Web 2.0 / Social Media Update

by Timothy B. Corcoran on April 30, 2009

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Periodically I take stock of my web 2.0 efforts, to ensure that I continue to derive value from the tools that matter and discard the rest.  Here’s my latest appraisal:

Blog – I’ve moved my professional commentary to this blog from my personal blog, which now allows me to maintain two personas.  Frankly, I don’t mind mixing business with pleasure, as it were, and many of my readers have mentioned that an occasional family photo or recap of my basketball league provides insights into my personality that might not otherwie shine through.  Nevertheless, I made the split and it’s working out well.

LinkedIn – I continue to maintain a robust profile, inviting or accepting invites from those I meet in business settings.  I have instant recall of perhaps 80% of my 463 contacts.  For the remainder I have to consult my notes to recall who they are.  It would be very helpful if LinkedIn allowed personalized annotation of the contact record itself.  Recently I’ve received several “Please introduce me to someone you know” and “Please introduce me to someone who knows someone I want to meet.”  All but one request has come from a trusted source so I have happily complied.  I’ve met several job seekers who have indicated a desire to troll my contacts and ask for introductions, but not a single one has followed through.  Apparently cold calling still gives one pause, no matter what the form.

Facebook – I’ve spent significantly less time here since the recent upgrade which, to me at least, made it more difficult to navigate.  But I still drop in a few times a week.  This is mostly reserved for family, close friends, old friends getting back in touch and the occasional  business connection, now totaling 230.  I really wish FB allowed categorization of friends so I could accept invites from distant acquaintances but limit their access to my personal content.

Twitter – I’m a regular tweeter and reader, and careful readers will note the Twitter feed in the right column of this blog.  Twitter leads me to some of the most compelling articles, of both professional and personal interest, that I might not otherwise see.  It’s also increased my visibility and allowed me to find others with like interests.  I will regularly tweet from conferences and speeches I attend, and eagerly read others’ recaps of conferences I cannot attend.  I tend to amuse myself by posting personal updates alongside professional commentary, a habit which many disavow.  But as with my blog I tend to believe that injecting some of my personality makes things interesting.  Somehow I have attracted 364 followers, and I follow 233.  Twitter Grader ranks me 96.7 out of 100, though I’m still waiting for my gold star!

Google Reader – I monitor a large number of legal and news sources daily in Google’s RSS reader.  This can become overwhelming, but I find it necessary to stay on top of what other thought leaders are saying and what trends are influencing our marketplace.  At the end of this post is a partial list of the professional sources I rely on.  I’m a voracious reader but years ago I found that I couldn’t keep up with all the books I purchased until I overcame my reluctance to start a book unless I had time to finish it.  I also redefined “finished” to mean when I lost interest and not when I reached the end.  With that burden off my shoulders, I now read books and magazines and skim hundreds of articles and blog posts daily without the obsession of reading every word.  It’s faster that way!

Legal OnRamp – This legal community has been around a couple years now and I’m starting to spend more time there.  As an alum of Counsel Connect, the early 90’s online legal community launched by American Lawyer, I enjoy re-connecting with the brilliant minds discussing the fundamental changes taking place in the legal marketplace.  Whether it’s a debate on the billable hour, the use of technology to automate routine tasks to lower costs for clients, substantive legal issues such as the American Law Institute’s (ALI) proposed changes to the law for software contracts — the point is savvy outside lawyers have an opportunity to demonstrate expertise to a captive audience of in-house counsel.

LMA Connect and the Lawmarketing listserve are two networks where I monitor and contribute commentary to the legal marketing community.  There is overlapping membership but often robust discussions.  Many law firm leaders might be surprised at the level of business expertise already residing within their firms today.

Classmates.com – I maintain a profile here, which is helpful solely to reconnect with school chums.  However my profile points visitors to Facebook and LinkedIn.

Sites I do not use:

Martindale Connected – I am an alum of Martindale and, quite evidently, a regular user of web 2.0 tools, but I have not been allowed to join so I have no opinion.

ABA’s Legally Minded – I joined this community but can’t find a reason to participate.

Plaxo, Naymz and Spoke – All are similar to LinkedIn, but other than accepting requests from others to connect I don’t visit.

MySpace – My profile still exists but not even my young nieces visit any more.  It’s all about Facebook.

 

A partial list of my daily reading:

  • Above the Law – David Lat’s legal tabloid
  • Adam Smith, Esq. – Bruce MacEwen’s brilliant commentary on the intersection of law, business and economics. This is a must read
  • Are You Writing This Down? – Legal marketing expert Lance Godard’s excellent commentary
  • The Becker-Posner Blog – Economist Gary Becker and Federal Judge Richard Posner offer commentary on issues of the day from an economist’s perspective.  These are rich, deep, thoughtful insights which, admittedly, I often don’t have the time or energy to fully absorb
  • Bill’s Blog – Incisive Media (formerly American Lawyer) CEO Bill Pollak’s commentary. While orginally intended for his staff, his insights are applicable to others, and his informative style is one which many CEO’s should emulate
  • Business Development – Occasional legal marketing commentary by Peter Darling
  • The Client Revolution – Jay Shephard is a practicing employment lawyer who promotes his innovative practice which doesn’t bill by the hour, ever
  • CMO 2.0 – Interviews with leading CMOs from multiple industries
  • College of Law Practice Management – As an elected Fellow I like to see what my fellow, um, Fellows are up to. Turns out most of us with something to say do so on our own blogs so not a lot happening here
  • The Common Scold – Veteran journalist and editor of Law Technology News, Monica Bay reports on legal technology, legal technologists, the Yankees and her varied other interests
  • Cotterman on Compensation – I followed Altman Weil consultant Jim Cotterman’s commentary long before I joined the firm.  There are few in the field with more experience on law firm compensation topics than Jim
  • Decent Shred – Shy Alter, a Toronto-based law firm information and knowledge management expert, is someone I became aware of via Twitter
  • Demand Trigger – Veteran sales coach Mike O’Horo’s take on the legal profession
  • The Dilbert Blog – Dilbert creator Scott Adam’s quirky take on life through the eyes of an economist/humorist/cartoonist. He’s also a fascinating writer
  • Enlightened Tradition – Another law firm KM expert I’ve come to “know” via Twitter, Mark Gould hails from the UK and discusses organizational knowledge
  • Erik J Heels Blog – My former colleague Erik is an IP lawyer, Internet pioneer and veteran legal technologist.  He’s also a very interesting guy with a wide range of interests
  • Freakonomics – The authors of the popular book discuss everyday issues through the eyes of economists
  • Get Creative – COLPM member Merrilyn Astin Tarlton’s take on law firm innovation
  • InHouse Rants – An anonymous corporate lawyer discussing his dissatisfaction of outside counsel.  Dormant for quite some time, I guess he has nothing more to say
  • In Search of Perfect Client Service – Patrick Lamb, the Chicago co-founder of innovative law firm, Valorem, discusses the disruptions in today’s legal markets and how he and his colleagues have adopted a new approach
  • Inhouse Access – Commentary from various inhouse counsel hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel
  • Inhouse Blog – News and Jobs for inhouse counsel, edited by Geoff Gussis, a private-practice lawyer in NJ
  • Inside Legal – News and commentary on legal service providers and vendors, edited by the good folks at legal PR firm, Envision Agency
  • Karasma Media – Legal social media marketer Kara Smith reports and opines on the legal issues of the day
  • Larry Bodine Marketing Blog – Longtime legal marketer rants on topics of the day and promotes his services
  • Law.com – The must-read site for legal news.  I pay particular attention to the legal technology feed
  • Law Department Management – Rees Morrison’s fantastic and robust blog for in-house counsel
  • Law Firm Competitive Intelligence – CI guru and veteran legal marketer Ann Lee Gibson on topics related to law firm competitive intelligence and business development
  • Law21 – Canadian lawyer and journalist Jordan Furlong publishes “dispatches from a legal profession on the brink.”  This is a must read
  • LawBeat – Veteran legal journalist turned academic, Mark Obbie “watches the journalists who watch the law”
  • LawBizBlog – Ed Poll is a longtime lawyer, business development consultant, coach and author. He’s been at this so long he coined (and trademarked!) the phrase “The Business of Law.”  His award winning commentary is a must read
  • Leadership for Lawyers – Veteran legal marketer Mark Beese is now consulting in the areas of law firm business development and law firm leadership development
  • Legal 1-to-1 Marketing Blog – Bill Vannerson, a BigLaw KM and information technology expert, discusses the legal issues of the day
  • Legal Blog Watch – Lawyers/Journalists Bob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant read and analyze legal blogs and websites of interest to the legal profession
  • Legal Marketing Blog – Veteran legal marketer Tom Kane discusses legal issues of the day
  • Legal Marketing Reader – Amy Campbell compiles and comments on legal marketing news and resources
  • Legal Process Outsourcing – A discussion of outsourcing and offshoring news
  • Legal Spend Management – TyMetrix, an e-billing provider, discusses topics related to law firm billing
  • The Legal Thing – Notes from Mike Dillon, General Counsel of Sun Microsystems
  • The Legal Watercooler – Insightful and timely commentary by veteran legal marketers Heather Milligan and Jayne Navarre
  • LSSO Raindrops – A presently dormant but periodically rich source of commentary on law firm sales efforts
  • Maddock on Marketing – Altman Weil consultant Biff Maddock, a veteran legal marketer, discussing topics relevant to marketing and business development
  • Martindale-Hubbell Blog – As an alum I enjoy checking in now and again to celebrate the company’s successes, and lament at its missteps… primarily driven not by the clever people at the helm of MH but by the inept navel-gazers at the parent company
  • Next Generation Law – Kevin Thompson of Advanced Advocates, a platform for law students, discusses legal issues of the day
  • The [non]Billable Hour – Matt Homann, innovational speaker, lawyer and consultant, discusses the changing practice of law
  • Progressive Marketing – Mid-size law firm marketer Russell Lawson opines on topics of the day
  • Real Lawyers Have Blogs – Kevin O’Keefe, an early adopter of legal technology and now blog evangelist, covers the world of legal blogs
  • Rick Klau’s Blog – My former colleague Rick is a lawyer, an internet pioneer, a legal technologist, a political activist, an early adopter of everything, and now a Google exec.  He’s also a great guy
  • Seth’s Blog – By law every marketer must read Seth Godin. If you read it, you’ll see why
  • Set in Style – Mister Thorne (yes, that’s his name) discusses legal writing.  A must read for legal writing and marketing
  • Strategic Legal Technology – Veteran legal technologist Ron Friedmann discusses the intersection of technology and the business and practice of law.  This is a must read
  • Thoughtful Legal Management – David Bilinsky advises the Law Society of British Columbia on practice management topics and edits the Law Practice Management magazine
  • Wicker Park Group – Nat Slavin, former publisher of Corporate Legal Times (now Inside Counsel) and veteran legal marketer Laura Meherg and team discuss issues related to client feedback
  • Wall Street Journal Law Blog – With all due respect to excellent veteran legal journalist Ashby Jones, this blog has become less cutting edge than it was a couple years ago.  But still a must read for legal news and commentary

The last time I posted my reading list I received several excellent suggestions.  So please, tell me what you read that you find interesting and helpful for staying on top of the changing business of law.

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