked right behind that circulation desk to the left!)

Thousands of students celebrated the (near) end of the semester by throwing a rave at the library. I applaud the fact that they could turn the circulation area into a mosh pit!! According to reports, no damage was done to the library and the police came in and sent them all back to study for their remaining finals.

Boomer Sooner!!

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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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12/15/10

After the Love is Gone…


I’m sitting in my office listening to Earth Wind & Fire trying to figure out just where did it go wrong. Looking back, I guess I should have seen the signs:

  • Charging for both the User Interface and the content
  • Laying off all of the Library Relations staff on the West Coast
  • Reallocating personnel to the small firm (read: no pesky librarians) segment

All of these were symptoms. But I thought that we, at least, had developed a partnership over the years based on mutual trust and shared interests. From time to time, I would participate in their panels and write for their newsletters. I would give my opinion on new products and services. I guess I was mistaken.

This fall, I reached out to my account representatives to begin the discussions to renew our contract. Without warning, all contact was cut off. I was told that I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before they would talk to me. A copy of one of the most poorly worded legal documents I had ever seen was then sent for my signature. Naturally, I refused to sign this. Who would sign a contract (the NDA) before negotiating a contract?

This is in direct contravention to Section 3.2(a) of the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers which reads: “Publishers should not bind their customers to a non-disclose clause as a non-negotiable requirement of doing business.” This language shows that similar circumstances have come up before and been determined to be unfair as a business practice.

So the big question is why would they do this? The only reason I can come up with for this behavior has to do with the proliferation of consultants that specialize in providing advice to assist firms renegotiate there agreements. The amount of information this vendor has at their disposal far outweighs any advantage that a consultant can bring. The current economic environment has made it important for firms to level the playing field when negotiating with their vendors. The bottom line is, by attempting to control the process they risk alienating their customers. That, in turn, will have an impact on revenue, though not the type of impact they are hoping for.

I’m sorry to see it end this way, Westlaw (aka TR Legal). But I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sing it, Philip Bailey…

“After the love is gone/What used to be right is wrong…”

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