After this weekend’s interest in my post about Martindale-Hubbell listings and the comment made by M-H interests I thought M-H Connected warranted a bit of attention on my part. I had this on my radar earlier in the year while it was still a closed network in beta form but it dropped off the screen before it was opened up to the wider community.
Even during my preparation for the Kentucky Law Update 2009 CLE session I have been presenting throughout the state of Kentucky, Connected wasn’t grabbing enough attention. In the two presentations done thus far out of about 100-125 attendees per session only one person has responded affirmatively when asked if they are a member of M-H Connected. Thus I don’t feel guilty about not having written about this specialized networking tool.
All of these are positive things when using a tool in the world of law practice. Since I am not an attorney and I don’t fit most of the ready-made registration categories, I am glad that M-H is manually verifying my right to participate in this closed community.
The closed community aspect of M-H Connected leaves me scratching my head. Social media is about networking. There are many tools that have already built strong participants without closing the community.
Martindale-Hubbell Connected very succinctly defines their purpose:
Expand participants professional network.
Get “just-in-time” trusted answers.
Demonstrate thought leadership.
For those who have been using social networking tools prior to 2009, this is a bit of a reinvention of the wheel. Sure, Connected is for legal professionals, but Linked-In offers those same 3 solutions and allows for broader networking. If legal professionals can only benefit from the advise of other legal professionals, that’s a problem. I don’t believe any legal professional limits their networking to those of the same likeness, otherwise they have no growth opportunities either for business partnerships, potential clients, business solutions or intellectual engagement.
Now, that being said I don’t think M-H Connected is a bad idea. In the world of information overload sometimes, it is an advantage to seek information in a focused, selected source. Legal professionals will certainly benefit from that selectiveness offered by M-H Connected. However, if that’s the only social media tool they are using, they will find themselves as a distinct disadvantage when applying business strategy to the Web 2.0 world of interconnectedness.
Constance Ard September 21, 2009