What are “social networking” tools, and why should lawyers care about them? Wikipedia, itself built on social networking software, notes that social networking refers to a category of Internet applications to help connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools. These applications, known as online social networks are becoming increasingly popular. This phenomenon is also known as Web 2.0. Jack Maness, a librarian at University of Colorado at Boulder, defines it as, “not a web of textual publication, but a web of multi-sensory communication … a matrix of dialogues, not a collection of monologues. It is a user-centered Web in ways it has not been thus far.” In Web 2.0 the end user – you – is (or at least has the option to be) an integral part of the data. Some of the social networking tools you may or may not be familiar with are: Blogs, Wikis, RSS Feeds, Tagging/Bookmark sites, Podcasts and Vodcasts. I will discuss these tools, how to find them, how to use them, and their possible relevance for lawyers and for legal research
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