30 Twitter Tips on Marketing, Social Media, and Technology

And now my final installment of news that may have passed you by in June.  The best of the best on marketing, social media, and technology posted on Twitter last month:

Marketing and Social Media

Technology

The Paperless Office

Privacy and Security

Cloud Computing

Dictation

Apps

  • Fastcase Tip 23: Utilize the extended toolbar at top and the ‘jump to most relevant paragraph’ option to save you time! (via @fastcase)
  • Quick Look: New Fastcase Android App by @catherinereach (RT @danpinnington RT @JoanHFeldman RT @attnyatwork)

Tech Tips

25 of the Best Tips from Twitter on Ethics, eDiscovery, GTD and More

This post is part of a continuing mission to share some of the best tips from Twitter.  Today’s topics: time management, GTD, financial management, ethics, and eDiscovery.

Time Management – Getting Things Done

Financial Management

Ethics and eDiscovery

Enjoy!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

20 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your iPhone and iPad

From time to time I like to compile the terrific posts that whiz by on Twitter.  And let me tell you, there are plenty to choose from.  Today’s blog focuses on tips and tricks for iPhone and iPad users.  Could this technology be any more popular?  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing further posts in the areas of marketing, social media, eDiscovery, financial management, time management, ethics, and more.  Stay tuned!

20 iPhone and iPad Tips and Tricks

Apps and Reviews

Security and Protection

Even More Tips and Tricks

Get it Done! Mind Hack Tips from Lifehacker

Lifehacker is one of my favorite Web sites.  It is a little bit of everything, with an emphasis on tips, tricks, technology, and getting things done.  Two posts in May really caught my eye.  The first was about to-do lists.  Here is an excerpt:

To-do lists are just a nagging reminder of all the things you need to do, so actually inspiring yourself to do them isn’t always easy. Michael Pantalon, Ph. D, writing for Psychology Today, suggests that you’re more likely to accomplish these tasks by including why you should do them as well. Creating a “why do” list, as he calls it, can help you remember why you actually want to do something and avoid thinking that you have to do it. When creating your lists, just make a sublist under each item filled with all the reasons this is something you really want to do. Don’t include items for the sake of including them, but instead focus on the things that make you excited about this task.  (From If You Want to Actually Finish the Tasks on Your To-Do List, Include Why You Should Do Them.)

This advice may be more applicable in personal than professional life, since I suspect many would answer “why do” with “if I don’t, I’ll get fired or my client will sue me.”  And let’s face it, not many people get excited about drafting a complaint, summarizing a deposition, or working on an appellate brief.  Still, I like this idea.  If you are a busy person with a lot on your plate it is easy to get overwhelmed by your to-do list.  A little reflection and thought about “why do” might not be a bad idea, and if applied to your personal life, may help tremendously with prioritizing personal and professional demands on your time.

The second post that caught my eye was about a closely related subject, procrastination:

A study conducted by Michael J.A. Wohl at the Carleton University examined students who procrastinated and, specifically, whether or not they forgave themselves for it. Those who pardoned their procrastinating ways ended up better off:  The key finding was that students who’d forgiven themselves for their initial bout of procrastination subsequently showed less negative affect in the intermediate period between exams and were less likely to procrastinate before the second round of exams.  (From Want to Stop Procrastinating?  Just Forgive Yourself.)

Chronic procrastination can be debilitating.  I have witnessed lawyers who are literally in the red because they can’t seem to bring themselves to bill.  Others are removed from practice before specific courts or cut-off from valuable referral sources like indigent defense due to client complaints.  And – no surprise – these same lawyers end up with multiple disciplinary complaints and legal malpractice claims.  If you feel yourself slipping into chronic procrastination, or know someone who might be, getting help is essential.  In Oregon, it is also free and confidential.

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

Best Free Software for Signing PDFs

From our friends at Lifehacker  -

What’s the best free software for signing PDFs? OS X Lion has this feature built into Preview. Nitro PDF is the way to go for Windows. Sign-N-Send was our go-to free option for the iPhone, but now it costs $5. EasySign, however, is still free. The creatively-named Fill and Sign PDF Forms is the way to go on Android.

Sorting Out Social Media

Later this year I will be submitting an article for the Oregon State Bar Bulletin entitled “Sorting Out Social Media: Tools & Etiquette.”  For those of you who can’t wait, here is a sneak preview:

Sorting Out Social Media: Tools & Etiquette

If you are blogging, tweeting, or posting status updates to build your brand and reach new clients, you already know how daunting it can be to keep up with social media.

Understanding ethical boundaries is an important starting point, as are privacy considerations. See Helen Hierschbiel, “Social Media for Lawyers: A Word of Caution,” (Oregon State Bar Bulletin November 2009) and Sheila Blackford, “Social Media Safety: Avoiding Pitfalls in the Kingdoms of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter,” (Oregon State Bar Bulletin June 2010.)  But once you know the ethical and privacy concerns, how should you proceed?

Social Media Etiquette

While it may not be obvious at first glance, there is etiquette to using social media.  To keep your audience engaged and avoid irritating your “friends” and followers, apply these tips:

  • Give yourself the benefit of a broad-brush overview.  Read Carolyn Elefant and Nicole Black, “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier,” (American Bar Association June 2010.)  (ABA products are available at a discount on the Professional Liability Fund Web site.  Select – ABA Products under the Loss Prevention heading.)  Alternatively, check out Mashable, which bills itself as
    “…the largest independent online news site dedicated to covering digital culture, social media, and technology.”  Mashable has detailed how-to’s and online guides to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn, among others.  It’s also a great site to visit if you’re a gadget junkie.
  • Start slowly and build momentum.  While it’s tempting to set up your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, and Twitter account on the same day and start posting and tweeting, your experience with social media will be better if you approach it gingerly.  Begin with one account.  Once you familiarized yourself with the terminology, acronyms, and abbreviations, you can move on to your next social media endeavor.
  • Engage with others.  This is what social media is all about – reading, sharing, and responding to what others post, asking what they think – not just pushing your own content in a “one-way” conversation.  This is an important point to grasp, but many law firms miss it entirely.  To an avid user, social media is an intensely personal medium of communication.  When you participate, you begin building relationships and become part of an online community.  If you aren’t prepared to interact, and if you don’t have the time to personally manage your accounts, then social media may not be for you.  For excellent pointers about the “social” aspect of social media, see Cindy King, “17 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros,” (Social Media Examiner October 26, 2011.) and Lisa DiMonte and R. Michael Wells, Jr., “Growing Your Online Footprint: An Ethical Approach to Building a Powerful & Influential Online Presence Through Social Media and Blog Writing,” (American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division/MyLegal.com October 14, 2011.)
  • Remember to give your audience a breather.  Most followers and contacts don’t want to be barraged by ten updates in a row from the same person.  If you haven’t been on Twitter or Google+ for a few weeks, don’t try to “make up for it” by over-posting.  Social media users can lose patience quickly.  If you engage in a posting frenzy, your content may be viewed as spam.  Followers and friends may soon unfollow, unfriend, or block your account.  Then all your effort will be for naught.
  • Test all links before including them in a post, especially if you using a URL redirection service like Tiny URL, goo.gl, or bitly.  If you post a link that returns an error message, your followers or contacts will be frustrated.  Some may inform you of the non-working link.  Others will ignore it and move on, never seeing your content.
  • Some users prefer to create a personal and business account for the same service.  For example, lawyer Susan Smith of the Smith Law Firm might choose to set up two Twitter accounts – one under her personal name and the other under the name of her firm.  If Susan uses both accounts to simultaneously post identical content she may annoy followers and wear out her welcome quickly.  In addition, not all content is appropriate for both personal and professional accounts.  The best approach is to use your personal account for personal interests and professional account for professional interests.
  • Should you thank other users who retweet, share or +1 your posts?  Some experts say yes, others say it isn’t necessary.  If you want to thank others who are sharing your content, you can do so publicly (where everyone can see your post) or privately (in a direct message to the specific person you wish to thank).  If you post publicly, pace yourself and keep our tip about over-posting in mind.  On Twitter, you may want to thank others who retweet your content by using #FollowFriday.  The #FollowFriday hashtag is used to suggest people to follow.  For example: #FollowFriday @OregonStateBar.  By using #FollowFriday to recommend someone with whom you interact, and who retweets your content, you show appreciation for their support, build a stronger bond of social engagement, and provide your followers with the names of other interesting Twitter users.  You can read more about #FollowFriday and how it works here:
  • Speaking of public versus private posting, know the difference!  Twitter claims that “if you’ve posted something that you’d rather take back, you can remove it easily.” But I caution against relying on this.  Once content is posted publicly on the Internet in any social media site, assume it is cached and available somewhere – even if you removed it from your account.  This is another reason to take your time learning social media.  It is also a good reason to approach social media with the mindset that everything you post online is or can become public, even if privately sent.  Therefore, if you wouldn’t say something publicly, you shouldn’t post it online – anywhere.  This may seem like an overly conservative approach, but it will keep you safe.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If you have colleagues who enjoy social media and have built a substantial following, talk to them.  How do they engage others?  How did they build a following?  What type of content do they typically post?  What is their take on our list of etiquette tips?  Do they have any pointers to share?  Having someone show you the ropes will shorten your learning curve substantially.

Essential Tools for Managing Your Social Media Presence

  • If you have more than one social media account, use a social media aggregator.  These services bring together in one location the posts, streams, and updates from the most popular social networking sites.  All are free.  The idea behind an aggregator is to gather all content in one location (as opposed to checking all your social media accounts separately.)  Of course they can also be used to simultaneously post content across multiple accounts, but remember to weigh this convenience against the potential downside of annoying your audience.  Some aggregators are web-based, others are available as desktop and mobile applications.  The most popular aggregators are Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Netvibes, Yoono, Streamy, Flock, FriendFeed, and Socialite from Realmac Software. Aggregators also offer other helpful features, like scheduling of posts, direct uploading of images, videos, and files, mobile updates, organization of content into columns, auto-shortening of URLs, and alerts for specific types of content.
  • If you prefer a more “organized” experience on Twitter, consider TweetChat which organizes content by hashtag (topic) instead of conversation (like the aggregators mentioned above).  To use TweetChat, enter the hashtag you want to follow or talk about, and then sign in by using your Twitter account information.  Once you’re logged in, you’ll see only those tweets referencing the hashtag or topic you selected. Use the message box in TweetChat to participate in the conversation.  TweetChat is free.
  • Direct messages in Twitter seem to accumulate endlessly.  Deleting them one at a time on http://twitter.com is tedious. You can delete all direct messages or selective direct messages (messages from a particular user or messages containing a specific phrase or word) using the free online utility, InBoxCleaner. Deleting content from Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn has to be done directly from within the application.
  • Backup your social media content using BackUpMyTweets (which also captures Twitter updates, mail, blog posts, and online photos) or the more comprehensive Backupify which captures content on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Blogger, and various Google apps. BackUpMyTweets is free.  Backupify offers weekly backups for up to three personal accounts at no charge.  Pricing plans are available if you have more than three accounts or prefer nightly backups.  For more options, read Gina Trapani, “Free Tools to Back Up Your Online Accounts,” (Lifehacker August 12, 2009.) .
  • Want to keep in touch on social media without being a slave to your computer or mobile device?  Consider scheduling your posts.  Use your social media aggregator or one of these services described by Lars, “18 Twitter Tools for Scheduling Future Tweets and Improving Your Social Networking,” (Tripwire Magazine May 6, 2010.) .
  • Looking for more tools and ideas?  Check out these resources: Twitter – Robert J. Ambrogi, “Building on Simplicity: 20 Tools to Make Twitter Sing,” (Oregon State Bar Bulletin May 2009) and “Tweet 16: 16 Ways Lawyers Can Use Twitter,” (Oregon State Bar Bulletin January 2009); Blogging – ABA Legal Technology Resource Center: “FYI: Blogs” and “FYI: Feature Comparison – Major Blog Providers;” Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn – Googling “Facebook for lawyers,” “Google+ for lawyers” and “LinkedIn for lawyers” will return pages of tips, ideas, and pointers.

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

Dropbox Dilemmas

While popular, Dropbox continues to be an ongoing source of angst for lawyers who would like to use the cloud, but are frightened aware by security concerns.  See Dropbox Security Concerns? and Dropbox Privacy Policy Changes (Again).

Thankfully, the ABA Site-tation has come to our rescue by pointing to these helpful posts from Nerino Petro, Futurelawyer, and Lifehacker.  Thank you ABA Site-tation!