Archive for September, 2010

Teen Suicide – Impulsive Tweeting Can Kill

September 30, 2010

I don’t think it was the webcam that caused the spied-upon teen to commit suicide it was the tweet about the cam allowing people to view him in private that caused the humiliation that drove him to jump off a bridge.  And now the teen who sent the tweet is in terrible trouble all because of poor impulse control.

Key to Social Networking Dangers

It use to be the news media acted as an experienced gate-keepers that made the calculation about what should be published.  Now everyone has the power to publish and that power is intoxicating.  For young people or people under tremendous stress, this power is very hard to resist even when it proves criminal, the subject of civil litigation or just the public humiliation for spouting off stupidly.

Employer Beware

Employers who need to terminate employees and want to craft severance agreements that cut their losses need to keep in mind the potential power and unhappily terminated employee has.  This article suggests including prohibitions on using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to broadcast any of the terms of a severance agreement.  A stressed out employee might reconsider lashing out at an ex-employer if he or she sees “no tweeting” listed expressly in his exit agreement.

Social Networking Plays a Role in Sentencing

September 29, 2010

I had read about the use of social networking during discovery, particularly defense attorneys looking for Facebook and other social networking postings that contradict the plaintiff’s claims but I didn’t know that social networking was also playing a role in the sentencing of defendants as well.

This article explains that it can both help and hinder the defendant’s cause and they cite a recent case where a defendant’s claims of contrition were undercut by postings on her MySpace page to the contrary.  However, the article goes on to show that a defendant’s message to his Facebook friends asking them to submit character references on his behalf to the judge.   Did it work?  The man did receive a prison sentence two years shy of the federal guidelines.

Save Your Marriage Thru Facebook Rules

September 28, 2010

Recently, the Internet has been awash with statistics about how marriages are breaking up over extra-marital Facebook activity.  Or at least start to break up due to Facebook activity.  So it has come to this – tips on how to use Facebook to SAVE your marriage.

My favorite: “List yourself as “married” in your status (its kind of like a cyber wedding ring)”

Here are the rest.

The Next Facebook – Is Your Company Ready?

September 27, 2010

This article suggests the problem with creating static policies to govern employee use of social networking.   It is likely to become outdated before you know it.  For example, Facebook added a feature called “Places” that lets people know where you are.  What if a client finds out your sales reps are visiting their competitors?  Could be embarrassing and its unlikely that a freshly minted social networking policy approved in July 2010 will have anything that addresses this issue.

Creating social networking guidelines

What about creating an online social networking policy that lets people suggest updates to a committee that screens and vets new developments for a company’s guidelines?  This would assist a company to both get buy-in for managing social networking use and to keep on top of the rapid pace of change in this area.

Latham’s Smart iPhone App

September 26, 2010

A month ago I criticized Morrison & Foerster’s phone app because rather focus on what its clients and prospective clients would want, the law firm focused on delivering a version of its website.  I said then that the critical question for MoFo to answer was,

what pre-existing MoFo electronic content would most benefit MoFos’ clients and prospects?”

It appears that Latham & Watkin’s heard me as they have launched an iPhone app that takes a pre-existing publication “The Book of Jargon” and adapted for the iPhone.  This publication has already proven popular with its audience and now can be accessed at the tap of a fingerprint.  Good going Latham!

Avvo lawsuit – are both sides wrong?

September 25, 2010

A Florida attorney with a history of bar sanctions is suing Avvo for misrepresenting him in their profile of him.  They gave him a 3.7 out of 10.  But as this post from Above the Law says, maybe he has a point as Avvo uses unverified Internet data to fill out the profiles.

1st Bar Opinion on Attorneys & Social Media?

September 24, 2010

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics has determined that an attorney representing a party in pending litigation is allowed to view any publicly available social networking profile of another party for purposes of gaining information about that party in the course of the litigation.

Can’t Friend or Direct Third Party to Friend

The attorney can’t engage in deceptive behavior to friend or connect to a party.  This give greater impetus to look down private information about yourself on social networking sites.

Greater Responsibility on Social Networking Privacy Standards?

If plaintiffs’ lose cases because a social networking site has been negligent about the type of information made publicly available about a person (particularly these new locator services) could the plaintiff go after the social networking sites for damages?

Friday Freebies – Free Digital Diary

September 24, 2010

“Digital Diary is a tool to write your diaries every day without needing to write your stuff in text files. Also it comes with great features which help you to organize your time, minimize your effort, remember your best memories audibly and visually, read latest news , send e-mails, create galleries, set reminders and much more!”

Link here

Should Lawyers Tweet?

September 23, 2010

More than a year ago, I wrote a similar post, arguing in favor of Twitter as a way of creating a targeted community of followers despite the fact that many people had signed up for Twitter but rarely used it.  Now comes new ammunition in the form of this article that surveyed actual attorneys in the in-house legal community who favor Twitter.

Value of Twitter?

According to a responses from in-house attorneys who tweet, there were several strong reasons for engaging in Twitter – ability to follow legal developments in real time, learning about what other in-house counsel were thinking and getting a chance to see the personal side to lawyers.

Meanwhile 76 of the Amlaw 100 have Twitter accounts but nearly half haven’t tweeted once.  Also I wonder how many of those accounts are simply a generic law firm Twitter account and not a real person.  I think solos or individual attorneys have a huge advantage on Twitter over the monster law firms.   Twitter like social networking general is about individuals conversing not PR firms churning out press releases.

Another School District’s Social Media Approach

September 22, 2010

Yesterday I blogged about about the Franklin School District in New Hampshire’s extremely restrictive social networking policy that prohibits any posting to social media sites.

Here is an article about a school district with a different approach.   They forbid “negative” posting by teachers about students, school district or employees.  Further it would require teachers to get written consent from student parents before engaging with them through social networking.  Even still, there is a question that the school district maybe violating teachers’ First Amendment rights with this policy.


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