A Non-Attendee’s Guide to “Attending” ABA TECHSHOW 2012

As I’ve mentioned, my recent bout with a blood clot in my leg is preventing me from attending ABA TECHSHOW 2012, my favorite legal tech conference of the year, later this week. That made me think about ways to “attend” TECHSHOW without actually being there. In fact, Tom Mighell and I talked a bit about this idea in our latest podcast called “Turning TECHSHOW Topics into Technology Agenda.”

The great thing about blogs, social media and especially Twitter these days is that you really can keep up with what’s happening at conferences that interest you. TECHSHOW generates a lot of traffic along these lines, so it’s a great place to see how social media works in connection with a conference.

Blogs. There is a concept known as “live blogging” where bloggers take notes during sessions and post them on their blogs after each session they attend. Some bloggers do an excellent job of this, which I admire, because I simply can’t do this. Watch the blogs of your favorite legal tech bloggers to see what they post. I find that the best blog source for legal tech conferences is JoAnna Forshee’s daily summary posts at the InsideLegal blog. She has already posted “ABA TECHSHOW 2012: What You Need to Know.”

Twitter. TECHSHOW can really help you understand what Twitter is and how it might or might not be useful to you. If you haven’t used Twitter Search much yet, TECHSHOW is a great time to try it. You can search on “TECHSHOW” or the official “#abatechshow.” The latter is what is known as a hashtag. Anyone posting from TECHSHOW can include this hashtag in his or her tweet and everyone can easily find all TECHSHOW-related posts. You might see tweets summarizing key points from sessions and other info from the conference. At TECHSHOW, the volume of tweets can be high and repetitive, but you can get a good feel for what is happening at the conference and capture a fair amount of information content from the show. You can also follow the tweets of certain speakers or attendees. I always enjoy Gwynne Monahan’s high-volume tweets as @econwriter5 and Tom Mighell’s helpful tweets at @tommighell. You’ll be able to identify other quality tweeters to follow by monitoring the Twitter search results.

Other Social Media. Of course, what you will get depends on the connections you have in LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms, but these platforms can also bring you information from the conference.

Handouts. Tom also pointed out on the podcast that you can also purchase the TECHSHOW conference materials. TECHSHOW has always successfully encouraged speakers to submit quality handout materials.

Participation. Using social media, you can do more than just monitor the conference. You can actually participate in discussions on Twitter, comment on blog posts and the like. You can also invite people to connect on LinkedIn, friend people on Facebook and follow new people on Twitter.

Frankly, all of this is not really the same as being there, but it’s the next best thing and it’s getting better. I’m so disappointed I can’t in person, but I’m happy I have so many ways to be part of TECHSHOW virtually.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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The new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” is now available. Also, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

An Attendee’s Guide to ABA TECHSHOW 2012

ABA TECHSHOW runs from Thursday to Saturday this week. It’s my favorite legal technology conference, although I might be a bit biased because I was on the TECHSHOW Board for a few years.

Unfortunately, as some readers already know, I’m not going to be able to attend this year because I’m in the process of recovering from a blood clot in my leg. I’m feeling better, but not enough. That’s very disappointing to me because I was scheduled to speak at two sessions, the book Allison Shields and I wrote, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, will debut at TECHSHOW, and I’ll miss see all of my friends in the legal technology world.

As I thought about this development, I decided that I’d write a blog post that was a little bit about what I’d do if I were at TECHSHOW and a little bit about what I’d recommend others do while at TECHSHOW.

My first recommendation would be to read Peter Bregman’s great Harvard Business Review article about attending conferences called “How to Attend a Conference as Yourself.”

The secret to attending TECHSHOW is to realize that it’s a great gathering of lawyers who want to use technology in their practices. In many firms, these lawyers can’t find other lawyers with the same interests and passion about technology. At TECHSHOW, lawyers often say that they didn’t realize that there were so many lawyers like them.

The best thing you can do is to introduce yourself to and talk to others at TECHSHOW – attendees, speaker, vendors. Especially speakers. TECHSHOW speakers enjoy talking to attendees about technology. See the speaker ribbon on an ID badge as an inviting to say hello, not as a barrier.

Pre-conference.

There’s a smartphone app for TECHSHOW. Download and install it in preparation. I’d also go over the agenda and identify the sessions you want to attend. TECHSHOW has always focused on education. It’s a conference where it makes sense to attend as many educational sessions as you can. The speakers always have a practical focus. Arrive at TECHSHOW with your list of the sessions you want to attend. Also, it’s OK to slip out of a session if it’s not what you want and move over to another session. The sessions are close to each other in location.

Wednesday Afternoon.

If you arrive on Wednesday, get yourself registered and get your name badge right away on Wednesday afternoon. Wear the badge so others know that you are attending TECHSHOW and introduce yourself to other attendees.

Wednesday Evening.

I’d recommend trying to get into the LexThink .1 event. It’ll be a fast, thought-provoking and fun session of twelve 6-minute presentations. Matt Homann and JoAnna Forshee know how to put on a great show. And it’s free. Make it your mission to talk to as many new people as you can.

There’s also an opening reception. I wouldn’t miss it.

Then take advantage of any opportunity to hang out with other attendees after the event in the hotel. A key point: you can’t really network from your hotel room.

Thursday.

Especially if you are a first-time attendee, but everyone should see TECHSHOW chair Reid Trautz’s intro address first thing in the morning. Reid is a great speaker and he’ll help you map our the highlights of TECHSHOW.

Then, make it your goal to wear yourself out by attending as many sessions as you can, visiting the exhibit floor and meeting as many people as you can. People are very welcoming at TECHSHOW. Find an empty seat at a table at lunch and invite yourself.

Also, take advantage of the Conference Concierge booth, Adrian Linares’s great contribution to the TECHSHOW. The Conference Concierge booth sits at the entrance to TECHSHOW is staffed by speakers and TECHSHOW Board members with the goal of answering all your questions. From directions to sessions and restrooms to signing up for Taste of TECHSHOW dinners to answering tech questions, this booth is the place for information. You’ll often find the speakers you want to meet at the booth helping out. It’s a great place to talk to speakers you’d like to meet. I always found the booth so much fun that I worked it even at times I hadn’t volunteered for.

If you’ve done your pre-work, you will have identified the sessions you want to attend and vendors you want to visit. I’ll recommend especially the two sessions I’ll be missing in action as a speaker. First, Allison Shields at 10:30 in the Meet the Authors session for our new book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers. Allison is so knowledgeable on LinkedIn and she’s planning to answer questions about how lawyers can best use LinkedIn. Then, at 2:00, check out the session called Coffee Shop Office: The Ethics of Mobile Computing, where Sharon Nelson and Tom Mighell will be speaking on the vital topic of mobile security. I’ve seen the slides and the session should be excellent.

End up your first full day with the traditional opening reception.

Did I really say end your day? Not at all. One of the great thing at TECHSHOW is the Taste of TECHSHOW dinners. Arranged by topic, these dinners allow about ten people to sign up for dinners at nearby restaurants hosted by topic experts. Some are already sold out, so check out what’s available online. You can also sign up at the Conference Concierge desk. Here’s a little-known tip: there are usually some last-minute cancellations, so check at the Concierge booth to see if a spot will open up for you. Also, watch for places other attendees are hanging out in the hotel in the evening and join in.

Friday.

Get up early and dive right in. Repeat the overloaded schedule from Thursday (get your money’s worth). I’ll recommend what would have been my other session at 3:30 called Running Your Practice Entirely in the Cloud: From Start Up to a Large Virtual Firm, with Chad Burton and Catherine Sanders Reach. Again, I know what will be presented and it should be a great session.

Make sure you spend time on Friday visiting all the vendors whose products you want to learn more about.

End the day with the Beer and Bloggers event, another Taste of TECHSHOW dinner or have dinner with new friends you’ve met. My motto: If there’s an event on the schedule, try to attend it.

Extend your evening by finding where people are hanging out at the hotel. You can learn a lot in these evening conversations.

Saturday.

It’s the good kind of tired, believe me. The Saturday sessions are usually excellent. I especially recommend Jim Calloway’s plenary session on the future of law practice. TECHSHOW closes with the traditional 60 Sites in 60 Minutes session.

Follow-up.

Whether you use LinkedIn, email or phone, make sure you stay in contact with the new friends you made. Most importantly, if you are not already a member of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section, give very serious thought to joining the Section.

As I like to say, technology is more about people than it is about technology. Nothing proves my point more than TECHSHOW. I’m so disappointed I won’t be able to attend, but I hope this guide helps you get the greatest benefit from your experience.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

The new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” is now available. Also, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Data Dieting

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “Data Diet: Feed Your Head with a Better Info Balance.”

This column grew out of some podcasts I listened to of interviews with Clay Johnson about his new book, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption.

Some of Johnson’s main themes won’t be a big surprise to you – decreasing the quantity of information you consume – but he also makes some great points about improving the quality of your information intake as well. As I say, “We might want to reduce our intake, but we also want to improve the ‘nutrition’ of what we do consume.”

This ABA Journal column gives an overview of Johnson’s ideas and gives a few suggestions for improving your data diet.

We’ve recently gone to a lower word count on the column, so I don’t go into a lot of detail. (Lower word counts are a mixed blessing for me – a little easier to write, but not everything will fit.) My idea is give you you some good starting points and practical ideas.

I’m also hoping the comments section will let other people contribute their ideas. I see that the initial comments mention the idea of listening to podcasts at double speed, one of my favorite suggestions.

The money quote:

Social media analyst Clay Shirky has famously said we suffer from filter failure rather than information overload. Concentrating on improving your information diet might be the best move you can make this year.

Check out the article here.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Dealing With Disasters with Technology at Hand

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “Got Disaster? Your On-Hand Technology Can See You Through.”

This column grew out of a podcast Tom Mighell and I did called Technology in a Time of Emergency, which was, in a way, our response to the tenth anniversary of 9-11 and which also grew out of some long power outages I went through over the years and the history of how blogging and social media have played roles in major natural and other disasters. I recommend the podcast episode highly – it’s one of our favorites and it has a lot of useful information and insights.

This ABA Journal column is a short version of some of the ideas in the podcast, distilled down to a few main take-aways.

The money quote:

I don’t want to downplay the importance of data backup and disaster recovery. However, in a real disaster, our concerns are more personal, more visceral and more immediate than just our data.

The article focuses on four key areas – electricity conservation, SMS, smartphones and apps, and Twitter and social media – and gives a few ideas on ways they can help you when you face the unexpected. Although I hope you never have to use any of these ideas, it’s best to be prepared.

Check out the article here.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

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Setting Your Legal Tech Priorities for 2012: BYO Upgrades Exercise

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “BYO Upgrades: How to Set Your Priorities.”

My editor, Reg Davis, gets the credit for this topic. The premise was to imagine you have a good technology budget (we said $3,000) and assume that everything was possible in terms of technology and policy.

The idea is that this simple exercise would tell you a lot about what you want, what is important to you, and where your priorities are. Once you complete the exercise, you can do a little analysis. For example, if you wanted to spend $600 of your $3,000 on training, you might question the actual percentage of your tech budget you are spending on training.

I make some suggestions in the article, based on my perspective, but the key to this exercise is that you determine your own answers.

As I conclude, “Most of us will find a gap between what we are spending money on and what we think we want to spend on. Closing that gap is a great technology goal for 2012.”

I enjoyed writing this column and hope that you enjoy it and find it helpful. Check out the article here.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com. Twitter: @collabtools

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