Archive for October, 2009

Selective blocking of social networking sites?

October 24, 2009

Steven Matthews blogs about law firms as employers’ dilemma blocking social networking websites.  He lists out several IT solutions that might allow a firm to selectively block sites based on time restrictions, identifying specific abusers and the like.   But the most important point he makes at the end.

“One last point: A significant number of web tools start with a ‘fun’ or social purpose, before evolving for business use. And few remain in the form for which they were originally envisioned. Law firms would do well to leave themselves an open door to re-evaluate blocking decisions. The site you blocked two years ago may be an unforeseen opportunity in the future.”

Facebook wins defamation suit

October 24, 2009

Back in March Denise Finkel’s defamation suit against Facebook and high school friends received considerable publicity.  She claimed in her suit that the social networking giant and her friends had harassed her by creating a Facebook group spreading nasty rumors about her.  Of course by filing the suit against Facebook, her friends’ mean taunts were given even more publicity but I guess the prospect of receiving $3 million papered over that pain.

Anyway, the judge hearing the case dismissed Facebook from the lawsuit based on the fact that the website was shielded from liability by the Communications Decency Act.

Good article on LinkedIn for Lawyers

October 23, 2009

Particularly in its discussion about handling ethical issues raised by becoming visible to consumers.


Concep campaigner gains traction

October 23, 2009

Here is a link to Larry Bodine’s Law Marketing Blog which touts the success of Concep for various Legal Marketing Association chapters.  I’ve used Concep and find that it produces very slick looking emails that get opened and read.


Bi-polar response about workers use of Facebook etc.

October 18, 2009

Symantec Corp has announced that it wants its employees to be advocates for the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking websites.  This runs diametrically opposite to the approximately fifty percent of employers who want allow their employees access to Facebook etc. at work.

Can this be reconciled?  Perhaps.  Companies with significant product offerings, particularly those likely to appeal to the Internet savvy, would do well to follow Symantec’s lead and extend the company’s reach to new mediums and customers.  Construction companies and healthcare providers might example of companies with little to lose, at the moment, for not utilizing its employees to market their companies through social networking.

UK companies reason for blocking Facebook

October 16, 2009

According to a recent survey, 42% of UK companies are blocking employee access to social networking sites.  One of the reasons is new to me but I would imagine also applies to companies in the U.S.   18% of UK companies have been asked to produce electronic information as discovery in legal proceedings.

My first thought is that blocking access is an extreme response.  It would be like preventing employees from emailing each other because emails might end up in legal proceedings.   Just as companies should have policies regarding email communications, they should have appropriate policies that apply to employees’ use of social networking websites.


MySpace posting allowed by Indiania high court

October 16, 2009

In a brutal murder case where the defendant was claiming temporary insanity before the trial, a posting to his MySpace profile, undercut these claims.  The Supreme Court found that his MySpace posting was admissible to his state of mind at the time of the trial.


Coke vs. Pepsi on Twitter

October 15, 2009

Does Twitter work for big companies?  If so, what works?  I notice that Pepsi uses a different strategy than Coke in that they personalize their profile by naming people, “now serving Ana and Rachel,” as in charge of their Twitter profile.  They also link to a specific website called, “PepsiVerse” ( which is an interactive site allowing people to add videos and photos. 

Coke on the other hand doesn’t name people on its profile as responsible for tweets and links to its official corporate website.  For a product that want to appeal to new consumers i.e. “America’s Youth,” I think the Pepsi approach makes more sense.  I also notice that Pepsi has more than 15,000 followers versus less than 10,000 for Coke but I’m not sure that’s the metric to measure the success of their campaign by.

What does this tell me?  I’m skeptical of corporate use of Twitter.  I think Twitter is meant for people to follow people.  That’s why it allows users to find “People” not companies.  And I think that companies using Twitter and social networking generally need to take the Pepsi approach rather than Coke but frankly, I think Pepsi should take it farther.  Why not design a campaign around a contest to name the #1 Pepsi drinker for the week or month?  I would infuse a heavy dose of personality into a corporate social networking campaign.  Take risks too.  If something doesn’t work, social networking is a forgiving medium that changes quickly.  Keep experimenting even when something does work. Keep it fresh.

Freebie: my article on social networking policies

October 15, 2009

Thanks to Diane Camacho and Sally Hatchett for publishing my article, “First Steps Towards a Social Networking Policy” in the October 2009 ALA Golden Gate Chapter Newsletter.

You can download the pdf HERE.

Survey: alternative fees for attorneys increasing

October 14, 2009

LegalBizDev surveyed 37 of the Amlaw 100 firms and found that all thought alternative fees was a big growth area.   How much?  The low end for projections was 20% up to 900% with an average of 198% increase in the use of alternative fee arrangements over the next five years.

Executive sumary: