Social networking: privacy and other issues

Yesterday I attended a really interesting seminar hosted by PLC with Lilian Edwards Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sheffield School talking for about why Social Networking Sites matter and some of the privacy issues raised by the use of these sites.

This was a really interesting talk which looked first at the changes Facebook made to its Terms and Conditions as reported by the Consumerist Blog. Basically under the new Terms and Conditions Facebook could do anything with the content you create on Facebook including if you ever left or deleted your account. The fact that they can do whatever they want with the content you can create isn't new but being able to use it even if you don't have a Facebook Account was and unsurprisingly there was much angst over this addition to the T&C's.

Lilian then went on to talk about the first great Facebook scandal which revolved around Oxford Proctors using Facebook to "spy" on Students who were just about to graduate. In this case the student argued that she didn't know how Facebook profile was open and was being viewed by the Oxford proctors.

The scariest part of the seminar was when Lilian described how Applications work on Facebook and this is why I wont be installing any more applications. Essentially when you install a 3rd party application on Facebook you give the developers rights to look at your profile, your contacts and all the information you create but unlike Facebook they don't tell you what they are going to do with it because you don't agree to any T&C's. So all your information and your contacts could be passed on to the highest bidder and used without your knowledge!

So what are the solutions to these issues, should Social Networking sites be regulated by law or should people realise that when they sign up to these types of sites that there are some privacy risks associated with doing so?

Collaboration through Wikis

An interesting article here in the latest issue of LLRX in it the author (Heather Colman) describes how her firm Hicks Morley chose Domino Wiki as solution for sharing knowledge.

This is an interesting article in that it describes the problems fee-earners within her firm faced and why Wikis were identified as the solution. From the article...

"...lawyers were extremely reliant on email to find information that resided in many different places...Searching for a particular piece of information was cumbersome and information was buried in the various repositories"

"Wikis were an ideal solution because they are quick and easy to set up, require very little IT support and could serve as central repositories. They offer search capability, email, RSS notifications for the tech savvy lawyer and the ability to create a taxonomy of subject tags to classify information"

What's also great about the article is that they have demonstrated how successful the Wikis have been with some quantiative data.

"Since our successful launch, 768 pages, 384 links and 530 internal shortcuts have been added by individual users. The most surprising statistic is that 1445 documents have been as attachments"

Heather also includes some recommendations for a successful Wiki implemention:

  • "Start with a small project or group that is already collaborative and well organized helping to ensure a win.
  • Recruit high level executive or partner champions to share success stories.
  • Select a platform that is easy to use without too many bells and whistles.
  • Do not force participation.
  • Remove barriers and impediments by keeping the wiki open for editing and transparent.
  • Create a process for updating that transfers responsibility to each practice group or department."

Speaking engagements 2009

I'm about two months late posting this but better late than never! So despite the credit crunch I'm still going to be very busy writing articles and presenting.

Last week I spoke at the Legal IT Show on how Law Firms are exploiting Web 2.0, this was a panel session with Damien Behan of Brodies and Cora Newell from KM Insight Consulting I'm not going to say too much about this here as I plan to write a more detailed post about the session. I have been asked to write an article for Managing Partner Magazine as a result of speaking on this panel so that is exciting!

At the end of March I'm speaking at Managing the evolution of Legal Libraries and Information Services on how Law Firms Libraries can use Social Media to develop their existing services. I'm really excited about this talk so very much looking forward to it.

My final speaking engagement for 2009 at least the moment is at the BIALL Conference on Law Librarians and Social Networking sites, should we, shouldn't we use...a very modern dilemma!

I'm also going to be writing a number of articles this year including an article on Metrics following my previous articles on Metrics for the CILIP Update. An article on Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 developments within law firms an article for Managing Partner Magazine and my regular Technology Column for the BIALL Newsletter. So all in all it looks like being quite a busy year.

The line between personal and professional

Now this is an interesting question and something that I have struggled with (although not literally) for a while now.

"Where do you draw the line between personal and professional. Do you keep your "friends" in Facebook and your "professional connections" in LinkedIn?"

Lets make one thing clear straight away I don't think having your line manager or boss as friend on Facebook or Myspace is a great idea although there many people who do this. These types of "Friends" even have a name "Frolleagues" thats Friends who are Colleagues. But it can be dangerous and there are numerous articles outlining the "dangers" of doing so:

My "advice" is to only add "colleagues" who you socialise with on a regular basis outside of work as these I would class as friends, you may disagree.

But what should you do about your contacts who you consider to be "professional contacts" who you might not want to see photos of you drinking beer or enjoying yourself perhaps a little bit too much. This is the subject of this post on the Blog and I recommend everyone reas this for an introduction to a delicate subject matter.

[Hat Tip - Doug Cornelius at the KM Space Blog]

I do run...honest

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I enjoy running hence the name of the Blog "The Running Librarian" but I haven't posted about any runs in a while. Now I know what you're thinking this is where I roll out the excuses and it's true! This time last year for example I'd run the Dartford 10 Miler and my first 1/2 Marathon at Brands Hatch.

So what's happening...well late last year I suffered with not one but two chest infections and that knocked my training on the head for a while. My usual (competitive) running partner was also made redundant at the end of last year (a victim of the credit crunch) so I haven't been cajoled by him to enter any events as he has been unable to afford it. I have still been training and I'm pleased to say that for the first time this year I ran a sub 47 minute 10k. Hopefully I can build on this and report on some sub 45 10k's shortly!

How to become a succesful twitterer...

So you've signed up to Twitter but you're a bit scared and not exactly sure what you're supposed to be doing, Tweets, Twits*, Twonks*, Retweets, Twitpics it's all a bit alien.

Never fear, help is here from the iLibrarian and a useful post she has published to her blog called 8 Useful Tips To Become Successful With Twitter this is described as "a useful introduction for Twitter users, both new and experienced" so lets have a look and see how I fare...

  1. Above All, Keep It Personal - Okay not too bad I use my real name (sort of) picture well I'm in it sort of. Are my posts about me? Mostly...
  2. Learn From Others - No don't do this.
  3. Get A Good Desktop Client - Yay Twhirl is my preferred Twitter Client
  4. Use Twitter On The Road - No failed again
  5. Tracking The Results - No I don't look at any Statistics so failed again!
  6. Follow And Be Followed - I follow as many people as possible
  7. Integrate Whenever Possible - Yes my Twitter account is integrated with Facebook and FriendFeed and my Blog posts automatically post themselves on to Twitter
  8. Don’t Over-Think It - I never try to over think anything!

So a grand total of 5 out of 8 not bad but must do better!

*These are definitely made up words