Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Tweet, Tweet

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

A bit over a year I ago I did a post in which I states, “Be that as it may, I’m giving in. It’ll probably take some time, but I’ve resolved to learn to Tweet. Maybe over the winter break. The only problem will be the embarrassment that could arise if on next year’s list, I’m still losing points because while I’m tweeting, no one is following!” It has taken some time, but now that Twitter itself has become so old that it may be going out of fashion in favor of SnapChat and other programs, I’ve joined the Twitter universe. You can follow me @REMongue, although I don’t know how long it’ll be before I think of something to say in just 140 characters. If there’s someone you think I should be following, please let me know. It’s time for me to be part of the tweeting public that the bad old pussy cat, I’ve been.

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It Can Happen to You

Monday, November 19th, 2012

I recently posted about my needing to learn to tweet. I fully intend to do so over the winter break at Ole Miss. However, more important than simply learning what to tweet is knowing what and when to tweet! Consider this from  ABAJournal.com:

A research lawyer for a Kansas appeals court has been suspended pending an investigation into her critical tweets about the state’s former anti-abortion attorney general during a supreme court ethics hearing.

The lawyer, Sarah Peterson Herr, posted tweets calling former Attorney General Phill Kline a “naughty, naughty boy” and criticizing his facial expression, report the Associated Press, the Topeka Capital-Journal and WND. “Why is Phil Klein [sic] smiling?” she wrote. “There is nothing to smile about, douchebag.”

Herr predicted Kline would be disbarred for seven years as a result of charges claiming he or his subordinates misled others during an investigation of abortion providers. WND describes Herr’s tweets as “snarky” and “self-satisfied.”

True this is about a lawyer, not a paralegal, but paralegals are often in the same position and the same seemingly irresistible temptation. There was a time when yielding to such temptations was limited in scope, at least, to those time when one was off-guard, perhaps having had a cocktail too many at a social gathering, so the damage was also limited to a degree. But with today’s social media there is almost literally no end to the ripples that are set in place when one drops a pebble – or in this case a number of rocks – into the water. This is just one of the many perils of social media. (Leading me to create the new “Social Media” category.)
As many of you may have noticed though there is an even larger issue here as illustrated by one of the comments on the original ABAJournal.com post:

Herr should have keep her thoughts to herself at the least until after the matter was concluded.  The fact that her remarks became public is not what makes her conduct wrong.

I Guess I Should Learn to Tweet!

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

From time to time I get emails informing me this blog has been chosen as a “top blog” by an organization or website, usually offering a badge to post on the site that links back to their site. Having grown up with a certain disdain for badges. I usually ignore them. But today Chere Estrin paid attention to one, so I figured I should also.

This one is from a website called “Paralegal411.” It does have some useful information, although I have grounds to quibble since the University of Mississippi paralegal program is not on its list of top paralegal programs. Of course even the Princeton Review, Forbes, and U.S. News and World Report‘s rankings of colleges are often challenged based on the criteria used by those organizations. I did not locate “Paralegal411’s” criteria for ranking programs. It does mention the ABA Approval list, but not the AAfPE Institutional Member list. (I’ve posted elsewhere on the advisability of relying solely on the ABA list.) Yet, the site itself cannot rely solely on the ABA list because (1) it names only a few schools and the ABA list has a lot of schools, and (2) the list includes George Washington University which is not on the list, noting that “The Georgetown paralegal program is approved by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the International Paralegal Manager’s Association (IPMA), and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).”

In any case, I could find the criteria for including blogs. Basically it’s a matter of popularity based on the number of pages linking to the blog and – here is my downfall – the number of Twitter followers. I don’t Tweet, so I lose points. So I guess I should learn to tweet. (And I should learn whether “tweet” is capitalized or not.) I haven’t basically because I haven’t figured out how to say anything really meaningful in 140 characters. As you can see from this post and the others on the blog, I can be pretty long-winded. It may be my age (61). But also I’ve never figured out what I would tweet that anyone would want to “follow” or why people “follow” tweets like “Why am I awake?” today’s tweet from the #4 blog on the list.

Despite this “Paralegal411” basically gets it right. The top three blogs are from Lynne DeVenny, who has recently ridden paralegal fashion to the top (I’m not much of a fashion buff. At the moment I’m just happy I get to stop wearing the outfit in the picture even though I had to become a cyborg to do it,) Chere Estrin, and Vicki Voison, blogs on my own RSS feed and the subject of frequent mention here. Number 4 is Haley Lobs Law Bomb, a blog I had never read before but will be adding to my Paralegal/Legal blogroll along with Paralegal Illuminati today so you can.

If there is a problem with the list, it’s that it contains some blogs on which there been no activity for several months. For example, I recently removed “Paralegal Hell” from my blogroll because there have been no posts since last December. Melissa H. (now Melissa K.) of “Paralegalese” not only stopped posting in May, has quite regrettably for the profession left the paralegal profession. I’ve kept the link to her blog anyway because much of what is there is quite helpful.

Be that as it may, I’m giving in. It’ll probably take some time, but I’ve resolved to learn to Tweet. Maybe over the winter break. The only problem will be the embarrassment that could arise if on next year’s list, I’m still losing points because while I’m tweeting, no one is following!

Oh, and here’s my badge: paralegal schools

Online Ethics – Updated

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

We’ve spoken here previously about some of the perils of internet use in the law office. Today I am passing on a story from ABAJournal.com entitled, “Ethics Officials Seeing More Cases from Lawyers’ Online Foibles.” It is about lawyers, but is just as applicable to paralegals:

Lawyers who are more circumspect in person are making online mistakes that are landing them in trouble with ethics officials.

James Grogan, chief counsel of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, recalls an early case that got the attention of bar counsel in more than one state, the National Law Journal reports. Steven Belcher, a temporary lawyer at a St. Louis law firm who was licensed in three states, was helping defend a wrongful death case when he decided to e-mail a picture of the deceased to a friend, the story says. The body of the overweight man was pictured lying naked on an emergency room table. Belcher added his own commentary.

The result was a 60-day suspension, the story says. “It got our eyebrows up,” Grogan told the publication. “We thought, ‘Wow, are we going to see more of these?’ Well, I think it’s clear we are starting to see more.”

The story notes an increase in interest in the issue. Bar associations and bar counsel hold seminars on online ethical mistakes, and the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 will consider whether existing ethics rules adequately address online transgressions.

“It’s not as if lawyers never misbehaved before,” the story says. “But now they’re making the same old mistakes—soliciting for sex, slamming judges, talking trash about clients —online, leaving a digital trail for bar counsel to follow.”

Susan Gainen’s Lawyerist.com post, “6 Rules for Protecting Confidential Information” (brought to my attention by Lynne Devenney at Practical Paralegalism) is well worth the read in this regard. Her first two rules are:

1. Your conversations. Never talk about clients or client business outside of the office. The guy at the table next to you knows EXACTLY who you are talking about because his client is on the other side of the deal.

2. Your tweets or blog posts. Tweeting or blogging about your work are very smart business development tools, but they are also fraught with peril. Robert Ambrogi lists 16 good reasons to Tweet, but notes: “Before you post to Twitter, consider the consequences. A casual tool such as this makes it easy to unwittingly create an attorney-client relationship or overstep an ethical rule. Even with only 140 characters, you can easily get yourself in hot water.”

The point is that “online” is “outside the office” even if you are sitting in the office when you blog, tweet, email, or otherwise reveal information. Unless your system is secure, even internal communications may be exposed to the “outside.”

Update:

Just an additional thought from Steve Lohr’s story in the New York Times on the Library of Congress archiving Twitter messages:

Knowing that the Library of Congress will be preserving Twitter messages for posterity could subtly alter the habits of some users, said Paul Saffo, a visiting scholar at Stanford who specializes in technology’s effect on society.

“After all,” Mr. Saffo said, “your indiscretions will be able to be seen by generations and generations of graduate students.”

People thinking before they post on Twitter: now that would be historic indeed.

Can Facebook Sabotage Your Career?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Speaking of California, the April 2009 Fresno Paralegal Association Newsletter
has an excellent article by Vicki Voisin of the Paralegal Mentor entitled “Are You Sabotaging Your Career.” In the article Vicki warns of some of the pitfall of social networking websites:

You are, in essence, dropping clues right and left about yourself and you may be offering too much
information. Many companies (that includes law firms) now use social networking sites to screen prospective hires. They may also use them to check on the behavior of current employees. A simple entry of a name in the Google search box can reveal all kinds of information…some of it may be embarrassing.
Social Networking isn’t just about you. You really have little control over who sees your information. Your contacts have access to it. Their contacts have access. Those contacts have access. You can see how the web widens.

Vicki’s point cannot be overstated. Whenever I’m about to have significant professional dealings with someone new one of my first steps is to do an internet search for information about that individual. Interviewing a new candidate for a position in my office – a person who will have access to confidential information, be the primary contact with my clients and have access to client trust accounts – certainly qualifies as “significant professional dealings.” Consider the likelihood of hiring someone who’s Facebook profile picture show them well “under the influence” at a Jimmy Buffet concert. While a potential employer may understand and even approve of the events that led up to the picture, most employers would question the professionalism and discretion of a person who posts that picture as their first and best impression.

Vicki suggests

Your online presence is a virtual resume. Craft your profi le very carefully so you reveal only positive information. Don’t use a screen name that gives a poor impression. Don’t post pictures or videos you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Delete any photos your friends might post that show you drinking and partying. If any off -color comments are associated with your posts, delete them immediately. Choose your Facebook friends and followers on Twitter wisely. You don’t have to accept every request.

Does this mean you can never have fun or at least never share that fun with your friends? Not at all. However, keep in mind that you have a professional life and a personal life. Keep the two separate even on Facebook, mySpace and Twitter.

There is, of course, a tie-in between Vicki’s story and Chere Estrin’s story discussed in a previous post, “Who Is in Charge of Your Career?” Some of these same issues are also discussed in real-life networking contexts in “Martinis and Professionalism.

The bottom line is that Facebook cannot sabotage your career, but you can. You should be in charge of your career both on and off the internet.