Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why Blog? - Business Objectives and Types of Posts

Bill Ives put together a list of business objectives for blogging and the types of business blog posts. All these seem applicable for objectives and types within an enterprise or inside a law firm.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Blawggies Award

Dennis Kennedy put up his annual tradition of The 2007 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy's Best Law-related Blogging Awards.

KM Space got the award for best new Best New Law-related Blog.

Really, it was an honor just to be nominated. But, I put together a short acceptance speech. I wanted to thank my wife for putting up with me and my children for still thinking I am cool. I want to thank Trudy Ernst, the Director of Knowledge Management, for encouraging me to keep it going. I want to thank the Marketing Department for not stopping me from blogging. I want to thank David Hobbie, of Caselines, for listening to my ramblings about blogging.

(The orchestra begins playing.)

I want to thank Dennis Kennedy and Kevin O'Keefe for their insight into blogging and lawyers in social media. I want to thank . . .

(And we go to commercial.)

Social Networks and Social Media

Joel Alleyne put together a great piece on Social Networks – Why You Should Care. Joel draws a sharp distinction between social networks and social media. Social networks being the connections and social media being a method of communicating with a social network.

Joel puts together 10 ways to leverage social media. Four of my favorites are:
  1. Use social sites for alumni.
    Instead of creating your own silo of internal alumni databases, use the social media where your firm's alumni may already be.
  2. Use social sites for recruitment.
    Stay in touch with young recruits. They will be more interested in real communication and interaction than slick videos.
  3. Keep an eye on your brand on social media.
    Every law firm should be scouring the web and news sites for information about the firm. Every professional should be doing the same. It is easy to set up persistent searches on any of the major internet search engines.
  4. Look for internal opportunities to use social media.
    These tools are inexpensive and easy to use. Setting up a wiki or blog is quick and easy. If it does not work, little time or money was spent. It is a "safe fail" project.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays

From my family to yours, I hope your 2007 was great and that 2008 will be better.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Queen and YouTube

After my previous post on Government 2.0, I ran across the story about the British Monarchy adopting Web 2.0: Queen Elizabeth Launches on YouTube.

The British Monarchy have set up their own channel on YouTube: The Royal Channel.

Who would have thought that Queen Elizabeth would have adopted social media before my firm (or your firm)?

Jimmy Wales and Homeland Security

Stuck in the my in-laws basement, I came across Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on December 11, 2007 being replayed on C-Span.

Mr. Wales posed the analogy of a steak restaurant to a website. In the steak restaurant, the patrons will need knives. Since people have knives, they could stab each other. Therefore the patrons should sit in cages so they do not stab each other. Mr. Wales finds many websites that treat their patrons in the same way.

I found it interesting to hear the federal government struggling with Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 issues. There was a lot of discussion balancing transparency and privacy.

Senator Akaka (D-Hawaii) found it funny to hear his colleague Senator Lieberman using the Hawaiian word wiki.

There is more detail in these posts:
The Technology Liberation Front: Liveblogging (to tape) today’s e-gov hearing Senate Hearing Discusses Web 2.0 to Improve our Democracy

You can also see the webcast.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why Blog in the Enterprise

An example of how to use blogs inside the enterprise?
From Geek and Poke

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sharepoint Resources

The Knowledge Thoughts Blog posted their collection of video resources about SharePoint: Learn more about Sharepoint.

They also shared their collection of Delicious links on SharePoint. This is my collection of Delicious links on Sharepoint.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Google and Knowledge Sharing

Google is looking to move from the web search into the knowledge sharing area. According to the Official Google Blog they are inviting "people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it": Encouraging people to contribute knowledge.

Google has decreed that a unit of knowledge should be called a "knol." Google envisions that each "knol" will have its own webpage and that webpage will be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. This is the example they posted: Insomnia (double click to magnify).

Maybe I am missing something, but isn't this already covered by Wikipedia? The wikipedia entry for most topic comes up first in the Google search results. Try a Google search for "knowledge management". The wikipedia entry comes up first.

Google is not claiming editorial control or ownership of the content. Of course they are picking the first authors of each "knol" so they are controlling the process.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Interwoven on Enterprise Search Done Right

Interwoven presented a webinar on enterprise search focusing on their Interwoven Universal Search product using the Vivisimo Velocity search engine. Interwoven wants to be the exclusive provider of enterprise search to the professional services area.

Gerald Reid CIO of Milbank Tweed Hadley and McCLoy LLP was the presenter. Milbank has over 600 lawyers and over 1000 employees in ten offices.

In 1999 Milbank tried saving emails into their matter management system. It turned out that the search for emails would be too slow to work. In 2001 they brought in AltaVista (remember them) to implement a search engine for their document management system. Attorneys quickly saw the value of the system. The search engine combined the full text search and metadata for the document. This was particularly valuable because it enabled you to easily search across the multiple document libraries. It was easy to search your local library, but hard to search outside other libraries. The attorneys loved it. Gerald got love notes. How often does IT get love notes praising a new tool?

Then, AltaVista went out of business. Milbank kept the product running, but did so naked, with no further vendor support. At this point they were running DocsOpen and Hummingbird. They ran a bake-off between FAST and Hummingbird's Search Server. FAST took days to index the documents and had an index bigger than the document library. The Hummingbird product never quite met the performance of AltaVista.

They moved on to test Autonomy, Recommind and Vivisomo. They presented each of the three with a 700,000 document library. Autonomy took 6 weeks to index. Recommind and Vivisimo took two days. Autonomy also split big documents into multiple pieces. Recommind had performance issues. Recommind did not multi-thread (each search runs in order so you need to wait for the search in front of you to finish).

Vivisimo's initial search results were not as relevant. But with a few minutes of tweaking, the results were just as good as Reccomind. They do have multi-thread processing. The semantic clustering was a bonus feature.

His word of advice is that enterprise search is a killer-app. If you do not have enterprise search, any one of these products will provide extraordinary results. Since Milbank already had an enterprise search, they were a little picky.

Advantages of Vivisimo:

* searches all versions of a document many just search the latest version
* searches email attachments
* Snippets. You can see a piece of relevant text in the search results.
* Clustering. They group similar results. See
* Stemming. Deals with plurals and tense.
* Thesaurus. They have a legal specific thesaurus. And have some for other industries.

The document environment for Milbank's deployment consisted of:

* 3.5 million documents
* 8.2 million saved documents
* 5.7 million email attachments

The initial indexing of documents took 2 days and emails and attachments took about 7 days. He thought the time could be decreased if you used better hardware than they did.

He had a few surprises, but mostly in the searching philosophy on how results should be returned. They are deploying to a pilot group of secretaries and attorneys this month.

I found it interesting that they do not use Interwoven as their document management system. They use DocsOpen.

They allow the individual to decide whether to show snippets or not.

He ran a complicated search that returned 31 documents from documents around the world, with the results coming back almost instantly.

He ran a generic search for: Chase citibank citigroup. 3,100 documents from around the world came back quickly, clustered into "proposal", "credit agreement", "Goldman Sachs", and a few other clusters. He quickly filtered those results on metadata such as author.

It was an impressive display. I had been skeptical of how the clustering would work with a set of legal documents. Let's face it, legal documents generally do not have a diverse vocabulary to distinguish among them. But the clustering worked well.

They are planning to add their internal portal to be indexed and searched by the product. They also want to index the finance system to add other metadata from that system onto the documents.

Interwoven also announced that DLA Piper has selected Universal Search. [Correction: The US Branch of DLA Piper has selected Universal Search]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Knowledge Management Achetypes

Patrick Lambe of the Green Chameleon published this great collection of archetypal characters to represent a a range of attitudes and behaviors that a knowledge management professional is likely to encounter: Getting Management Buy-in For KM.

Now if I can just figure out which group I fall into. Captain KM?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sexy Software

While I was watching the New England Patriots steamroll over the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday, there was a flurry and a twitter of posts, comments and twits about whether enterprise software should be "sexy."

It all started with Robert Scoble of Scobleizer wondering why Enterprise software isn't sexy.

Stephen Collins of acidlabs thinks Enterprise apps *can* and *should* be sexy.

Ross Mayfield thinks Enterprise Social Software doesn't get you laid, it gets you promoted.

With a newborn in my house, sexy to me a two hour nap. So I certainly don't find any software sexy. I want my software to be:
  • reliable
  • easy on the eyes
  • useful
  • personable.

Friday, December 7, 2007

All about the links

Gary Beach, the Publisher Emeritus of CIO Magazine, writes about his excitement as a user of LinkedIn: A proud Member of the LinkedIn Generation. His grand vision is have every CIO, CTO or CSO become one of his connections in LinkedIn. (Why are CKOs not invited?) He calls this having "some fun."

Unfortunately, he dismisses Facebook as the "domain of Gen Y." That Boomers like him need not apply. He compares Facebook to the Tom Wolfe bestseller, I Am Charlotte Simmons, about "a young woman who discovers that college ia all about booze, sex and bad behavior."

Clearly he has just read about Facebook and not tried to use it.

LinkedIn is a great tool to share connections and create an online resume. And it is a good first step into social media. I encourage everyone to start with LinkedIn as their first foray into social media.

But LinkedIn is not "fun." You can hunt down "connections" to people in your firm, former classmates and contacts in your address book. But once you make the connections and finish your LinkedIn profile, there is not much else to do. There is a very limited ability to share information with your connections.

That is where Facebook comes in. It is the second step I encourage people to take in social media. Facebook allows you to share information about yourself, both personal and professional.
If Mr. Beach tries Facebook maybe he would see that Facebook is a communications platform. Social media is about empowering people to distribute information about themselves and about things that interest them. Facebook is powerful tool for distributing information to your "friends." It is powerful enough that at least one firm has chosen to use Facebook as its Intranet.

Of course there is a lot of frivolous communication in Facebook. (Just as there is lots of frivolous communication in your company's email) There is also lots of personal communications and lots of professional communication in Facebook. Where do you draw the line? One person may view a set of pictures as a drunken party. To others it is just the company holiday party.

You should not dismiss Facebook just because it was originally created by college students for college students. Now it is a multi-billion dollar company with over 50 million users. Some of those are bound to be people you know and some of them are letting you know more about themselves and publishing some useful information.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

DocStoc Redux

A few weeks ago I posted my review of DocStoc, a user generated community where you can find and share professional documents. My biggest complaint was that it was full of amateurish information and copywritten materials. DocStoc was sponsoring a contest for who could post the most documents. There was a flood of documents. One winner published more than 20,000 documents. But the focus was on quantity, not quality.

DocStoc changed their course and are now having a contest for the best quality document uploaded each day. That sounds like a much better goal.

I created a DocStoc account and uploaded some documents. Here is my account profile.

But what's in it for me? Why should I contribute documents and maintain my documents?

I keep looking for functionality that would make it easier to categorize and maintain my documents and other documents that interest me. DocStoc would be more useful if it offered features and information that I could not easily find elsewhere. I was hoping that DocStoc offered at least some basic document management features. If I worked in a small firm, I might want to use DocStoc to host my form documents. And maybe I would want to combine my forms from others that I found useful. DocStoc could have a been a better place to host this over my hard drive or a shared file server.

DocStoc does not offer much in the way of document management features. I can't edit the document once its in there. I can't even delete any of my documents.

With any knowledge management project, enterprise 2.0 project or web 2.0 site, I believe you need to focus on giving the person a useful tool, rather than having the focus on the collective good that comes from using the tool. People should use the tool because it is useful for them individually. Not because they can win an iPod if they use it the most. You need to be able to answer the questions: "What's In It For Me?"

With DocStoc, it could be a wonderful tool if people contributed and maintained their best documents on the site. There is a lot of collective good. But for me as an individual user, the tool does not provide me personally with much benefit. There is not much in it for me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Facebook as an Intranet

Bill Ives wrote on the The FASTForward Blog about how Serena has Adopted Facebook as Their Intranet. They established a private group in Facebook for the company's employees. They built a few Facebook applications to interact with a simple content management system behind their firewall.

One of the reasons I use and experiment with Facebook is to see how a tool like it could work inside the enterprise. On our intranet, like on most intranets, the photobook/employee directory is the most widely visited site. I think it would be great to have more robust personal and professional information in the system.

If Facebook offered an enterprise edition, I would buy it. Of course the enterprise would have to force some content onto each profile: extensions, title, etc. But lots of features could carry over and be successful inside the enterprise. Then, think about the application integration into other systems inside the enterprise. For instance, you could publish a list of matters the person is working on.

Groups of people with similar interests could form spontaneously and have a platform to form, communicate and share information. I would encourage the formation of groups for both personal and professional purposes. It would be great for attorneys interested in Malaysian investments to form a group. It would be equally great for staff and attorneys interested in knitting to form a group and share information.

I think this ability form online communities would lead to better job satisfaction and better employee retention. Susan Hanley posted an article on Can online collaboration help with employee retention?
"I was approached by a community member who came up to me to share that she was still at the company for one and only one reason: because of the connections she’d made with people she would otherwise never have met in the community of practice of which she was a member. Some of her connections were made at face to face events, but far more were made in the online community forum. She worked in a regional office and had a competency in a unique skill area that made her feel a bit isolated among her local colleagues. As a result, she began a job search to find an environment in which she would feel less isolated and more connected. When she became involved in the community of practice, she found a group of like-minded people with similar skills who could help discuss and resolve thorny problems and share emerging ideas, and at one point, get her assigned to a project that turned out to be a turning point in her career development."
Of course we want employees to work towards the mission of the enterprise. But we also need them to connect with their co-workers, whether the co-worker is next door or on the other side of the country.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Jureeka - Automated Legal Guidance

Michael Poulshock offered me a preview of his new website designed to provide automated legal guidance. According to Michael, " can be used to advise and screen clients, to administer business rules, to consolidate organizational knowledge, and to diagnose customer problems. Because it's completely web-based, teams of contributors can use it in a wiki-like fashion to rapidly develop and deploy knowledge bases."

This automated approach is interesting. I have heard of some law firms providing a platform like this for routine questions, with flags to contact the lawyers when the complicating factors are indicated. This could be useful way to help clients and junior associates deal with routine legal questions. I suppose with enough work it could even be used to deal with more complex legal questions.

Jureeka brought out flashbacks of studying for the bar. I remember spending hours and hours writing down the black letter rules. Every morning I was at the Dorothy Quincy Suite in the basement of the old John Hancock Building. Every afternoon was spent making flashcards, studying and memorizing the rules.

The memories aside, I decided to try out the site. I set up a rule about cutting down trees in Massachusetts. Logon to the site and see if you can find the rule and see how it works.

I am concerned that this amounts to giving legal advice and could create an attorney-client relationship. I also wonder what's in it for me? I am all for proclaiming I am an expert and reaping the rewards of my expertise. But I am not sure how Jureeka can do that for me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lawyers in Social Media and Internet Advertising

Two new decisions were issued on internet advertising by lawyers: Nebraska Ethics Advisory Opinion for Lawyers No. 07-05 and Oregon State Bar Formal Opinion No. 2007-180.

These two opinions affect what lawyers can do in social media and social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or LawLink.

The Nebraska opinion was based on whether a Nebraska lawyer can advertise in an in internet-based lawyer directory.
"A Nebraska lawyer may advertise in an internet-based lawyer directory as long as: (1) the Directory does nothing more than list lawyers and appropriate information for the benefit of those who access the Directory; (2) no recommendation is made as to a particular lawyer; (3) any fee paid by the Lawyer for participation in the Directory is reasonable and is fixed for a certain period of time; (4) the Directory contains a disclaimer that it is a directory of lawyers, not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal plan; and (5) no other Rules concerning lawyer advertising in general are violated." (My emphasis)
In LinkedIn, people you know can make recommendations. It looks like a Nebraska lawyer needs to make sure that nobody makes a recommendations. Many states have similar restrictions on recommendations.

In Oregon, the opinion was focused on whether the lawyer can The interesting point to note from the opinion is the statement:
"Lawyer is responsible for content that Lawyer did not create to the extent that Lawyer knows about that content."
Combining these two trains of thought, lawyers need to monitor what is being said about them in social networking/social media sites. Effectively, you need to make sure that there are no endorsements or recommendations for your legal services.

As I have pointed out before, lawyers should be checking the internet for what is being said about them. It is very easy to set up a perpetual search through Google, Yahoo and many other search providers. Set up a search for your name and see what is being said.

If you set up an account on a social network site, you need to go back and make sure that your profile remains true and does violate the ethics rule for your jurisdiction. If you do not maintain the profile, delete it.

Thanks to Michael S. Frisch of the Legal Profession Blog for pointing out these ethics opinions.