Thursday, July 31, 2008

Establishing the Digital Relationship Meeting

It was a great session this morning with the New England Chapter of the Professional Marketing Forum in Boston on Establishing the Digital Relationship.

Tim Parker of The Bloom Group started things off with a great overview of web 2.0 and its use by professional service firms. Tim is in the middle of a survey of the websites of the 80 largest professional services firms in the United States. This is a follow up to the The Bloom Group's 2006 report: From Electronic Brochure to Online Lead Generator: Powering Up the Professional Services Website.  Tim threw out some interesting numbers.
  • In 2006 only 6% of the websites had blogs. 
  • Now 20% have blogs.
  • In 2006, only 15% had RSS feeds. 
  • Now, 48% have RSS feeds.
Here are Tim's slides:

I was up next, focusing on the use of blogs in professional service firms.  Largely, my pitch was that converting some of your existing activities and publications to a blog platform can yield great results.

This was my slidedeck:

Last up was Yuval Zukerman of Molecular Inc with his presentation So You Have a Blog. Now What?

Yuval focused on the viral nature of Web 2.0 and how it can quickly spread your message across collections and network. He called for the audience to move beyond the walled gardens of their own websites and into the social collections of information on the internet. Post your events in Upcoming. Post your photos in Flickr or Picassa. Display your presentation in SlideShare. Host your videos in YouTube.

This is Yuval's slidedeck

Thanks to Bob Buday of The Bloom Group for inviting me to speak. I saw a few bobbing heads in the audience. I think some people got the message. I think I even saw light bulbs starting to glow over a few heads.

UPDATE: I added Tim's slides after the original post.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Encouraged Blogging

Mary Abraham of Above and Beyond KM has been thinking about the concept of mandatory blogging for a while:
Mary seems to have moved beyond the concept of mandatory blogging to encouraged blogging.

Now that is a concept I can get behind.

Blogging is not for everyone. It is a new way of thinking and a new way of capturing information. The key is to show people the positive benefits of using this new way to communicate and capture knowledge.

We need to lead by example. We need to show the positive success stories of blog within an enterprise.

Here at The Firm, we just launched our third internal blog this week. I am already starting to see to some positive results.

Establishing the Digital Relationship

On Thursday morning I will be presenting to the New England Chapter of the Professional Marketing Forum in Boston on Web 2.0 as a marketing tool for professional service organizations. Here is more information:

Establishing The Digital Relationship
While other industries have been far more aggressive in using the latest Web technologies, professional services firms have not been sitting on the sidelines. As of this March, more than 25% of the 200 largest U.S. law firms had blogs, with the number of blogs growing by 49% since August 2007. Consulting firms such as Accenture are encouraging employees to blog. A number of management consulting firms have made their Websites more interactive and informative, using tools like RSS feeds to update clients and prospects on new articles and other information that they publish. Others have Facebook profiles that give job seekers and prospects information on a professional firm and allow people to talk to others about the firm. Accounting firms such as Deloitte has numerous webcasts and podcasts on different topics, and email subscriptions based on viewers’ preferences.

Despite all the excitement, convincing partners at many professional firms to experiment with and invest in such “Web 2.0” technologies is not easy. In this session, we’ll hear from two professional firms at the leading edge of using such technologies about their experiences – good, bad and ugly. We’ll also hear the interim results of a new study on the Web practices of the 80 largest consulting, law, accounting and IT services firms.

Featuring speakers from:
  • Goodwin Procter – Attorney Douglas E. Cornelius, a senior attorney in the law firm’s real estate practice and a member of its Knowledge Management department. He will discuss how his blogs have helped this major law firm create client awareness and share knowledge internally.

  • Molecular Inc. – Mr. Yuval Zukerman, a consultant at this large Boston-based interactive agency, who has worked with a number of firms including Ernst & Young, Sprite, PC Connection, Belo to develop highly engaging and interactive Web experiences. He will also discuss Molecular’s growing use of blogs to cultivate business.

  • The Bloom Group – Mr. Tim Parker, a principal of this professional services marketing firm, who will discuss the interim results of the firm’s research on how the largest professional firms are using Web 2.0 and other online technologies to market and sell their services.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

InnovAction Award Winners

The College of Law Practice Management has announced the winners of the 2008 InnovAction Awards:
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 
ValueChain Outsourcing Methodology for Visual Contracting

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP was selected for its ValueChain outsourcing methodology. ValueChain is a unique system that visually displays client objectives, capabilities, opportunities and risks to Pillsbury lawyers. This helps the lawyers better understand the impact on clients’ business of outsourcing business functions such as HR, customer service, and IT accounting, as well as how the outsourcing of such operations can best be designed and structured. Pillsbury was recently granted a business method patent for ValueChain by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).
Mallesons Stephen Jaques

Mallesons Stephen Jaques of Sydney, Australia was honored for PeopleFinder, the technological spearhead of ClientFirst, a program of continuous improvements to the firm’s standards of client service. PeopleFinder gives individuals who contact Mallesons using a BlackBerry the ability to determine whether the person they’re calling is available, and if not, when and where they can be found. PeopleFinder has rerouted more than 10,000 phone calls per month from voice mail to a person who can provide assistance. Mallesons also won an InnovAction Award in 2007 for its TalnetNet initiative.

Novus Law, LLC
Document the E-Discovery Process from Collection to Production

For the first time in InnovAction’s history, an award was given to a non-law firm — in this case, a company that provides services to law firms. Novus Law, LLC, was selected for its documentation of the e-discovery process. Novus developed a program that documents and captures the e-discovery process (a significant cost in litigation) to give clients, attorneys and courts a reliable and predictable method for efficiently completing an important part of the litigation process
The 2008 InnovAction Awards will be presented on Saturday, September 13, 2008, at the Annual Meeting of the College of Law Practice Management in Chicago, Illinois.

Congratulations to the winners!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Knowledge Management and Web 2.0

On Wednesday, I gave a presentation to the New York City regional group of International Legal Technology Association, on Knowledge Management and Web 2.0. It was a great crowd, full of questions and thoughts. You can see my slidedeck below. Like most of my presentations, the slides are mostly images. You can play slidedeck karaoke and try to follow along.

Enterprise 2.0 Discussion with Stewart Mader, Matt Moore and Doug Cornelius

Last week I had a great time talking with Matt Moore of Innotecture and Engineers Without Fears & Stewart Mader, the author of Wikipatterns about all things Enterprise 2.0. Matt recorded the conversation and turned it into a podcast to share:

podcast - enterprise 2.0 - doug cornelius and stewart mader
00:00 - Doug visits the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston
02:45 - Many many vendors - they love E2.0!
04:00 - The CIA & Intellipedia
04:30 - Wachovia Bank
06:15 - Stewart goes Web Content 2008, Enterprise 2.0 in Italy, and 2008 WikiSym
07:45 - Social Network Analysis of Wikipatterns
08:15 - iPhone location-based social networking service and Stewart's dog's bladder
09:15 - Wikis cease to be a novelty - beyond Wikipedia
10:30 - CIA again
11:45 - My favourite Clay Shirky quote - are we boring yet?
12:30 - Training as a barrier to adoption - wikis are simple
13:20 - Email is not the zenith
14:45 - Wikis get out of the way
15:15 - Wikis as the iPod box
17:00 - What will happen in 2009?
19:00 - The steady curve rather than the tidal wave
21:00 - Wikis as a natural solution for unstructured information
22:10 - Writing the "wikipatterns" book on a wiki
23:30 - It's not about shocking people
24:30 - Awe instead
25:00 - The Bush reference I can't censor
25:15 - Giving and taking
27:45 - Wiki adoption happens at the lunch table
30:45 - The future of traditional blogs inside the enterprise
33:00 - The melting pot of tools
34:00 - The globalisation of everything

If you only have 2 minutes, we started off our discussion of enterprise 2.0 with a discussion about swearing and the social bonding of profanity. Matt posted this discussion as a separate podcast: podcast preview - salty language.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Findability Report from AIIM

"Why is that I can search the billions of pages of the World Wide Web in seconds, but I can't find the agreement I drafted last week in our own internal systems?"

The web has changed our views on how we should be able to find and interact with our information and knowledge.  Dan Keldsen and Carl Frappaolo of AIIM surveyed over 500 individuals on findability. They looked at how people search, navigate, discover and retrieve content.

Dan and Carls's AIIM Market IQ on Findability is now freely available for download. It has over 65 pages and 70 charts/figures. A majority believe that Findability in their organization is "Worse" to "Much Worse" than their own organization's consumer-facing web sites and 49% of respondents have "No Formal Goal" for Enterprise Findability within their organizations.

Key Findings:
  • 49% of respondents Agreed or Strongly Agreed that Finding the Information I Need to Do My Job is Difficult and Time Consuming
  • 69% of respondents believe that 50% of their organization's information is searchable online
  • 49% of respondents have No Formal Goal for Enterprise Findability within their organizations
  • 50% of respondents believe that Findability in their organization is Worse to Much Worse than their own organization's consumer-facing web sites
In my view, one of the goals of knowledge management is to make information findable. One of the issues with early knowledge management systems is that they merely created yet another separate place to try to find content using a unique search methodology.  One of the goals of knowledge management 2.0 is to capture that content as part of the workflow, in systems with integrated search and search methodology.

I am still reading through the report and hope to write more about it later this week.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Connectivity Powers Talent: Leveraging Employee Social Networks

According to a recent survey, 83% of workers rate relationships with co-workers as a critical reason for joining and staying with their employer, and alternatively, one in four people quit a job due to feelings of isolation. Organizations that provide talent with tools to connect, build and manage their personal and professional networks, bond people to each other and to the organization. Moreover, organizations that offer employee social networking have an edge in attracting talent who thrives on these tools to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Mike Gotta, Principal Analyst at the Burton Group, presented this webinar, sponsored by SelectMinds.  The webinar was a production of the Human Capital Institute.

Social structures are influenced by team location:
  1. Co-located teams interact primarily as face-to-face
  2. Virtual teams interact primarily through electronic means with occasional face-to-face
  3. Far flung teams rarely interaction face-to-face
In this world of electronic communication, is "where you are" still important?

Mike proposed that people are less likely to contribute to a centralized storage system without the personal positive recognition. Workers may feel they are giving away their value and may feel alienated due to physical location and lack of reciprocity.

You should humanize people.  A sparse photobook makes you look like a mere phone number.

How does technology affect the social interaction:
  • Email - inbox is overloaded and conversations are fragmented
  • Instant messaging is promising but the interruption issues need to be resolved
  • Portals can work, but they suffer from poor navigation, there is a lack if interaction and there was little personalization
  • Content management systems are difficult to use and poor user experience
  • Discussion forums suffer from overload and clutter
  • Virtual workspaces get cluttered but turn into a file dumping ground
Can Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 help?
  • Blogs can help you to communicate
  • Tagging and social bookmarking enable user-centric discovery and findability
  • Micro-blogging (twitter) is the is the next-generation water cooler
  • RSS feeds offer an opt-in information delivery to employees
  • Wikis enable co-creation and co-ownership of information. You can build communities around shared interests
  • Social networks allow for flows of communication, information and collaboration
A corporate "facebook" can act as a destination and social hub.  The enterprise should look to taking down artificial barriers to communication and collaboration.  By opening the lines of communication and collaboration you can tap into a bigger pool of talent and knowledge.

Points for the Business Case:
  • Aging workplace pressures to transfer knowledge
  • Establish better learning environments
  • Better brainstorming
  • Informal feedback can improve situational awareness and decision-making
  • Employees as brand ambassadors
Use Case Scenarios:
  • Professional support for returning employees
  • Referral programs for alumni and employee referrals
  • Retiree programs to continue contribution
  • Improved travel information
  • Expertise location

Employee Motivation and Knowledge Management

In reading the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review, I came a cross an article by Nitin Nohria, Boris Groysberg, and Linda-Eling Lee: Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model.

The authors put forth four drives that underlie motivation:
1. The drive to acquire. We are all driven to acquire scarce goods that bolster our sense of well-being. We experience delight when this drive is fulfilled, discontentment when it is thwarted. This phenomenon applies not only to physical goods like food, clothing, housing, and money, but also to experiences like travel and entertainment—not to mention events that improve social status, such as being promoted and getting a corner office or a place on the corporate board.

2. The drive to bond. Many animals bond with their parents, kinship group, or tribe, but only humans extend that connection to larger collectives such as organizations, associations, and nations. The drive to bond, when met, is associated with strong positive emotions like love and caring and, when not, with negative ones like loneliness and anomie. At work, the drive to bond accounts for the enormous boost in motivation when employees feel proud of belonging to the organization and for their loss of morale when the institution betrays them. It also explains why employees find it hard to break out of divisional or functional silos: People become attached to their closest cohorts. But it’s true that the ability to form attachments to larger collectives sometimes leads employees to care more about the organization than about their local group within it.

3. The drive to comprehend. We want very much to make sense of the world around us, to produce theories and accounts—scientific, religious, and cultural—that make events comprehensible and suggest reasonable actions and responses. We are frustrated when things seem senseless, and we are invigorated, typically, by the challenge of working out answers. In the workplace, the drive to comprehend accounts for the desire to make a meaningful contribution. Employees are motivated by jobs that challenge them and enable them to grow and learn, and they are demoralized by those that seem to be monotonous or to lead to a dead end. Talented employees who feel trapped often leave their companies to find new challenges elsewhere.

4. The drive to defend. We all naturally defend ourselves, our property and accomplishments, our family and friends, and our ideas and beliefs against external threats. This drive is rooted in the basic fight-or-flight response common to most animals. In humans, it manifests itself not just as aggressive or defensive behavior, but also as a quest to create institutions that promote justice, that have clear goals and intentions, and that allow people to express their ideas and opinions. Fulfilling the drive to defend leads to feelings of security and confidence; not fulfilling it produces strong negative emotions like fear and resentment. The drive to defend tells us a lot about people’s resistance to change; it’s one reason employees can be devastated by the prospect of a merger or acquisition—an especially significant change—even if the deal represents the only hope for an organization’s survival.
The authors then tie these drives into levers that the organization can use to lever.

In reading the article I see many areas where knowledge management can help with employee motivation.

Culture is an area where knowledge management can make a big difference. Sharing, collaboration, social bonds and teamwork are all pillars of a knowledge management program.

I also think the use of enterprise 2.0 tools are very useful when it comes to transparency.  If the firm is creating a new firm-wide policy, it is easy to post a draft policy and allow comments to the draft.  The policy-maker is accessing the collective knowledge of the firm to improve the policy.  They are also finding the resistance points that will need to be overcome to implement and enforce the policy. They are also getting the employees engaged by recognizing that their opinions matter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Knowledge Management and Relationship Capital

Law Technology Now put up podcast on how client relationship management and social networking tools will change the way we practice law: Almost Live from LegalTech West Coast: Tom Baldwin -- Social Networking. (registration required).  The podcast was a recording of Tom Baldwin's presentation at Legal Tech West Coast. The podcast is about 12 minutes long.

One of the pillars of knowledge management is that who you know is as important as what you know. Tom surveyed broadcast emails and found that a huge portion of those email were asking for information about people.  Attorneys were looking for outside experts, internal experts, service providers, matchmaking clients, pitching clients and clearing conflicts.

Tom has found Client Relationship Management systems to be lacking.  CRM systems have grand ambitions of pulling the firm's contacts into one place.  Tom has found that most CRM systems get relegated to managing external marketing lists.

Tom has become more of a fan of Enterprise Relationship Management systems like Contact Networks and Branch IT.   ERM systems mine external email traffic to identify relationships. [My post on Contact Networks: Contact Networks - Enterprise Relationship Management.]

Tom also sees some tools coming from entity extraction. In court filings, you should be able to extract the party names, the judge and the jurisdiction. That information is in fairly standard locations in a document.  Then when looking to see what experience the firm has with a particular judge or in a particular jurisdiction, the entity extraction system can help answer that question.

One warning about the podcast. I understand that Law Technology Now needs effective advertising to make money. But this is the first podcast that inserts an advertisement into the middle of the podcast. I found it very jarring to cut off in the middle of Tom Baldwin's presentation to an ad for Blue Arc.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SharePoint and XMLaw

I watched a presentation by XMLaw of their OneView suite of information management tools for SharePoint and in particular, their OneView Connect product. OneView Conncet is a framework for connecting systems and building portal sites.

OneView ties into other data systems in the firm and allows you display the content from those other systems in a SharePoint webpart. Among the standard connectors are those for SQL databases. They also have connectors to InterAction, Interwoven's Worksite, and Open Text eDocs as part of what they ship in the box.

One a single page, you can show the contacts at a client (from InterAction), their billing status (from the time/billing system) and documents (from Worksite). One View also makes it easy to build tabs into a SharePoint webpage to flip between content pages.

The paradigm they use is rendering the content from the other system into a SharePoint list. Then you can format views of the information in a way similar to other SharePoint lists.

Their product is a really powerful tool that allows SharePoint to be more of portal into all of the firm's information, instead of SharePoint merely acting as a separate repository

In the interest of disclosure, Rob Saccone, the President of XMLaw, used to lead the development team at The Firm.

Lawyers and Social Networks

A new survey reveals that almost 50 percent of attorneys are members of online social networks and over 40 percent of attorneys believe professional networking has the potential to change the business and practice of law over the next five years.

The 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey was conducted by Leader Networks and sponsored by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. You can download the results from the Leader Networks' site.

Of lawyers aged 25-35, 67% are members of a social networking site, while only 36% of lawyers aged 46 and older are members. Forty percent of lawyers want to join a social networking site just for lawyers. (This number is close to the same percentage of lawyers who are already members of an online social network.

The curious piece of the survey is that 48% of the survey respondents thought Martindale-Hubbell should sponsor a lawyer specific social networking site. (Of course, they were the sponsor of the survey.) Second up was 28% who thought it should be the American Bar Association. Only 1% thought it should be Legal OnRamp. But Legal OnRamp is a social networking site for lawyers. Perhaps the Martindale-Hubbell brand is still viable.

The survey was pointed out by Laxmi Stebbins Wordham on The Official Blog of Martindale-Hubbell: Martindale-Hubbell, LinkedIn and Online Networking. I also came across Carolyn Elefant's take on this survey at the Legal Blog Watch: Survey Confirms That Social Networking Gains Traction With Lawyers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Book Review: Black Wave

Black Wave is the story of a family from San Diego sailing around the world in their catamaran. The subtitle lets you in on the upcoming drama: A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster that Saved Them. It only takes five pages into the book before the disaster strikes. The boat slams into a coral reef during the night, destroying the boat and seriously wounding members of the family.

I am generally not a big fan of stories that start with the climactic scene and then flashbacks to tell the story. It just seems to be kind of tired way of bringing people into the story.  In this case, I found it worked. Interweaving the family's background with disaster unfolding made you understand and empathize with the characters as they struggled to survive.

I really enjoyed Part I of the book which was this story told by Jean Silverwood. Part II of the book was written by John Silverwood and tells some of the history of the reef. He focuses on a similar disaster, when the Julia Ann crashed into the same reef in 1855.  Part II far less interesting and not as engaging as Part I.

In the interest of full disclosure, the publisher send me a free copy of this book to read, hoping I would  review it. I am big fan of human adventure stories.  Before the kids I had a few years of mountain climbing and adventure racing.  Now, with two kids, I am much more of an armchair adventurer.  Maybe it the family man in me that got so engaged in a family trapped in a desperate situation.

Whatever the reason, I thought the the book was a good read. But feel free to stop at the end of Part I.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knowledge Management and Web 2.0 Technologies

For those of you in New York City and who are members of the International Legal Technology Association, I will be speaking on Knowledge Management and Web 2.0 Technologies on July 23 to the New York Regional Group of ILTA:
Blogs, wikis and social networking are exploding in the consumer Web space. This session will discuss ways to leverage these tools inside the law firm for knowledge management, project management and many other purposes. The tools are fairly inexpensive and easy to learn for users. You can add tremendous value to your organization for very little cost.

UPDATED: With a fixed link to the event.

Upcoming Events

I use Upcoming to keep track of public events that I am attending or thinking about attending. Below is the list of those events. Click through for more information. You can also subscribe to list of my events:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wiki While You Work

In the latest knowledge management white paper from the International Legal Technology Association is an article authored by me: Wiki While You Work [pdf]. There are some other great articles in the white paper. Here is the table of contents:
  • Collaboration and Competitiveness: New Tools for Collaborating and Managing Knowledge By Guy Wiggins of Keely Dry & Warren LLP
  • Wiki While You Work by Doug Cornelius
  • Show Them the Value! Using KM to Bring More Value to Clients by Mary F. Panetta of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.
  • Developing Document Assembly Tools: A Tale of Two Applications by Eric Little of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, PC
  • 2008 ILTA KM Survey Results by Catherine Monte of Fox Rothschild LLP and Mara Nickerson of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Is Knowledge Management Dead?

There has been a great deal of discussion on the actKM discussion forum about the demise of knowledge management. And if it is dead, who killed it? Some of that discussion has sprung from an interview by Patrick Lambe of Larry Prusack and Dave Snowden. Here is the video of the interview. There seems to be some agreement that at least parts of knowledge management are dead. In particular, the big, database driven "borg" attempts at knowledge management have not proven successful. There seems to be re-invigoration of knowledge management growing from the use of social media tools as part of a knowledge management program.

When Should Blogging Be Mandatory?

After my post Make Blogging Mandatory for Knowledge Management, there has been a continuing flurry of thoughts about mandatory blogging floating around:
When Jack Vinson made his knowledge management start blogging he used the term flogging.

I think that is how most people would interpret forced blogging.

Forced blogging would just be another bad KM system that is poorly populated with content and outside the flow of most people's work.

That being said, there are situations where blogging can be mandatory. If the team decides to manage a project through a blog (or wiki) then the team can decide to make blogging mandatory. In that case, the blog post is replacement for email. The team blog is not asking people to take the extra step of crafting a blog post. You are merely asking them to change the way the team communicates. You are just changing the process, not adding to it.

As Michael Idinopulos coined the phrase you are putting blogging "in the flow, not above the flow."

You are not asking people to take individual positions in individual blogs. You are asking them to contribute to the flow of information for a particular project or case. You are merely replacing email communication with blog communication. That is a great idea.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Progress Report

In early April we rolled out Sharepoint 2007, upgrading our intranet platform from SharePoint 2003. I have been keeping track of the number of wiki pages and wiki libraries.

As of today we have:

wiki libraries: 9
wiki pages: 313, which is a 50% increase over the past month's 205

Progress has been a bit slow as we deal with some issues. The notification system still has some problems and we want to get those fixed before we start pushing too hard.

We are still suffering from the wiki's failure to show the changes to the wiki page as part of the notification. [See Sharepoint Wiki Disaster.]

Connections in Context Replay

On June 20,  I was the moderator of a webinar: Connections in Context – The New Face of CRM sponsored by the Knowledge Management Peer Group of the International Legal Technology Association. The speaker was Oz Benamram the Director of Knowledge Management of Morrison & Foerster.

A replay of that webinar is now available on the ILTA website: Connections in Context - Who Mentioned CRM?
Enterprise search has become the standard for helping to make organizations’ information retrieval processes more efficient. Improving user access to data across the enterprise is key.  But effective search can do so much more than just improve existing business processes, it can transform your business network by exposing otherwise hidden expertise, customer relationships and cross-selling opportunities. In this session, Oz Benamram demonstrates how to transform your business development process with enterprise search by automatically sharing relationship connections and context throughout the enterprise and provide the benefits of a contextual, searchable network to your stakeholders to achieve maximum adoption and effectiveness.

Make Blogging Mandatory for Knowledge Management

At my panel on What Blogging Brings To Business at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, there was some discussion about whether a company should make blogging mandatory. I sense the audience and the panel thought it was a bad idea.

Mary Abraham of Above and Beyond KM calls it Knowledge Management Made Easier and points to a story by Tim LeberechtThe Writing Organization: Knowledge Management Made Easy. Mary seems to think mandatory blogging would be a good idea.

Dave Snowden points to a blog post from Stephen Holt [Mandatory employee blogs: one way to boost knowledge] which seeks to make blogging mandatory as a means of making tacit knowledge explicit. Dave's reaction:
"Aside from the perpetuation of the myth of tacit-explicit knowledge conversion (more on this tomorrow), the idea of compulsion flies in the face of all theory and practice in social computing.  Its a classic; find something which is working, then ruin it by compulsion."
I am in Dave Snowden's camp. I think mandatory blogging is a bad idea.

After reading Groundswell this weekend, the nature of participation in social media became more clear. Not everyone is a "creator" (as the authors of Groundswell would label them). If you are a blogger, you are a "creator."

Blogging is about consuming and commenting as much as it is about posting. I encourage people to become part of the conversation of social media. I read hundreds of blog posts for every post that I write. I make comments on others blogs.

One of  the powers of blogging (writing them, reading them and commenting on them) is that it reduces thoughts and knowledge to a place where they become findable.  That is great for knowledge management.

But there are lots of other ways to communicate using social media other than blogging.  These social media tools are also great for knowledge management.  The better move is to encourage communication through the platform communication tools of social media.  These web-based communication tools make it much easier to find the content than email based communication.

I would prefer that someone on  my client team update the wiki page for the client's matter more than that that person putting up a post on their own blog. I would prefer someone tagging a document as a good precedent. I would prefer someone commenting on one of my blog posts to point out an alternative approach.

The key is to realize that you can communicate with the web and that communication on the web can be better leveraged to capture knowledge and leverage it for reuse.

Why Does John McCain Hate Me?

John McCain's take on bloggers:

Thanks to John Husband of Wirearchy for pointing this out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Book Review: Groundswell

After starting to read Groundswell, I devoured it over the last few days. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff write a good book. If you are involved in social media you should definitely read this book.

I admit that I jumped ahead to chapter 11 of the book: The Groundswell Inside Your Company. That chapter seemed the most interesting to me since I am mostly interested in the impact of social media within the enterprise. That chapter provided a great deal of insight, so I decided to jump back to page 1.

Charlene and Josh group consumers into six different categories of participation: Inactives, Spectators, Joiners, Collectors, Critics and Creators. They use a paradigm of a ladder to show the level of participation and call it the Social Technographics ladder.

When designing an online community or when reaching out to your customers with social media, you should look at where they stand on the ladder. Forrester's offers a basic tool for Building Your Customers' Social Technographics Profile on the Groundswell Website.

The focus of the book is not about technology, although technology has a role.  The book is about listening to your customers, your clients and your employees to improve your business.  The book shows that there are some new ways to do that listening and to interact with your constituencies. 

For full disclosure, Josh did send me a copy of the book gratis. But you should buy it. It is definitely worth adding to your bookshelf.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Watching The Tour de France

One of my favorite things about July is the Tour de France.  I have been disappointed with the doping scandals over the last few years. But the competition is still fantastic: Three weeks of riding, over 2,000 miles, up and down mountains.

It was great watching the surge of power this morning from Alejandro Valverde as he flew past Kim Kirchen to win today's stage and win the first yellow jersey. If you want to root for Americans, there are two US based teams this year: Slipstream Sport's Garmin-Chipolte and High Road Sport's Team Columbia.

Wired Magazine put together a collection of materials on How to Follow The Tour Online.  Last year I preferred the online coverage from VeloNews.  We generally take advantage of the DVR and replay the coverage from Versus at night. The DVR also allows me to fast forward through some of the less exciting parts of the race on flat stage days.

Google has put together some special street views of the race course: Tour the Tour de France with Street View

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Martindale and LinkedIn Redux

In my previous post [LinkedIn is Now For Lawyers] I was impressed with integration of Martindale-Hubbell with LinkedIn.

Steve Matthews of Stem Legal  pointed out that what I thought was a special integration is actually just using LinkedIn's API. Steve doles out the details in a comment to Kevin O'Keefe's post [If you can't beat 'em, join them] and points to this post on the LinkedIn blog: Get Your Inside Connections with BusinessWeek & SimplyHired

Sure enough, I went over to SimplyHired and it has the same functionality as Martindale. In a job search site, the LinkedIn functionality is even more powerful than Martindale. I still give Martindale credit for moving in a better direction. But they lose points for originality.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

LinkedIn is Now For Lawyers

The venerable Martindale-Hubbell directory of lawyers and law firms has teamed up with LinkedIn to provide a social networking function to the listings in LinkedIn.

When I go to the listing for Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in Martindale-Hubbell, I see the blue LinkedIn icon next to the name of the firm. If you click on the icon, it asks you to logon to LinkedIn to see who you know at the firm. After logging on I get a pop up that shows my two first level LinkedIn connections (Mary Abraham and Patrick DiDomenico) and a total of 131 connections through the second and third level.

Assuming clients are still using Martindale-Hubbell to find law firms and lawyers, this make the directory much more powerful. (Of course that is assuming that clients still use Martindale-Hubbell.) The interface is a bit kludgy, but the information is great. The LinkedIn connection also appears when you look at the listing for some individual lawyers.

As Kevin O'Keefe says, If you can't beat'em, join them.

If you have not joined LinkedIn or have not figured out what it is all about, there is a new video out from the CommonCraft gang on what LinkedIn is all about:


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Email Deluge About Trying to Free Yourself From Email

In Saturday's post [I Freed Myself From Email's Grip] I pointed to a story about Luis Suarez trying to reduce his use of email by using platform communication tools. He is increasingly using web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 mainstays like blogs and wikis to answer the questions and host the answers to the questions.

Law firms and businesses operated for a long time with out email.  They were successful without email. There is no reason to think that email is either the zenith or the endpoint for business communications.  Email is an incredibly powerful tool. But it is a closed system where it is hard to find and very hard to reuse information.  Take a look at your email.  Wouldn't you like to have the answers to a lot of those questions saved for later use? Are people trying to turn your email into a content repository?

Based on those propositions, Luis outlined what he was trying to do in I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip.  The unexpected consequence of the article was that he received a deluge of emails from people sending him the article or their thoughts on the article: Giving up on Work e-mail - Status Report on Weeks 15 to 20. (I am a true believer; I sent my message with Twitter and put up Saturday's blog post.) 

The article about reducing email even ended up on the top ten list of most emailed articles on

Keep in mind that the goal is not eliminate email. It is a very powerful and very useful tool. But it is not appropriate for every communication.
"I am just saying that it needs to be re-purposed and used for what it was meant to be in the first place: A communication tool for one on one conversations of a sensitive, private or confidential nature. The rest should be going out there, in the open, in the public space(s), transparent and with an opportunity for everyone to contribute!"