The unspoken rules of blogging

Gareth Johnson aka llordlama has written an interesting piece in the latest CILIP Gazette in it he looks at how you can make your blog "sing" rather then "sag". So what are Gareth's top tips.

  • Readership - Who is the blog for - ensure you have a targert audience
  • Message - What are you trying to say - you need to stand out because of the number of blogs out there so think carefully about what you're going to say
  • Tone - You need to ensure you keep things light and informative
  • Length - Blog posts are usually shorter then other digital formats
  • Regular - As you build up a readership they will expect you to deliver, so make sure you do!
  • Conversation - Blogging shouldn't be about working in isolation you should be commenting on other people's posts as well to continue conversations and drive traffic to your blog.
  • Linkage - You should link often but only to quality resources
  • Beautify - As Gareth says there is no excuses for blogs to only comprise text
  • Promote, promote, promote - On Facebook, on Twitter on the WWW, wherever and however you can!
  • Reinvent - This is good to do once in a while to "shake things up"

Some really good tips here which if you're currently blogging or are thinking about starting a blog are well worth reviewing in full.

Legal information in a recession

There has been a lot of talk on LIS-LAW and other email lists about this report full title Legal information in a recession: A restructuring opportunity which has been produced by Managing Partner Magazine in association with LexisNexis.

The first thing I would say is read the report before you do anything else - perhaps even before reading this blog post! Still here...well don't say I didn't warn you.

The report is divided into four sections, the first Brave in the new world (written by Andrew Hedley) looks at how Managing partners have an opportunity to "overhaul" their information and knowledge-management functions for long-term growth.

Some highlights from this section include the following:

"Being effective means delivering added value and creating distinct and difficult-to-imitate sources of competitive advantage. Efficience is expected, effectiveness is what is now required"

The section then looks at the assesments Knowledge Management teams will have to make, this makes interesting reading as a lot of the suggestions seem to relate to outsourcing, at least that is the assumption I'm making, for example;

"What elements of the firm's knowledge management and service provision can be done by the in-house professional?"

"What elements of the knowledge mix can be delivered by external knowledge providers more efficiently than by deploying internal resources"

"Does the skill mix and profile of the current knowledge management team map onto that which is required for the future of will some re-shaping be needed" Re-shaping is that a new way to describe redundancies?

The next section looks in detail at how "restructuring their approach to information management" note how the white paper uses the term approach rather then department "presents firms with a key opportunity...for significant costs savings and efficiencies" This section starts by looking at the Osborne Clarke outsourcing deal which took place earlier this year. Then cheeringly the section notes how "98% of senior lawyers think that support staff should be targeted for job cuts, alongside associates" The section then looks in more detail at some of the challenges that Knowledge Management teams face in terms of managing information, in some situations without the information staff they formerly relied upon.

The section includes some quite interesting input from Knowledge & Information Professionals at leading law firms, these include Osborne Clarke, Burges Salmon, Bevan Brittan, FFW, Lewis Silkin, Mills & Reeve and Dyson Bell LLP.

LexisNexis also uses this section as an opportunity to promote some of the tools they currently offer law firms, presumably as a replacement to some of the tasks undertaken by information professionals, these products include LexisPSL and LexisCheck. The final two sections of the report look at the products and services LexisNexis can provide law firms to help them with their approaches to information management and knowledge management.

So is the report just a way for LexisNexis to promote their tools and is there anything legal information professionals need to be worried about. Well yes and no, certainly the report cites a lot of examples where LexisNexis tools are being used effectively by law firms and the fact that a legal publisher is suggesting that information professionals and PSL's can be replaced by applications is certainly worrying. However for some law firms outsourcing simply isn't practical, especially in relation to the value added work information teams now do for example working with clients on pitches, providing legal research services to clients, knowledge audits etc. I would recommend that everyone who has an interest in the provision of legal information reads this report.

Why you should care about Social Media

I've been directed to a very interesting Slideshow on Slideshare which I'm now going to share with you. (There were way too many Slides and shares then)

The presentation called "What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later" asks a very simple question - "Why you should care about Social Media" and goes on to answer the same question with some quite staggering statistics and slides.

The presentation then looks at how Social Media could be used *note this presentation is aimed at marketing teams but is still appropriate for a wider audience* This is a really interesting presentation, although be warned there is some colourful language, which is a follow up to "What the f**k is Social Media"

Balancing technology & culture doing a social business implementation

"Balancing technology & culture doing a social busines implementation" is a thought provoking albeit long post from the Headshift blog which looks at the balance between technology and culture when implementing a social business project.

The post starts with some slightly over the top examples of organisations that are likely to embrace social media and that are risk averse and set against social media and looks at how you could implement social media in these two very different situations.

For those people who don't want to read the entire post there is a good summary at the end of what is a very interesting post.

Enterprise 2.0 adoption

The Fast Forward Blog have published a really interesting post on Enterprise 2.0 adoption, which I recommend everyone has a look at. The post called "Jakob Nielsen on Enterprise 2.0 adoption" is a summary of a study of the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 at 14 companies.

The post includes some useful suggestions for the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 of which I thought the following were the most interesting.

"...avoid advertising the new tools as new tools. Instead, simply integrate them into the existing intranet, so that users encounter them naturally"

If you have an Intranet that's fine - but what if you don't?

"...avoid burdening users with double work. Don't for example, force users to update their profile photos in both the traditional employee directory and a Facebook like social connection tool"

This one seems like a very sensible suggestion to me. I hate having to do this for all the social networks I'm a member of. Overall this is a very interesting post which summarises a much larger one.

This is why you need a blog...

...a few weeks ago one of my colleagues sent me an email which contained the details of a document I might need to refer to, the document could probably become a wiki but that is another story for another day.

This would be fine but the email also included the line "if you delete this email just search for the document using this search string"

...ermmm okay...but If I've deleted the email how will I (a) find your reminder and (b) know to search using a particular search string.

This seems to me to be one of the best reasons for having a blog instead of relying on finding/not deleting emails!

Izzy wizzy, let's get busy with Enterprise 2.0

Mary Abraham has published an interesting post on the "magic" of Enterprise 2.0. Called There’s No Easy Magic in E2.0 the post looks at how those people who advocate Enterprise 2.0 often become carried away with the possiblities of the tools they're working with and forget how difficult the adoption of these tools by organisations can be.

Mary writes in her post "Into this state of frustration comes what can appear to be the magic of E2.0. This has led some fervent E2.0 advocates to take an “if you build it they will come” approach or, in E2.0 terms, “if you provide it they will transform” approach. Their operating idea seems to be that social media tools are so easy to use and so viral, that once you introduce them into your organization they will spread like wildfire with little effort on the part of the knowledge manager. Unfortunately, too many of us are discovering that this is not necessarily the case"

Mary provides some sound advice from Lee Bryant of Headshift who recommends adopting the following approach when it comes to the intergration of Enterprise 2.0 tools:

  • Build quickly and iterate rapidly
  • Add a social layer to existing tools
  • Focus on quick wins, but be strategic

You can if you want rely on magic but I wouldn't recommend it!

Dealing with social networking overload

A lot of people talk about Information Overload being a real problem and I agree to a degree inormation oerload is a problem for many. I was recently interviewed by a post-graduate Information Science student who was looking at this very problem and how it affects the work of Information Officers and Professional Support Lawyers. One of the problems I see is that we prepare a huge amount of current awareness material, which we then send out but we never ask our clients, whether what they're receiving is actually useful or whether there could be a better way for us to send it to them. That will be the subject of another post no doubt.

In this post I want to talk about how information overload is becoming a problem in relation to the many social media tools people use. Mashable have written a post on this very subject. Called "How to deal with social networking overload" the article provides four step plan for helping you figure out how to keep up with your social media universe and get over that overloaded feeling. The steps outlined in the plan are:

  • Ask yourself why you're using a particular site? Is it because you heard about it from your friends, who all heard it was cool. Ideally you should have a genuine reason for using each social networking site you use.
  • Consider your purpose - or what value you think each Social Networking site provides you.
  • Creating boundaries - is a very important point - this is about keeping one social networking site for friends and family and one for work. This is actually quite difficult to do and the boundaries are and will continue to be blurred between the two different types of usage.
  • Communicate your plan - or make it clear how you intend to use each site - just because you're on Facebook doesn't mean you have to change your status every two minutes and tweeting 20 million times a day might be fun but your friends might soon stop reading everything you Tweet.

I found this a really interesting article, which I recommend everyone read for some good suggestions on how to manage your Social Networking applications.

Twitter resources

Twitter continues its plan to take over world (very quickly at the current rate of growth) so it's no surprise to see people writing more about Twitter. The three resources below caught my eye. Thanks to the iLibrarian for bringing these to my attention.

  • Twitter 101 for Business is a special guide which includes everything from specific case studies to Twitter terminology and even gives users the option to download a set of slides in order to train others on using Twitter.
  • Why people use Twiter looks at why people use Twitter. The statistics are published by emarketer on their website.
  • The final resource is a really interesting post called "When do you use Twitter versus Facebook" the results are; Twitter for:- Connecting with Someone You Don’t Know- Breaking News- New Learning and Discovery, Facebook for:- Local News/Events- Connecting with Someone You Know- Help on an Issue