Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Blog Live during Legal Conferences: Create Real-time Excitement

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Many lawyers blog.  But what about live blogging while at a conference?

One of the most exciting conferences for interactive (technology) as well as film and music is going on right now in Austin:  SXSW Social Media Today’s Lee Oden, blogging live from SXSW, posted some great tips for effective live blogging while at SXSW.

Lawyers could apply these same tips while blogging and posting live during legal or industry conferences.

For example, Lee suggests checking out the conference schedule in advance, and planning to arrive at key sessions early (so that you’re seated near a plug.) I’d also suggest examining all concurrent sessions and selecting ones that would be particularly interesting your blog readership.

Lee suggests typing the posts in an application like Notepad and then transferring them to your blog. This works well in case you lose your internet connection during a session.

Promoting your posts immediately is also key, Lee notes, via Facebook, LinkedIn and the like. To take advantage of the “real time” nature of your blogging efforts; you want to get the word out fast.

Live blogging has an excitement and sense of “urgency” that blogging after the fact doesn’t (much like live journalistic coverage is more thrilling than recap reporting). Of course, blogging during conferences is also a great way to reach readers across the globe who couldn’t ravel to attend the conference in person; even if they read your posts the next day rather than in real time, the coverage will still be fresher than the summaries printed in post-conference newsletters months later.

Social Media Abroad–Reaching Clients Globally

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

By now, many lawyers are using (or considering using) social media sources like Facebook and Twitter.  In her helpful article “Social Media 101” for a recent issue of the Texas Bar Journal, lawyer coach Debra Bruce sets forth the pros and cons of various professionally-focused networking sites for specifically for lawyers like Legal OnRamp, Martindale-Hubbell ConnectedJD Supra, and LawLink.

But what about lawyers who wants to start networking internationally?

Facebook is a good, general place to begin international social networking expansion, especially with the 2008 launch of Facebook en español (with French and German versions expected next). In South America, Orkut, Sónico, and Fotolog are also very popular, with 54% of Orkut’s users being Portuguese speakers from Brazil. (Americas Quarterly reports that asking a Brazilian for his/her “Orkut name” is as common as requesting a telephone number or email.)

The Google-owned Orkut remains popular in India, although Facebook recently unseated it as the most popular social networking site. Friendster continues to be popular in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, although its influence in the region is slipping–coinciding with Facebook’s rollout of sites for Malaysia, the Phillipines and Vietnam. China boasts a number of popular social media sites. According to ReadWriteWeb, while China’s may have the most members, but claims to have more educated members.

Lawyers wanting to reach European clients should consider joining European social networking sites in addition to Facebook. According to Bas van den Beld, owner of, Facebook leads the way in 11 out of 17 European countries, but Skyrock (France), Tuenti (Spain), StudiVZ Group (Germany), Hyves (Netherlands), all have hold in their respective country. The social networking site  Xing (founded in Germany) markets to all European professionals.

Creating a social media presence abroad can be an effective and inexpensive way to start relationships globally. Why not extend your social media reach abroad into your prospective clients’ backyards?

How lawyers can become popular sources for reporters–domestic and foreign

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Want to become a popular source for the press?   Want to work well with the foreign press? Paramjit Mahli of the SCG Legal PR Network has some great tips for lawyers on both:

Becoming a popular press source:

Working well with the foreign press:

To the latter post I commented that  knowing how to communicate with reporters from foreign cultures can be invaluable. Americans tend to be very direct communicators, very individualistic, and comfortable with self promotion. As a result, many American lawyers are quoted with a string of sentences beginning with, “I think…”, “I know…” and “In my opinion…”. Although lawyers should make their opinions known, when communicating with a reporter from a less individualistic and more indirect culture, American lawyers should avoid starting every sentence with “I”.

Social Media Optimization: Eleven Free Tools

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

For lawyers who have jumped on the social media bandwagon, here are some free tools for maximizing your search engine optimization of your social media usage:

Social Media Safety for Lawyers Facing Crime Risk Internationally

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Would you tell a stranger that you were leaving for a ten day vacation to Acapulco?  Would you willingly give out your birth date and address to someone you didn’t know?    Most of us would answer a resounding “NO” to these questions. Yet millions of people–including many lawyers– do this daily on their Facebook and Linked In pages.

Joe Pistone, who worked for the FBI for 27 years as an undercover agent, cautions people against putting too much information on social media sites. As Pistone told Computer Weekly, Russian and Italian Mafias are using data from such social media public sites to extort businesses and individuals.

Similarly,  David Rappe, a former US Army commando and expert with the security firm Beyond Risk, warns that kidnappers are becoming much more sophisticated regarding their research of potential prey. Like the Russian and Italian Mafias,  kidnappers within Venezuela (and other nations) are scouring Facebook, and even creating false profiles, in an effort to learn routines and financial holdings of their intended victims.  The son of  wealthy Mexican businessman Alejandro Marti was kidnapped and murdered, a crime aided by the son’s on-line postings. As Rappe told TIME, it’s not actually being risk that puts you in danger but rather “the appearance of being rich.”

In an effort to protect their lawyers, many law firms with such security concerns have opted not to publish individual lawyer photos on their online lawyer profiles.  Unfortunately, this can leave firm website looking cold and impersonal.

So how do lawyers take advantage of the internet and social media’s benefits (like the ability to connect with actual and potential clients), while mitigating the inherent  risks?

Social networking sites offer various levels of account security, but it is up to the user to employ them. In addition,  ComputerWeekly suggests these social media safety tips (and we have added a few of our own):

• Restrict viewing of your details to trusted persons.

• Never publish your full birth date.

• Don’t reveal your e-mail, phone number, or postal address.

• Question the motivation of unsolicited requests to be friends or group membership from persons unknown.

• Read the small print of any third-party software installed via social networking sites.

• Never arrange to meet strangers in person.

• Do not post your travel plans; carefully edit comments on past travel (avoiding revealing any pattern to your travel, or, like Rappe notes, appearing affluent.).

•Restrict descriptions of your personal and professional activities,  lest unscrupulous people figure out a pattern of your behavior.

•Some lawyers may want to omit personal photos entirely.  However, if your law firm already publishes your professional photo, use the same one on your personal social media page, to minimize the publicly accessible images of you.

•Use a “strong” password, and change it often.

Despite security concerns, social media is growing rapidly.  Americas Quarterly reports that in 2009, social media use in Latin America rose 83.3%. Mexican businessman Miguel Angel Oliva, Vice President of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs for HBO Latin America, spends a couple of hours every day updating his profiles on Facebook and on LinkedIn, especially since LinkedIn launched its Spanish version in 2008. “When I joined LinkedIn, I realized that it had a professional focus, that it was a serious business community.  I would recommend new users to join groups of interest, to develop their profile and participate actively on LinkedIn”, Oliva explains.

Professionals like Oliva have managed to incorporate social media networks into their business in a safe and effective manner.  Similarly, lawyers everywhere can safely utilize social media, as long as they are vigilant in what they are posting, and pay particular attention to whom they permit to see their profiles.