Are lawyers and law firms as far behind the Web 2.0 curve as I tend to think? This nugget from a recent WSJ article entitled Social Studies implies that they have good company if they are … To summarize the article … blogs, wikis and RSS … have begun to gain traction inside companies.
Blogs are probably the best known, thanks in part to their popularity and the handful of executives who use them at Procter & Gamble and Northwestern Mutual Life among others as a way for rank-and-file employees to discuss industry trends, bring team members up to speed, or vent about changes within the company.
Wikis aren’t as familiar as blogs, but they may be even better suited for business use. They’re versatile tools for doing almost any sort of collaboration (as Wikipedia, has done.) At Disney‘s Pixar for instance, wiki technology is being used to help coordinate new computerized animation tools for an upcoming film.
Finally, RSS (for Really Simple Syndication) knits together all the material created on blogs and in wikis and delivers it in easy-to-find fashion. RSS lets employees keep up to date on the latest blog post or change in the project-team wiki. It also can alert users to changes in business-critical information like an entry in a spreadsheet or even the computerized output from production equipment, such as error messages from semiconductor machinery.
Seems like we attorneys ought to be able to find a gaggle of uses for these technologies, no? Not to mention the fact that lawyers were really the first profession to take to blogs in the first place … even if it did take 3 years for them to become so mainstream that most small firms and solo’s either have, or plan to start, a blog nowadays. Of course, the quality of content on such vehicles is another story …