Lawtel and RSS

If you haven't seen already Lawtel are rolling out RSS Feeds for all the content on their platform. The feeds are due for release in November.

CILIP Graduate Open Day - Part 2

Following on from my previous post, I've decided to write a more detailed post about the CILIP Graduate Open day I presented at earlier this month.

Mostly because I promised CILIP I would, but also because after my second session on "Getting published" I thought it would be useful if I shared with everyone my top tips for "Getting published".

So these are my top 10 tips (in no particular order) for "Getting published"

(1) Start posting to a blog, it's easy and free and once you start building up an audience it may lead on to more writing opportunities.

(2) If number one sounds too much like hard work then investigate if there are any blogs already in existence that you could blog to as a "guest blogger"

(3) Write at work, if you have an "internal" staff magazine suggest articles for it and if possible get involved in its production.

(4) If you attend a seminar or an event, offer to write a report of it for the group that organised it. I can guarantee they will jump at the offer!

(5) Apply for a Conference bursary and attend a Conference, normally attendance at a Conference as part of a bursary will involve writing a report of the Conference for the organisation that gave you the bursary.

(6) Bit scary this one...speak at Conference, some conferences ask speakers to write up their presentation for inclusion in a journal or newsletter.

(7) Get involved in committee work, if you do there are bound to be opportunites to write reports for professional journals or newsletters.

(8) Suggest a column for a newsletter and then offer to write the column yourself!

(9) Become an expert on something and start sharing your knowledge either through a blog or through presentations, once people know you are an expert the offers will slowly trickle in.

(10) Not a tip of getting published but my final piece of advice which is to write about something you're interested in and which you're enthusiastic about, this will show in your writing and will encourage readers to keep coming back for more.

That's it, does anyone else have any tips for "Getting Published"?

Wilmington 10k 2008

Last Sunday I ran the Wilmington 10k, this was the second time I had run this race so I was hoping for a better, but surprise surprise the weather was awful. It is October I suppose but even so horizontal rain does impede running somewhat, at least that is my excuse for a poor time!

Anyway after 46 and something minutes I discovered that they had slightly changed the course and included a soul destroying, leg sapping 400 metres slog around a school playing field, so cruel. By the time I'd finished panting my way round this final part of the course I ended up with a time of 47:08 and 97th out of 312 runners.

I think I ran slightly quicker then this, but I'm not going to quibble over a couple of seconds. Overall a pretty good result albeit 22 seconds slower then last year, I'm not sure where I lost those 22 seconds! My next race is the Chelmsford 10k, before my season finale the Santa Run at Greenwich Park.

Petts Wood 10k 2008

Another Sunday another race, this time the Petts Wood 10k and for once the weather was kind (in other words I wasn't drenched after 1/2 a mile) in fact the weather was unseasonably warm for the time of year, which caused some problems!

I didn't run this race last year after picking up a slight injury in my previous race so I was determined to set a decent time, unfortunately I was going to be disappointed. I should have guessed the race was going to be tough when the Race Director informed the crowd "it isn't a fast course" and there are "many obstacles"

Obstacles there were, Kissing Gates, Bollards in the middle of the road, small children, dogs, stinging nettles, tree roots, including one especially tricky tree root that caused my first ever tumble in a race. Thankfully I was uninjured although my pride was slightly bruised!! Eventually after 10 very tricky kilometres I crossed the line in a time of 49:27 and finished 158 out of 583 starters. My next race is the Wilmington 10k, where I hope to post a significantly better time.

How Information "overloaded" are you?

Following my previous post on Information Overload I've just seen this quiz you can take, which asks "How Information Overloaded are you?"

I scored a 5 out of 20, which I think is pretty good!

Sittingbourne 10 2008

Its October its wet and windy so what better way to spend a Sunday morning then running through the delightful Kent countryside, to be precise the villages in and around Sittingbourne in the Sittingbourne 10, that's 10 miles not 10k or 10 metres unfortunately.

This was my first competitive race since the Dartford 1/2 Marathon in July so I wasn't expecting a decent time, so I was over the moon when I completed the 10 miles in a new personal best for 10 miles of 1: 18:24 despite the horrible conditions and becoming thoroughly drenched after 1/2 a mile!

My next race is the Petts Wood 10k, last year I picked up an injury just before this race so was unable to take part. I'm looking forward to running this race for the first time.

Information Overload...pah

A lot has been written recently about Information Overload...see this post on the Above and Beyond KM Blog and this one on the iLibrarian Blog

Much of the talk has come about because of this presentation by Clay Shirky entitled "It's not information Overload it's filter failure" in his presentation Clay suggests that Information Overload is an ancient problem going back to the age of the printing press.

All of the presentation is really interesting and I would encourage everyone to have a look at it. Clay talks extensively about how the internet has impacted our lives on a daily basis and cites some interesting true stories including one about Facebook. In this example one of his friends changed their relationship status from Engaged to Single and was bombarded by emails/phonecalls and other messages. This is an example of how setting a filter, in this instance a privacy filter is alien and not something the average user of Facebook would ever think to do, but not doing it contributes to Information Overload.

Strangely enough I've just written an "article" for the BIALL Newsletter on using filters and some sites which currently use filters to present information to users. This doesn't look specifically at the issue of Information Overload within Law Firms as it is much more general but it's good to see I'm on the least for now! I've also just purchased Clay's book "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations"so I'm looking forward to reading this.

CILIP Graduate Open Day 2008

Later today I'm going to be talking at the CILIP Graduate Open Day I'm feeling slightly nervous about speaking at this event, not because there are 90+ people attending but because I'm going to be talking about Social Networking and "Getting Published"

Although I've talked about Web 2.0 in some detail before talking about Social Networking and especially about how Social Networking can be used as part of your Professional Development is going to be challenging. Of course when you begin to think about how you use Social Networks you being to realise how much of what you're doing (apart from the poking and the being bitten by vampires) is actually Professional Development.

Still not convinced, okay I'm talking about joining groups that are relevant to your business interests, posting questions and responses to questions, sharing information and building a sense of community from what can be a very disparate group of individuals. These types of tools also expose us to some of the more interesting aspects of Web 2.0, like Photo and Video Sharing, Blogging (look at me go) and RSS.

It raises an interesting question though, should or are Social Networking sites crucial for our Professional Development?

Social tools and the current awareness process

Last week Headshift organised a breakfast seminar at their offices which looked at the role Social tools like RSS and Wikis can have in a "current awareness" service.

By current awarness they refer to the collection and dissemination of external and internal information within a Law Firm. More information on the seminar is available here and I've embedded the Powerpoint Presentation.

This is an area that really interests me and one that I think could be developed really successfully internally. I know that we spend huge amounts of time, reviewing and then collating information from numerous sources into something that our fee-earners will approve of and we haven't (at least not recently) asked them whether what they are receiving is appropriate or relevant to the work they do.

The Web 2.0 olympics

I don't usually compare Web 2.0 to sports...but then I'm sort of borrowing this comparison from Mary Abraham over at Above and Beyond KM who has written an post about overcoming the hurdles of Web 2.0

In it she mentions a recent article* by Ruth Ward of Allen & Overy (leaders in terms of Web 2.0 adoption within Law Firms) and how they have overcome some of the challenges to Web 2.0 adoption.

So what are the hurdles, well...

"Social tools and networks can bring real business value, especially in a professional-services setting. But many partners and practices seem to struggle to get beyond their press-led perceptions of Facebook and Wikipedia, and their natural scepticism of blogging."

So true...I remember when we first looked at blogs someone described them as being "for chat" IT Departments can also be a stumbling block, because they either don't understand the benefits of using these tools or again they associate Social Media or Web 2.0 with websites like Facebook and Wikipedia, not that there is anything wrong with either of those websites. Fee-earners are also natually sceptical and cynical about any new or innovative product so encouraging them to use something they might associate as being from the same mould as Facebook or Wikipedia can be a difficult task. But as Mary suggests there have been some excellent examples of Law Firms developing these tools to add value and the influence and use of these tools can only increase.

*You will need a subscription to Managing Partner magazine in order to read this article.