How much time should you spend on Social Media?

Time, perhaps the most precious commodity we all have, so how much should we be spending on Social Media? This is the question Chris Brogan asks in his blog post How much time should I spend on Social Media?

Chris proposes splitting your day into four chunks as follows:

  • 1/4 for Listening
  • 1/2 for Commenting/Communicating
  • 1/4 for Creating

This sounds a sensible approach although Chris does say the individuals "mileage" will differ, so this shouldn't be taken as a hard and fast approach to how much time you spend on Social Media.

How Web 2.0 is changing the way we work

The McKinsey Quarterly has published a video interview with Andrew McAfee. Andrew is the author Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for your Organization’s Toughest Challenges in the video interview Andrew discusses how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way companies do business and whether these tools can help them achieve their goals.

Finding what you need when you need Web 2.0 can help

I know it's almost December but I felt duty bound to report on an article published in The September 2009 issue of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, which I've only just read. The article called "Using Web 2.0 within your organisation"* is written by Penny Edwards of Headshift. Penny recently co-authored the report "Social Networking for the Legal Profession" so has considerable knowledge of how Web 2.0 could and some may say should be used within Law Firms.

The article begins by looking at some of the problems that exist within Law Firms in relation to managing information. "Much of the problem of information overload on projects is really a case of "filter failure". By stemming the flow of emails, making visible activities to people's team and colleagues, and enabling people to better navigate across information irrespective of where or how it is stored will help to ensure people find what the need to work more effectively"

Penny then discusses some of the tools that could be used, these include internal Twitter like messaging applications, Yammer is the tool that immediately comes to mind. Penny explains (and I agree) that these tools when integrated into a wiki or workspace allow people to "signal" to colleagues what they're working on, so that if they want to their colleagues can question them and discuss related ideas.

The article continues with a brief look at how dashboards can be used to provide one place for all activity, the Thoughtfarmer wiki application is an example of this type of tool, although most wiki applications like Confluence will offer some sort of profile page. The article follows up this with a section on how personal information like emails could be managed better by using personal start pages, the Socialtext application is given as an example. Similar to dashboards these tools enable uses to subscribe to recently added or updated content. Finally and this will be of interest to many Law Librarians is the potential for RSS to transform the current awareness services provided by Information Officers. "They distinguish was needs to be opposed to what needs to be read or considered...They also curb email bombardment, giving people the ability to scan the information quickly"

*You will need a subscription to read this article.

Taking social media inside the Enterprise

What are the guidelines that companies should provide employees when they're using Web 2.0 tools inside their organisation? This is the question Bill Ives asks in his blog post More on Taking Social Media Policies Inside Enterprise 2.0 - Eight Issues to Consider this post is a follow up to his post Social Media Policy Outside and Inside the Enterprise in which he looked at some of the social media policies published by companies.

Bill list 10 points, which he believes are crucial for the development of social media policies within an organisation. They are;

  • A clear company philosophy
  • Providing a definition of "social networking/social media"
  • Identifying oneself as an employee of the company
  • Recommending others
  • Referring to clients, customers, or partners
  • Proprietary or confidential information
  • Terms of Service
  • Copyright and other legal issues
  • Productivity impact
  • Disciplinary action

The only points I'm not certain about are "Recommending others" and "Terms of service" in the point on Terms of Service Bill argues that anyone who uses social media tools within the enterprise should be aware of their terms of service. It seems unlikely to me that many employees would read the ToS for any application they use, but maybe I'm wrong?

Developing a Web 2.0 strategy

Nina Platt of the Strategic Librarian blog has written an interesting blog post on the steps you need to take to ensure the development of Web 2.0 within your organisation is strategic. Called Web 2.0 & Marketing: Develop a Strategy from Start to Finish the post takes and interesting look at the Do's and Dont's of developing a strategic plan for the development of Web 2.0/Social media tools.

Nina includes a really useful lists of Do's and Dont's, which I'd encourage everyone involved in the implementation of Web 2.0 tools to have a look at. Some of these might seem obvious but if you're working with these tools on a daily basis there can be a tendency not to see or plan for the obvious.

Nina has also included the following powerpoint presentation in her post this looks at how Web 2.0 tools can be used within Law Firms with a focus on the use of wikis and some of the best practices associated with using this tool.

Is Social Media a drug?

I recently read an article in the Daily Mail (I don't ordinarily read the Daily Mail) about internet addiction and some of the "symptoms" so it was interesting that I then read a post on the Fast Forward Blog called "Is Social Media the new cigarette?"

This post examines a survey of social media use by individuals in the US. Unsurprisingly Twitter came out at the most "addictive" "For respondents under age 35, 27% of those who use Facebook said they check it more than 10 times a day compared to 39% of Twitter users checking in on Twitter more than 10 times a day. I certainly find twitter more addictive. The activity is very fast and real time so you want to stay connected and it is easy to make a quick check."

Now I wouldn't say I'm addicted to Twitter, I certainly find it a very useful tool for finding out what other people in my area of work are doing and for letting people know what I'm doing. Twitter success is helped in no small part by the fact you can Tweet from practically anywhere!

Microblogging can be intimidating

Anyone considering microblogging in their organisations should read this blog post on the Content Economy blog. In the post the author looks at some of the reasons for microblogging, some of the suggestions include the following:

  • "Asking colleagues to help them find information about something, such as a report, method or customer
  • Asking colleagues to help them with a problem they have with a specific software, their computer, or something else
  • Finding colleagues with a specific skill, experience or knowledge
  • Sharing ideas and finding collegues willing and able to help them develop them further"

There are of course many other reasons for using microblogging to communicate and collaborate with colleagues but this is a very good list if you're trying to encourage your firm to look at microblogging.

However the author then goes on to discuss how microblogging can be intimidating. The main reason cited is transparency, as the author discuss in detail in the blog post.

"It all has to do with our fear of transparency. Micro-blogging is a transparent way to communicate, way more transparent than targetet communication methods like email. When micro-blogging, you just have to be a little more careful about what you say and how you say it than when you email people. Email is perceived as "safer" in this respect because it is much less transparent. It allows you to say more sensitive things, assuming that you trust the people that you communicate with (so they don't forward your conversation to other people)"

I couldn't agree more with the points raised by the author, you do have to be careful about what you say and how you say it, because just like emails microblogging posts, tweets or entries can be misunderstood just like email, but potentially you could have a much larger audience.

Information Overload is the Devil

I love this PowerPoint presentation from the Librarian in Black blog a good introduction to the subject and then some really useful tips on how to deal with Information Overload.

Thnking about Twitter lists

If you're thinking about or are using Twitter lists, you might want to take a look at Chris Brogan's blog post "Twitter lists I'm not down"

In his post Chris' describes how yes Twitter lists are useful but when it comes to using them to list people there is a problem, as Chris explains "In talking with friends about it on Twitter, people immediately started DM-ing me, telling me that they felt left out or even LESS important because they weren’t on any lists. Lists are exclusionary by nature. They’re static. There’s a lot of reasons why they might not be all that pleasant for people"

I have to admit I'd never really thought about Twitter lists in this way. I can see now how they will be exclusionary. So what are other people doing, are you creating Twitter lists?

Should law firms embrace SaaS?

In a guest post on the Orange Rag Blog called SaaS for legal software Dominic Cullis, Chairman of the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) looks at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies.

This is a very thorough introduction to the concept of SasS and some of the benefits for law firms. The post also provides some good examples of services provided by SaaS suppliers which law firms can take advantage of.

Moving on...yikes!

This time next week I will be working in a new firm with a very different role. Now that the move is only a week away I'm filled with a mix of nervousness and excitement. I'm excited about managing and developing the tools the firm already has...but I'd be lying If I didn't say I was a little bit nervous about leaving and taking on the responsibilities. Having said that I'm absolutely ready for the challenge.

What that does mean is that this blog might be a little quiet for a while. I do hope to continue publishing to my blog, but I want to find my feet first. So apologies if things go quiet for a while.

For anyone interested in my running exploits I haven't run competitively in a long time. I'm hoping that next season will be much more productive, although based on recent training runs I doubt I'll be setting any personal bests!