Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Google Buzz Settlement Finally Final Final

June 2, 2011

This has been dragging out far longer than the time Buzz got itself in trouble long enough to be the target of class action privacy violation lawsuits.  At long last various privacy advocacy groups will receive funds along with more than $2 million for the plaintiff attorneys.

Why Social Media User Agreements Matter

May 21, 2011

This article published in the Montreal Gazette discusses users’ enforceable rights on Twitter, Facebook etc.  While these sites require users to broadly agree to their terms of use, they claim to allow users to “own” their own content.  However, in this case the Agence France-Presse published a photographer’s Haitian Earthquake photos without permission from the photographer.  The media company claims the photographer had uploaded them to Twitter so he had consented to having his photos free to re-publish to anyone.

But is that a reasonable expectation for a Twitter user to have about their content?  Are people simply signing away valuable rights without understanding what they are doing?

Scaring Lawyers Over Social Networking

May 9, 2011

This post on lawyer’s use of social media does a good job of explaining how social media works in terms of content and distribution.  The author works in Canada which may explain why there is no discussion of the advertising or legal ethics.  However one of the comments proceeds to address the issue of attorney ethics and social media but does so in a way to “scare” attorneys.  Here is a taste of the comment:

The rules that govern lawyers are still too murky and not for the faint of heart.

Actually, the rules that govern lawyers in social media are the same as govern attorneys in traditional media.  Its not the rules that are murky its the application of social media to the rules.  One of the points the commenter makes is that “friend” another attorney can result in “censure.”  The commenter links to this article which discusses Florida’s rule that prohibits a judge from friending an attorney.  A few other states also have rules regarding a judge friending an attorney.  To take the situation where a judge can’t “friend” an attorney and state that the rule is about any attorney “friending” another attorney is a classic case of scare tactics – distorting and amplifying a fact until it becomes untrue.

While its true that its unclear how attorney ethics rules apply to social media in many circumstances, that doesn’t mean that the scariest scenario will apply.  Ethics rules are safeguards for clients and consumers not draconian restrictions on how attorneys can engage in the world.  The more attorneys adopt social media, the easier it will be to determine how ethics rule should apply.

Maryland Social Media Bill – Dead?

April 28, 2011

Last month I blogged about Maryland SB 971 which restricted employers rights to demand employees provide them with username and passwords information about social networking websites.  It turns out that the legislative session ended with no action on the bill.  It isn’t known whether the bill will be re-introduced next year.  This article is a good update on what the implications of this legislation could mean to employers.

Social Media Changes Taco Bell’s Message

April 25, 2011

Taco Bell announces a new campaign that directly takes on the withdrawn lawsuit claiming that it wasn’t serving beef in its tacos.  The campaign is entitled: “Would it kill you to say your sorry?” And it’s aimed at the law firm that filed the class action suit now dropped. Taco Bell is spreading the campaign through traditional advertising and also social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube.

Is Social Media the Impetus behind such a Campaign?

Its one thing for Taco Bell to publicly defend itself against untrue allegations that go to the heart of their product.  This campaign is different because they do more than defend, they go on the attack against the law firm that filed the suit.  With passive, traditional advertising – TV commercials and print campaigns, such an approach could sound peevish and vindictive.  A powerful company using its brand might to go after a small fish – an Alabama personal injury law firm.  But social media which allows consumer to interact on the same playing field as corporations makes such a personal campaign more acceptable.  People can write on the Taco Bell Facebook wall just as they would on their friend from college.

Prediction: we will see corporations act more like people in selling their goods and services, willing to fight back and to take more risks in how and where they disseminate their messages.  Lawyers and law firms, take note!

Social Media Give Small Businesses Big Boost

April 18, 2011

This survey shows that no one group has benefited more from social media than the entrepreneur.  This makes sense because social media is a low cost and high visibility tool unlike expensive advertising efforts that formerly was the key method for businesses to build their credibility.

Here are some top findings:

  • 90% of small businesses found social media helpful for their business
  • 88% believed it had increased their exposure
  • 72% found that it increased traffic to their website and increased their subscriptions
  • Linkedin was  more popular among the self employed than with marketers and the self employed were planning to increase their use

Twitter Settles Privacy Suit with FTC

March 21, 2011

The FTC has accepted the final settlement agreement with Twitter over its privacy lapses.  It appears the issue was that Twitter promised a higher level of privacy in terms of consumer’s personal data than they could deliver.

Here is the settlement agreement.

Socialize Your Website with WordPress

August 30, 2010

In the Facebook rather than Stalinist sense.  Increasingly websites need to be built like airports to accomodate the ever present “change” that is the web.

Social networking coming to websites everywhere

For example, increasingly people are creating websites as interactive tools to exchange ideas with clients, prospects and the like.  You may want a forum on your site so that visitors can exchange ideas and even chat.  Perhaps you even have a Wiki section of your website where you allow visitors to create resources for you because they are so motivated by your ideas that they decide to build on them.

WordPress to the rescue

If you sign up for a website using a platform that is difficult to extend or modify without development cost, then this future is barred to you unless to plunk down some serious cash.  However, if you are on a WordPress platform, there are plenty of plug-ins that can make this future possible for your website.  Here are some examples.

The 15 Minute Blog Post

July 29, 2010

Social Media Examiner does it again with a great post about how to create short and powerful blog posts.

The best tip is how to break down a topic into its component parts and create individual blog posts on each of these aspects.  For example, if you are going to write about the five steps to getting your business on Twitter, they show you how to stretch those steps over the course of five posts.

Another great tip is creating a bank of eye catching headlines so that you can focus on the writing and focus your writing on the kind of thing blogs do best.  I have heard attorneys say that no one will read my blog.  And that is probably true if you have a four line headline followed by two thousands words arranged into three paragraph.  This might be great content to re-purpose for an article but as a blog post, it won’t get read.

Having your cake and eat too

One approach is to write the catchy headline and a couple lines of teaser text and have a “click more” link.  That way people have a chance to engage with your blog and can engage further on topics that matter to them.  But make sure your headline and initial text is attention grabbing or just post the entire article because you will create more work for the user who just wants your meaty content.

Small law firm hires social media guru

July 2, 2010

A small plaintiff’s firm, Tully Rinckey announced its hiring of a social media coordinator who the managing partner says, “wasn’t hired to play on Facebook.”  Glad that’s clear!  Why did they hire the coordinator? “His job isn’t only intended to promote in-house developments and attract new clients, but also educate the public.”

Missed opportunity

This is an example of a law firm engaging in technology driven marketing.  Because social media is “cool” and newsworthy, the firm decides to publicly announce the hire of support staff.  This wouldn’t happen if they hired a new secretary or public relations coordinator but its different with a “social media” coordinator.

Why are other lawyers the audience for this press release?

It appears this announcement is meant for the legal community as I found it on JD Supra, a legal industry publications website.  The announcement isn’t on the home page or the firm’s Twitter feed so this announcement isn’t for its clients and prospective clients.

Why not focus on the public?

Its hard for me to understand publicizing this to the legal community.  Is it an ego thing?  “Let’s show other attorneys how hip and cool we are!”  Tully Rinckey could have made the announcement in a completely different way.  For example:

“Because Tully Rinckey understands that more and more, people are getting their information through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we have  hired a social media specialist whose primary responsibility will be providing the public with valuable information about protecting and promoting their legal rights.”


If a law firm is going to the trouble of developing a press release about a new hire, make sure that the message is relevant to its core market.