Dennis Kennedy

Technology Law and Legal Technology. Dennis Kennedy is one of the few technology lawyers who is also an expert on the underlying technologies. Dennis an award-winning leader in the application of technology and the Internet to the practice of law. gives you access to a wide variety of Dennis Kennedy's resources on legal technology, his writings, his well-known blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, and information about how you can have Dennis speak to your organization or group.

Dennis Kennedy is one of the most knowledgeable legal technologists you will find. - Michael Arkfeld.

Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and legal technology expert in St. Louis, Mo., has been a significant influence in the ever-evolving relationship between lawyers and the Web. - Robert Ambrogi

Posts Tagged ‘search’

Would You Explain #gas and #bikeride?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

[Note: I’m running a Q&A series all the rest of December on DennisKennedy.Blog (details here).]

Would You Explain #gas and #bikeride?

The answer is: Yes, I’d be happy to explain my use of #gas and #bikeride on Twitter and Facebook. They are good examples of what are known as hashtags.

If you follow me on Twitter (@denniskennedy) or are a Friend of mine on Facebook (you know who you are), you will occasionally see updates from me that look like:

#gas – Webster Groves, MO Circle K – $2.95, regular


#bikeride – today, 15 miles

I’ve been doing this for several years, as I’ll explain, as a Twitter experiment. They all start out as tweets on Twitter. After I linked my Facebook account to Twitter, they are automatically posted to Facebook as updates as soon as I tweet them on Twitter.

So, what do they mean?

First, we need to talk about “hashtags.” Hashtags are a Twitter phenomenon, although they are used in other places as well. See the Wikipedia explanation of hashtags.

Hashtags serve several purposes. I’ll illustrate this using Twitter as my example.

The most interesting purpose, at least to me, is they represent a form of self-organization to facilitate the search of tweets and an informal form of tagging. People found that if they put a # symbol (pound sign or hash) at the front of a word (or set of words), it became much easier to use Twitter Search to find tweets that were intended to be related to a topic. The hashtag term provided a focused subset of tweets intended to address a specific topic. Many hashtags grow organically and arise out of events (#hurricane, #earthquake, #tsunami, et al.). In a short time, people will include the hashtag in tweets as they post news, resources and other information about the event or topic. The hashtag term produces more “on topic” tweets and reduces “noise” that you get with searches on the term itself.

To see how this works, do a quick Twitter search on “bears” and then on “#bears.”

This usage of hashtags is fascinating in the case of breaking events, and can help you evaluate “news” you get critically. These types of hashtags can relate to almost anything (sports teams, TV shows, bands) and they tend to develop a quasi-officialness. If you want to see comments and participate in the conversation while watching a TV show, you’ll want to search on #topchef rather than top chef.

A second purpose of hashtags is the “official” or promoted form of hashtag. It’s an extension of the idea of the first use I described. A great example is a conference where the conference organizers will encourage people to use the official hashtag (e.g., #abatechshow) rather than other variations. You might have even noticed ads that include a reference to an official hashtag. These hashtags work in the same way to help people use the search function to find relevant tweets.

A third purpose of hashtags is a kind of “meta” usage. In these cases, the hashtag is used as a comment, often ironic, about the contents of the tweet. For me, this harkens back to the early days of HTML when people would use non-functioning HTML tags to make comments (e.g., comment). Hashtags can be used in a similar way – #joking or #sarcasm. There are some classic hashtags that express frustration or other emotions – #FAIL. Some hashtags can get very meta and comment on the tweet – “thingsnobodywouldsay.” In other words, they attempt to add depth and nuance to a 140 character form of expression. It’s interesting stuff.

Which brings me to #gas and #bikeride.

The original source of #gas for me was Marty “The Trademark Blog” Schwimmer. We had been talking about the “Internet of Things” and how people might act as sensors or nodes for certain types of data that could be collected and aggregated via Twitter. Marty suggested that people around the country (or world) could tweet the price of gas, use the #gas hashtag when they did so, and then we all could use the Twitter search function to see what prices were elsewhere, see patterns, track changing prices, et al.

I loved this idea and told Marty he was brilliant. Interestingly, Marty convinced me to do this, but didn’t convince himself. For quite a few years, I’ve tweeted gas prices when I’ve filled up my car. When I connected Twitter and Facebook, these #gas tweets populated my Facebook updates, generally confusing my friends. I should have, and probably will, decouple my Twitter account from Facebook, but haven’t done so yet.

However, I’ve found that the #gas posts have an interesting effect. I went to ABA TECHSHOW a couple of years ago, In the first hour I was there, four or five people told me the gas prices in their area and comment on relative prices by geographic region. I’ve also had people locally tell me that they’ve saved money by remembering the price I’d posted and avoiding higher prices elsewhere.

#bikeride is a simple idea. I wanted to keep a record of the mileage I’d ridden for myself and share it with a few friends. I decided to experiment with the hashtag on Twitter as a way to do that and noticed that other cyclists used the same hashtag.

I post my mileage after I ride and sometimes make a note about weather or route. Again, it starts in Twitter and automatically goes to Facebook. #bikeride is actually something that has outlived its usefulness for me as a tracking tool because I use an iPhone app I really like called Endomondo to record and store my rides.

I keep doing the #bikeride tweets, however, because they also have had an interesting effect. I’ve found other friends who ride bikes. I’ve had people tell me that I’ve inspired them to start riding. I’ve had people ask me advice about buying bikes.

Anyway, that’s the long answer. Both are hashtag experiments. Both have had intriguing results. I’m curious whether others have had memorable results from using hashtags.

If you have a question for me to answer in this series, you may submit it for me through the usual channels – email at denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com, a comment left on the original post about the Q&A series, this post or a subsequent post, or through Twitter (@dkennedyblog), or whatever other way you want to reach me.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Twitter Talk – My Latest ABA Journal Column

Monday, October 8th, 2012

My latest ABA Journal tech column is called “Twitter Talk: Its Search and Trends Can Keep You Up to Speed.” The column provides some practical pointers on ways lawyers can benefit from using Twitter without the need to learn how to “tweet.”

In my experience speaking to lawyers, Twitter is the social media platform lawyers have the most difficulty seeing where the value might be. In this column, I focused on the non-tweeting side of twitter – search and trends.

I cover the basic details and highlight ways lawyers have used and might use Twitter search and trends. I’ve long used these tools and have always found them valuable. I always encourage lawyers to experiment with search and trends before they write off Twitter as something that makes no sense for them. You should do that too – you might be surprised at how much you can learn by using Twitter without actually tweeting.

Money quote:

Even if tweeting does not make sense for you, Twitter Search and trends as monitoring tools might.

Read the entire column at Twitter Talk: Its Search and Trends Can Keep You Up to Speed.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available. Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Recent Episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I wanted to post an update on recent episodes of the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on the Legal talk Network.

There have been some very good episodes lately, on some great topics, and I wanted to highlight them. It’s also a good time to remind you that you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and receive new episodes automatically.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to listen to these podcasts. Tom and I try to cover a lot of ground that is not specific to lawyers. Episode #73 is just one good example.

I also wanted to note that the show notes site for the podcast at is back to life and will give you descriptions, resources mentioned in the episodes and more.


#75. Search Plus Your Legal World

Google’s new “Search Plus Your World” represents a new direction in Internet search where social elements become part of our search results. Bringing our social media world into search results indicates both the growing importance of social media and the need to find new ways to get relevant results. Can we make use of what our friends and connections find on the web to get us better search results? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell take a look at Search Plus Your World, whether bringing social into search might help us, and whether this approach might work for you. Podcast here

#74. Ultrabook Benefits for Attorneys

The big story at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show was “ultrabooks.” This new category of computer stole the thunder, at least for a few days, from tablet computers. Should lawyers be considering ultrabooks in 2012? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell take a look at the new world of ultrabooks, whether tablet computers like the iPad are taking over the computer market, and what it all means for traditional notebook computers and desktop PCs. Podcast here

#73. Making Collaboration Tools Work in 2012

People are collaborating more than ever before. There are more collaboration tools and technologies than ever before. Yet, the actual adoption of collaboration tools seems to lag behind the wish to use collaboration tools. In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the gap between tools and people in collaboration, the common challenges faced when implementing collaboration tools, especially ones used by lawyers, and their best recommendations for improving the adoption of collaboration tools and technologies in 2012. Podcast here

#72. Pardon the Legal Technology Interruption 2011

What kind of year was 2011 for legal tech? What were the big developments and trends that you need to know? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell pay tribute to ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” and adopt its format for a fast-paced and fun discussion of what transpired in legal technology in 2011. Podcast here

#71. Who Moved My Social Media Cheese?

Many social media users have been surprised recently by changes to the design and user interface of the web pages and apps they have been accustomed to using with these services. These changes have been happening for quite a while, but this round of revision seems to have created a backlash from longtime users. Are these kinds of changes fair or foul? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss recent interface modifications by Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others, the response to these changes and the rollout of the changes, and the implications for users as rely more and more on cloud services. Podcast here

#70. 2012 Technology Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for gift-giving. And the season for technology gift lists. The latest technology is always a great present – especially for lawyers. In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell roll out their own technology gift guide for lawyers, give some of their favorite buying tips, and give you plenty of suggestions for your own wish list! Podcast here

#69. Will Video Kill the Lawyer Star?

Forty-eight hours of video is added to YouTube every minute. Second graders make professional-quality movies using inexpensive cameras and standard software. It’s no surprise that lawyers are tentatively beginning to think about using video in connection with their practices. In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the growing use of video by lawyers, survey the tools for creating and distributing videos, and share some observations and tips about lawyers jumping into the world of video. Podcast here

If you haven’t listened to the podcast before or haven’t listened for a while, give one or more of these a listen and then subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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.


Recent Episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

LinkedIn. Backing up. The iPad 2. Beyond Keyword Search.

I thought I’d get you caught up on recent podcasts. Tom Mighell and I have recorded several episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast since I’ve last posted about podcasts on this blog. They are now available on the Legal Talk Network and on iTunes, with an RSS feed here.

We’ve moved past the 50 episode mark, added another great sponsor (Carbonite Pro), and, I think, done some of our best work. I invite to listen to the recent episodes, to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and send us your questions and ideas for future topics.

Here’s a list of the last four episodes (in reverse chronological order) with the program descriptions:

What Comes After Keyword Search?

Despite all the talk about “search” on the web, the simple fact is that we’d trade all the “search” in the world for a lot more “find.” The good news is that there are some developments that will help us get the information we want when we want it. In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss what comes after traditional keyword search, new tools and techniques like recommendation engines and apps, and whether we are getting closer to being able to truly get the information we want when we want it. (Episode 52)

This podcast grew out of our recent perception that regular Google searching is increasingly unsatisfying. We talk a look at current and future alternatives, with a big emphasis on social search. In the second segment, we talk about our upcoming presentations at IgniteLaw 2011 on April 10.

Climbing Aboard the iPad 2 Train

The first iPad was incredibly successful and the launch of the iPad 2 has created a fresh surge of interest in the tablet category. Is the iPad 2 the tablet device that lawyers have been waiting for? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss their experiences in line at the Apple Store on Opening Day attempting to get the freshest information for their audience, talk about their early experiences with the iPad 2, and speculate about the “post-PC era,” the iPad 2 and its potential impact on lawyers and their clients. (Episode 51)

In this podcast, Tom and I decided it would be fun to try to get a new iPad 2 on launch night and report about our experiences. Tom was successful. I wasn’t. In fact, I had to give up on trying to get one at the Apple Store and am still waiting for mine to be shipped to me. Fortunately, Tom, who has written a new iPad for lawyers book, is able to share his real-world experiences, while I rely on what I’ve read and heard. In the second segment, we talk about the new social media phenomenon of group messaging, especially at conferences, and whether we think any of these services will catch on at ABA TECHSHOW in April.

You ARE Backing Up, Right?

Everyone (well, we hope everyone) knows data backup is important. That’s why we always vow to be more diligent after we lose more data at an inopportune time. Data backup has become more complicated over the past few years as our data moves out from our computers to the cloud. We know what to do, so why don’t we? (Episode 50

Tom had an issue with his blog where it looked liked he might have lost about a year’s worth of posts. Fortunately, they were restored, but it reminded us how important backup still is. We discuss new approaches that make backing up your data empire easier and cheaper than ever – if you’ll actually pay attention and make the backups. In the second segment, we talk about recent changes Google made to its search algorithm.

The Land of LinkedIn

Lawyers can’t go a single day without hearing how they need to be using social media. Social media, however, is a big topic and there are lots of social media tools. The tool lawyers most commonly use is LinkedIn, but are they really using it to good advantage? (Episode 49)

As I recall, the title was a hat tip to Lincoln’s birthday. Lately, I’ve been thinking that brad-based presentations to lawyers about “social media” are becoming less useful. Better, I think, to focus on one of the social media tools and cover it in depth. We delve into how we use LinkedIn and how you might use it better. In the second segment, we get a report from Tom about his trip to the 2011 LegalTech NY conference.

I invite you to listen to the episodes that interest you. I also recommend that you subscribe to the podcast through iTunes to get new episodes as they are released (and not wait until I post about recent episodes on this blog).

Let us know what you think about episodes. And try some of the other back episodes as well. Although we’re working on some technical issues (please be patient), the show notes for the podcast can be found at

We always welcome your questions and will try to answer them on episodes.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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

Now Available! 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 Twitter: @collabtools