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Hickey: Sweet Tweet

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineTechnology and social media, it’s all the buzz in Bar circles. In fact, having just returned from the Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations, I can report that connecting members better and more efficiently was one of the top priorities for associations across the country. During the sessions, however, it quickly became apparent that not everyone is comfortable with social media and some lawyers have never visited Facebook or understood what a “tweet” is. (Thankfully, Facebook addicts were not at our conference and we were not any of the reported thousands who were depressed by the recent crash of the social network giant.)

Social media to some means lunch at the Barnes & Noble café with friends. In reality, it captures the wave of instant access that has taken hold of society. From smart phones, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, it’s enough to make your head spin. On the plane back from the conference, I read about “share rooms” on virtual platforms between lawyers and clients. Believe it or not, there is a Facebook page about Twitter. The data released on social media is astounding, and it solidifies the need to become acquainted with these tools that are making virtual relationships a reality.

According to a recently-released ABA survey on technology, remote access to law offices jumped 10% from 2009 to 2010, for an estimated 73% of respondents using remote access software. Lawyers are making use of virtual offices and 43% of survey respondents maintain some form of a social network presence. Attorneys also attributed new business to connections made through social networking.

Are you one of the technologically savvy who participates in real-time micro-blogging or are you one of those who is still clinging to pink message pads and dictaphones? Although I am anything but an expert on social media, I thought it fitting to briefly explore some of the more popular tools for staying connected.

Twitter: Twitter is a website which allows busy people to stay connected through short messages called “tweets.” Tweets are text-based posts limited to 140 characters described as “short bursts of inconsequential information.” (There is a list on Techcrunch for 15 alternative things to do when Twitter is down; going outside made it to the bottom of that list.)

You Tube: A video-sharing website, You Tube is no longer just for music or pet-trick videos. There are over 600 bar association videos posted to this site, and over 120,000 that involve lawyers in some way. Videos span everything from how to become a lawyer to the infamous videotape of how not to conduct a deposition in Texas.

Facebook: Is a social media website that allows users to add friends, create profiles, join networks, and communicate either through private, public or chat features. Facebook is the most used social network worldwide and it is estimated that one of every 14 people is an active user.

LinkedIn: Is dubbed as the network connecting professionals. By establishing a profile and “linking” with friends and colleagues, you can stay connected to the estimated 75 million other professionals on this site.

A Google search will quickly introduce you to these forms of social media. The Bar is also providing important information on technology in its full-day Surviving & Thriving Program on Friday, October 8, 2010. Sessions geared toward solo/small-firm practice include effective practice management through the use of technology, protecting digital information, e-filing tips for Marion County cases and essential technology trends for building and streamlining your practice (Register online at www.indybar.org).

The IndyBar strives to stay relevant and connected to its members and we are excited to release our new website in the coming weeks. As we unveil the fabulously new-and-improved, more user-friendly site, we will continue to explore other ways in which we can keep you connected to the legal community. Not to worry, however, we still recognize the importance of face-to-face gatherings, and we will continue to provide invaluable networking opportunities to our members. After all, a real lunch is far better than any virtual chicken or sweet tweet you could ever get online.•

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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