Common Craft‘s new video, Social Media in Plain English, really emphasizes how a lot of this new-fangled social technology (esp. tagging, commenting, and voting) is really nothing new, and nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a twist on the old way (and often better and more effective way) to do things. It’s not appropriate for every aspect of the way lawyers work, but it can be helpful in many respects. (post continued below video)
(See other LawyerKM Common Craft stuff here)
Allowing comments on model documents in your precedent repository (or DMS – see e.g., Interwoven) can add a perspective–and value–that the author or the KM staff or your PSLs did not initially recognize. For example, you may have added a particular sample because it is a good example of a certain kind of brief related to a particular industry. And that’s the way the KM staff described it in the “official” description in your KM system. But a non-KM user (i.e., a practicing lawyer) may think that it’s a good example not because of the industry to which it is related, but because of the nature of the litigants (e.g., limited liability company vs. professional corporation) – a piece of meta data that’s not likely to be part of your official taxonomy.
As we all have come to accept, meta data is important to the ability to locate the information we need. But don’t forget about user-created meta data (tags, comments, votes, etc.). KM folks may think we know what’s important to the lawyers we support (and much of the time, we do), but those lawyers know what’s important to them. So, why not allow them to help us learn? Sort of “Help me help you…” but I suspect that your lawyers won’t be begging you with as much desperation as Tom begs Cuba.
So, don’t be afraid. Maybe we should call it “Business Media” instead of “Social Media.”
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