Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

Web 2.0 & Marketing: Develop a Strategy from Start to Finish

web20logosWeb 2.0 excited me from the first time I read about it.  I could see how the various technologies that make up Web 2.0 could be used within an organization to enhance sharing, improve some processes, and more.  Called Intranet 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, it made sense to me.  What has stalled me a bit in acceptance is how some organizations are using these technologies to market to external web users in an attempt to grab some market share.  In many cases, organizations decide to use blogs, wikis, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. without a strategy or marketing plan. 

Similar to an intranet or web site project, the use of Web 2.0 should be planned carefully to be used strategically.  Hhhmmm… that sounds like a strategic plan is in order or in the very least – a plan.  Here are some suggestions for steps that need to be taken to make your plan strategic:

Do’s Don’ts
Get a cross functional team together and begin defining the goals and/or objectives (We will call them goals) in using Web 2.0.  Ask simple questions like who and why?  Who tells you the market you are trying to reach and the why tells you what problem you are trying to solve. Define goals without tapping the insight of others. 
Reach out to others in the organization to ask them for their thoughts on goals, etc.  This not only improves the goals that are set, but also starts to build buy-in and support for what will be done to meet those goals. Set goals in isolation from others in the organization.  If marketing department sets goals without asking the individuals who have the closest and most direct contact to clients, the result may be very limited.
Interview clients to determine if they are using or are aware of Web 2.0.  Is their hiring practice to purchase services or products based on information from the Internet? Assume if you build it, they will come.
Learn about all the Web 2.0 technologies that you are considering using before starting your project. Use the technologies without having some knowledge about how each works
Consider how each technology supports your defined goals/objectives.  Continue developing answers to questions like what, when, and how. What describes your initiative, when begins the development of a timeline, and how describes the initiative that support each goal. Use Web 2.0 because everyone else is or because someone person in the organization thinks diving into development without considering goals is a good idea.
Develop a project plan for each initiative. Dive in without a plan.
Start with one project (e.g., creating topical blogs) that you have determined to meet the organization’s needs.  When it is complete, move along to the next.  Tackle all the projects at once.  This strategy creates confusion, pulls resources in too many directions, and does not allow those resources to do their best on each initiative.
Use change management techniques to assist those in the organization who will need to change how they think or what they do.  Even if the change creates a better mousetrap, people will need to say goodbye to what they know and how they do things before accepting anything new.  Change management should be used from the point that the goals are developed all the way through to acceptance by the organization. Assume everyone will accept what’s new.
Celebrate your success with all involved. Think ‘another day, another dollar’.
Continuously evaluate if the goals are being reached and, if not, what needs to be changed. Sign off on each initiative and think it is done.

There are plenty of articles and blog posts that describe W 2.0 in one form or another.  Some focus on process while others focus on the specifics on how to use each technology.  The following have some good tips for using W2b 2.0 in marketing.

Seven Strategies for Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Darlene Fichter, Marketing Library Services, March/April 2007.

The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Salvitore Parise, et al, Wall Street Journal Business, December 15, 2008.  The focus is on consumers instead of business to business but it is still worth a read.

For a book on the subject, check out Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide: Business thinking and strategies behind successful Web 2.0 implementations,  O’Reilly Media, April 2008.

Finally, Jaye Lapachet and Camille Reynolds have posted their Internet Librarian presentation with a focus on law libraries on Slideshare.  The embedded slides follow:

ILTA 09: Enterprise 2.0: What It Is and Why Should You Care

I’m at ILTA 09 this week at the Gaylord National near Washington DC.  I hope to make it to more programs than I have at other conferences this year.  Currently, I am sitting in the Enterprise 2.0 program with David Hobbie and Kevin O’Keefe as presenters. 

So far, David has gone over what enterprise 2.0 is and started on building a business case for it.  He’s included a run-down on SLATES, McAfee’s description of the functions of enterprise 2.0:

  • Signals
  • Linking
  • Authorship
  • Tagging
  • Extensibility
  • Search

See the slide show embedded in Enterprise 2.0 : What is it and will it find a place in law firms? for a description of each function.

What are the business cases David described?  I caught the following before he moved on to the rest of the program:

  • Increasing knowledge sharing
  • Communicating and collaborating more easily
  • Engaging employees

Kevin O’Keefe began his presentation with a discussion of how relationships are at the heart of the matter in social networking.  There is value in relationships that law firms don’t always value.  Developing deep friendships and strong relationships engage employees, improve production and make work more enjoyable.

Who can you network with?

  • Clients
  • Prospective clients
  • Refereral sources

Other thoughts from Kevin:

  • Enterprise 2.0 in law firms?  Law firms focus on tools.  with so many tools available, how can they make sense of how to select and use tools for social networking? 
  • Blogging? According to Kevin, thought leaders blog.  Blog is not about content, it is about engaging people in a discussion and then listening.  The engagement can be within or across networks.
  • Social Networking?  600,000 legal professionals added to LinkedIn since April 08.

To follow more programs on Enterprise 2.0 search for #ilta09e2 on Twitter.


Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Library 2.0 and more

The Minnesota Association of Law Libraries had it’s Spring Meeting on May 17, 2008 with a focus on web 2.0, library 2.0, and enterprise 2.0.  It was a great program (kudos to the Education Committee & speakers)  that kept me interested all day. 

Shane Nackerud, Web Services Coordinator at University of Minnesota Libraries, started out the day with two presentations.  The first covered Web 2.0 and the second, Library 2.0.   The most interesting part of the presentation for me was when he demonstrated the University’s yet to be released library catalog developed with ExLibris Primo.  The web 2.0 functionality included tagging, creating your own collection of the library resources (called e-shelf) and more.  His presentation is embedded below.

Doug Cornelius, Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Proctor LLP, provided An Attorney’s Perspective on Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 with a focus on the five C’s – Contribution, Communication, Collaboration, Connection and Community.  He also discussed Andrew McAfee’s SLATES, to describe Enterprise 2.0.  SLATES stands for Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals.   His presentation is embedded below.

Both presentations inspired me to think more about how my consulting company could use web 2.0 applications.  The following weekend I finished setting up a PBwiki intranet for Nina Platt Consulting that I had been playing with for about 6 months and started thinking about incorporating Web 2.0 into my Internet site.    If you haven’t attended a Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 or any other 2.0 program, now is the time to start thinking about it.  After all, Web 3.0 is just around the corner.


Colleague Connection : Technology Trends and Change Management

I presented a program on Technology Trends Affecting Libraries : Handling Challenges Change Creates at the Colleague Connection in Denver CO last week.  Colleague Connection is an annual eeting of all Colorado library associations and ARMA that has been held for 20+ years.  What a great role model for collaboration.  Thanks to the organizers who made my trip so pleasant and to the 182 librarians and record managers who attended.  It was a great evening.

The PowerPoint slides from the presentation are shared below.

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Does Today’s Education System Prepare Students for Life?

Web 2.0 and its use in the workplace continues to be in the news, discussed on blogs, and generally guessed about as we work to determine what the next important step is in the use of technology.  While we think about tomorrow and how we will meet the needs of those coming into the workplace, it is also interesting to note the changes in technology use by the younger set and whether we are really preparing them to work in the new world.

The motley crew in the photo below are my nieces and nephews (please don’t let them know I have this photo on the web – I have favorite aunt status with some that I don’t want to lose) who are all now in their 20’s except for the tall fellow on the left who is 31.  Despite the range of ages from just turning 20 to the grand old age of 29, they have some things in common. 

  • They’ve all had cell phones since their teens or in some cases pre-teens
  • They all use laptops/notebooks, not desktops
  • They spend as much or more time text messaging than they do talking on their phones
  • They use IM/Chat when they aren’t talking on the phone or text messaging
  • They watch very little television in comparison to what my generation did at their age
  • They are proof to me that their generation thinks, communicates and collaborates differently


Another experience I had about 30 years ago tells a tale about younger generations growing up with different experiences.  While taking a much needed after-Thanksgiving-dinner nap, I was tapped on the shoulder, awaking to a two year old’s face about six inches from mine – my oldest nephew, Nathan.  Once I got his face in focus, I asked what he needed.  He handed me a computer game called Merlin that my brother owned, and asked in a very clear sentence, “Nina, will you re-program this for me?” 

Once I pushed the buttons he needed pushed, I sat back and wondered just how smart this kid was.  He is 33 now and still as smart, but I think just about any 2 year old born since the computer has become personal, grew up with similar needs.  

While I digress about family, my focus of this posting is how our education system has or hasn’t kept up with the needs of its students during the same time.  My guess has been that it isn’t keeping up – confirmed for me by the results of a survey delivered via video clip created by Michael Wesch and his Digital Ethnography students. 

The survey indicates that we have a long way to go to integrate technology into the classroom.  As time moves on and future generations go through school and graduate into the workforce, will we be ready for them in the workplace?  How will we engage them beyond the monthly paycheck?

Is Ron Friedmann Missing Something?

Ron Friedmann reported this week on an article in Business Week (10/1/07) titled, The Water Cooler is now on the Web.  After describing the gist of the article, Ron offers up a skeptical view of whether or not BigLaw lawyers would take the time to network via the social (I like to think of them as professional) networks on the web.  He ends by asking, “Am I missing something?”

Before I had a chance to comment, Andrew Tricket (Knowledge and the Cardinal blog) offered the same thoughts I was about to share.  Yes, Ron, you may be missing something.  I doubt that the lawyers who are 30 to 40 years of age and up will replace the literal water cooler for the virtual one.  I do, however, think that the 20 somethings that are now entering the firms, will use professional networking to connect with clients and other lawyers.  I also hold out hope that the same young lawyers will adopt knowledge management in ways that other generations haven’t. 

 I have my own skepticism about KM and other topics but I can’t help feeling positive about the future of KM in the hands of Generation Y.  There is one thing that could prevent them – the lack of understanding from BigLaw regarding the online culture followed by their unwillingness to respect it and to encourage the incoming lawyers to spend time at the virtual water cooler as they share and develop their knowledge. 

See the posting on this blog regarding Enterprise 2.0 for more on this topic.

Enterprise 2.0 : What is it and will it find a place in law firms?

I was fortunate to be able to participate as a panelist at the Emerging Technologies breakfast at the SLA conference in Denver in June.  My part of the program was to present on Enterprise 2.0.  I have often seen knowledge management (KM) in law firms as a glass half-empty endeavor but with Enterprise 2.0, there may just be a chance that KM can be successful. 

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies and initiatives within the organization.  Andrew McAfee (professor at Harvard who first used Enterprise 2.0 as a concept) defines Web 2.0 as the “digital platforms for generating, sharing and refining information”.  

McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as “Platforms that companies can buy or build in order to make visible the practices and outputs of their knowledge workers”.  It could also be said that Enterprise 2.0 takes Web 2.0 a step further using the same digital platforms for generating, sharing and refining knowledge.  The digital platforms are wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, social networking, instant messaging, portals, mashups, and other Web-based collaborative applications.

The attached slides describes both along with a discussion of McAfee’s model for Enterprise 2.0 called SLATES.  It also includes some examples of the use of Enterprise 2.0 in law firms. 

Of course, whether organizations benefit from all this is doubted by some, including a recent debate by Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport prior to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference held in June 2007 in Boston.  View an on-demand version of the debate.  In a posting on his blog, McAfee states that he sees the difference in their thinking in that he has addressed the topic as if it is something new and Davenport sees the technology mentioned as having been around for some time.  I agree, the technology isn’t new but putting the various apps together in one package puts a new spin on how to engage users.

I may be a bit naive in believing the following but I think we will see a change in the willingness of lawyers to actually participate in KM initiatives.  Lawyers graduating from law school today are experienced in using the digital platforms described in this slideshow.  They are also part of a culture that believes in end-user content generation and sharing.  Unless law school and first year at a law firm changes them profoundly, they will be looking for this type of technologies to use with their practices. 

That leaves my glass half-full.   I’d love to hear what you think.