Archive for September, 2010

Social Media – the Fear & Ignorance Factors

September 21, 2010

Here is an interesting article about new social networking policies adopted by the Franklin School Board in New Hampshire.  The school board approved a policy that states that board members and employees also “shall not post any school district data, documents, photographs or other district owned or created information on any website.”

Too broad:

What about photos of “Back to School” night or a band concert? Couldn’t they craft a more nuanced policy providing for exceptions to photos and data relative to public events?  The school board is likely to find this policy unenforceable.

What about privacy settings?

To so broadly restrict individuals from posting about their work seems a likely First Amendment violation particularly since the harm – the publication of sensitive photos, information and opinions – can be avoided by restricting public access.  That why these websites have privacy setting which the school board appears not to know.

Take – Away

There is an inherent fear involved with social networking that because anyone can post anything that it opens up Pandora’s box to all kinds of dangers.  The first step in crafting any policy involving technology is to understand what the technology can and cannot do – otherwise people end up like the Franklin School District – shooting themselves in the foot.

Facebook – Movie & Lawsuit magnet

September 20, 2010

If the “The Social Network,”  is successful, will we be inundated by sequels?  But Facebook also appears to be a lawsuit magnet.  Here is one from last month claiming that the identity and image of minors shouldn’t be revealed in the Facebook, “Like” campaign.  I have to agree with Facebook’s comment on the lawsuit:

“We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously”

Narrow practice focus to an industry

September 19, 2010

I have blogged about this in the past (see here) so I won’t beat a dead horse.  However, this guest post from “Build a Solo Practice” points to a law firm, Love & Norris which specializes in sexual abuse cases in the church and school setting.  The author makes a good point that focusing narrowly gives visitor a clear and compelling sense of the services offered by the firm.  However, this doesn’t exclude other work and that is mentioned on the website.

I would take the analysis further and suggest that the law firm could more prominently feature the work it does for schools and churches as part of their focus.  Have a link from the home page on “Preventing Abuse – Guides for Schools & Churches.”  If that is a compelling market, make sure that they know you understand their needs and concerns.

Brand Hijack on Facebook – What to do?

September 18, 2010

Interesting article on how Facebook’s decision to allow people to create vanity URLs, led to fears that established branded URLs would get pirated.

Important Tip:

Facebook has an automated IP infringement form that allows brand owners to immediately disable access to infringing content.

Here is the form.

Social networking and client confidentiality

September 17, 2010

Here is an interesting discussion regarding skittish lawyers and social networking.  The blogger makes the argument that client confidentiality is no more an issue in a social networking context than it would be in a public setting.  However, there is a difference.

LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites allow people to claim each other as friends for all the world to see.

What if you feature your DUI practice on LinkedIn?

You meet someone at a social event and they ask you to draw up an LLC for them.  Afterwards, they decide to ask to connect with you on LinkedIn. Perhaps they didn’t even look at your profile but just saw your name and wanted to connect with you.  Later someone mentions to your client that they saw he was your connection.  The client says that the you had helped them with a legal matter.  This friends asks your client if they knew you did DUI work?

Awkward to say the least

Now your client looks at your LinkedIn profile and sees that you featuring your work as a DUI attorney.  They see their name listed as a connection and worry that people will think they have been arrested for a DUI.  Sure, they can de-connect with you but the incident leaves a bad taste in their mouth.  Is there a ethics violation here?  Probably not.  However, you as the attorney might have a professional duty to make sure that a client who wants to connect with you knows the implications of their actions before doing so.

Friday Freebies – free video download software!

September 17, 2010

“Aiseesoft Streaming Video Recorder enables you to download videos from YouTube, Google video, Yahoo video, PBS, ESPN, blogtv, Adobe TV, etc. and convert streaming videos to any other formats.”


One size does NOT fit all – social media policies

September 16, 2010

Here is a great resource for examining the variety of social networking policies and after a quick glance I have realize that all social networking policies are not created equal.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is your policy for all employees?
  • Can an umbrella policy cover activities of all your employees?
  • How would you classify the nature of your business, industry, product, service, employees?
  • What kind of social networking activity would you want to promote?
  • What kind of social networking would like to discourage?
  • Is your business a trend-setter?
  • Is it a conservative, traditional business?
  • Is the company brand tied to a specific individual or not? (Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, Larry Ellison)
  • Do you want your company brand to be more personalized?

One Thing

September 15, 2010

Lawyer websites like most business website are trying to provide many things – information about services, about the owners, news, events, links, contact forms.

Want Engagement

But from a marketing perspective, you are lucky if a visitor remembers one thing about visiting your website so decide what that thing is you want them to “get” when they click off your website.

If you have a highly influential blogs, make sure your current blog headlines are streaming to the home page.  If you hold events on bankruptcy, estate planning, or employee matters make sure there a “register here” button to drive home the point.  Maybe you want to immediately build trust with your clients through a video tip, then make its posted on your home page.

Blogging Your Way to SEO

September 14, 2010

John Jantsch in Duct Tape Marketing gives 7 ways to acquire links to your site and improve your SEO.  Here is what he has to say about the power of blogging,

“Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.”

Kevin O’Keefe picks up on this and reminds us that, “Though I don’t believe high search rankings should be the leading reason for publishing a law blog, your publishing a blog may be your single best way of achieving high search engine rankings as a lawyer or law firm.”

Not mutually exclusive

If you write a strong blog for your niche, then searches for topics will show up prominently in Google search results.

The social networking itch

September 13, 2010

This article about jurors tweeting and friending and blabbing online about their trials made me wonder why human beings act against common sense.

Jurors –  a perfect example

It is a cardinal rule in serving on a jury that jurors aren’t suppose to discuss the case outside of the deliberation of the jury room.   While its hardly surprising that jurors talked to their loved ones in violation of this rule, the damage is limited and the chance of getting caught, slight.  Now with the rise of social networking where communicating with family and friends on Facebook takes on the quality of chatting over the backyard fence, this same impulse occurs online.  The difference being that many more people have the ability to see the juror’s slip of tongue and that its easier to get caught because now there is a paper trail.

The intoxication of communication

I think we are discovering that the desire to connect with another person about a dramatic or intense event is simply too great to resist when its so easy to type a few words into a box and hit “send.”  Typically we are alone at our computer when we are connecting so we aren’t picking up social cues – witnessing or imagining the horror in someone’s face when damaging, dangerous or forbidden information is conveyed.

Shame-based software

Maybe like the password strength bar, we need a shame bar as we type, telling us the percentage likelihood that what we are typing will come back to bite us.