Do Blogs Offer Value? Or, R They Just Marketing Messages?

Do Blogs Offer Value? Or, R They Just Marketing Messages?

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There’s a healthy discussion over on Law.com’s Legal Blog Watch following Bob Ambrogi’s post “The Demise of the Legal Blogsphere.” The centerpiece of the discussion is a blog post by Mike Cernovich at the blog Crime & Federalism who believes the legal blogsphere has gone to pot.

Cover your ears and guard your hearts, my marketing friends, because Cernovich sums it up by blaming YOU!

He says:

“The modern legal blogosphere sucks because it’s been overrun by legal marketers, and because people who might be able to engage in actually-interesting conversations are too busy sucking up to their e-friends and e-colleagues.”

Mike Cernovich seems to think that the legal blogsphere has gone to pot. No, he’s not suggesting that legal bloggers want to legalize marijuana to solve the California deficit, rather, blogging going to pot is being “overrun by shallow marketing and exclusive cliques.”

Curiously, Ambrogi thinks he makes some good points, so you might want to link over there and ponder his thoughts and contribute to the conversation.

Cernovich’s post, according to Ambrogi, feeds off of the perspective of 11D, which offers an unflattering assessment of legal bloggers who, “have undermined the blogosphere and that both bloggers and readers are burned out.”

I admit that a recent browse through of Alltop’s Legal Category did turn up some pretty marginal, watered-down, self-serving and even lame stuff, yet, I’m not ready to concede the value of the blogsphere, both legal and otherwise.

It’s easy to dismiss the blogs that are blatantly pitching to the marketplace, so that’s a non-issue in my opinion. Read more…

Online Organization: My Top 10 (Free) Tools I Can't Live Without

Online Organization: My Top 10 (Free) Tools I Can't Live Without

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If you’re like me, keeping up with my “social” life is getting out of control. My RSS feeds are unwieldy, the good stuff that I read, watch and listen to on the Web is getting buried deep in my bookmarks, my status updates are neglected, and I’ve got a five page spreadsheet of logins and passwords (it’s true!).

I know I’m not alone, because each week new services and tools launch promising to provide sanity to all the noise. To some extent I’ve been able to weed out those that are worthwhile and those that fall short. Experimenting takes time.

To save you time, I decided to share a few life savers that I’ve integrated into my online life. They are making my social life a bit more user friendly and hopefully they will help you too.

Get the list of ten tools that I use frequently or recommend. Best of all they’re FREE! Read more….

How to Structure a Social Media Plan

How to Structure a Social Media Plan

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Although the slowdown is taking a different shape in different industries, much of our economy today is digital, including the way in which sophisticated consumers are researching purchases, reconnecting with distant friends, expanding business connections, and seeking value and opportunity. Makes perfect sense that marketers –would flock to where their clientele are hanging out online, participating in social media and shopping.

What do marketers need from the social Web?

Adding social media to the marketing mix is no longer the novelty it was a mere 18 months ago. With a relatively low barrier to entry and even lower price tag, suddenly online media is taking on the appearance of a feeding frenzy. Plus it’s noisy, so you need a plan.

Use the “five needs” that online media meets to help you shape your plan. Scale, Target, Measure, Adapt, and Cost

Facebook Friday – Law Firm Fan Pages

Facebook Friday – Law Firm Fan Pages

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In the interest of transparency, I am enthusiastic about social Web tools and particularly Facebook. Continuing in my series of Facebook Fridays, today’s post will address: Should a law firm have a Fan Page and if so, what should it look like?

If you haven’t seen it action, you’ve probably at least heard about how Dell or Zappos, the poster children for companies using social media, are creating revenue and positively impacting their brand in Social Media. According to various reports, most other companies, retail or B2B, have barely gotten started; law firms are no exception.

An April 2009 article on Adweek.com confirms that law firms are not alone:

“Thousands of brands from large, medium and small companies… crossed that hurdle a few years ago of making a Web site. But they are not yet waking up to the fact that the Internet is not just about parking your information somewhere and hoping people stumble across it somehow. You have to be active for anyone to notice…. Companies obviously know Twitter and blogs and Facebook. They just don’t know how they fit in. ”

Most law firm marketers are slow to increase social media in their marketing mix. It’s looked upon as mostly experimental and they invest only as time and priorities permit.

Technology Blows Winds of Change

Technology Blows Winds of Change

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Political topics are not my focus, however, I recently read with great interest a op-ed piece, Winds of Change?, by The New York Times Op-Ed Columnist THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN that drew me in and so I’m sharing it with my blog readers. He wrote on June 13th, 2009 that “something is going on in the Middle East today that is very new.” And …”four historical forces have come together to crack open this ossified region.”

Mr. Friedman lists as the first force: the diffusion of technology.

“I knew something had changed when I sat down for coffee on Hamra Street in Beirut last week with my 80-year-old friend and mentor, Kemal Salibi, one of Lebanon’s greatest historians, and he told me about his Facebook group!”

Social Networking- Successful Training for Lawyers

Social Networking- Successful Training for Lawyers

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Many law firms are (finally) starting to take a serious look at social networking tools as an inexpensive resource for developing new business. (Note: This author points out that online social tools may be inexpensive in dollars but they are time intensive if done correctly.) To conduct training sessions they are frequently using or considering using outside consultants.

Since the ranks of self-anointed social networking experts grows daily and general law firm consultants are picking up on the basics, there are a lot more choices these days of who to hire for the job.

In my travels I have learned several things that I am happy to share and that might help you. Here are 10 things to consider when looking for outside counsel to introduce attorneys to social networking tools.

Facebook Friday – Fast Facts On UserNames

Facebook Friday – Fast Facts On UserNames

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What’s in a name? A lot.

At least on June 13th starting at 12:01 a.m. (EDT). You see Facebook is hosting a name claim extravaganza. That’s right, no more url addresses with Facebook.com and a random series of numbers and digits. You will be able to select a username at http://www.facebook.com/username for your Facebook account to easily direct friends, family, and coworkers to your profile.

Law firms and the companies they counsel who are interested in getting found on Facebook will also be able to stake a claim on http://www.facebook.com/yourcompanynamehere.

Companies can (and should) preemptively protect their rights to their trademarks and block cyber-squatting by registering their mark Facebook. All you need to do is visit here. Provide your company’s name, the trademark and the federal trademark registration number, and subject to their review, Facebook will reserve the trademark and not let anyone else use it.

According to Brian Fergemann, a partner and intellectual property attorney at Chicago’s Winston & Strawn, quoted today in the National Law Journal,

“This is really a way for someone who has a distinct or famous trademark to let Facebook know that others should not be allowed to register that page. They can just say, ‘Please don’t let anyone use my registered trademark.’ ”

I agree, and even if your law firm or company is not yet on Facebook you should register your mark, NOW. The good news is, if you find that someone’s username infringes your rights, you can fill out an automated IP infringement form.

Now for the fun stuff!

Square Peg? Round Hole? Lawyers, In-House Counsel and Social Networks.

Square Peg? Round Hole? Lawyers, In-House Counsel and Social Networks.

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A huge source of information about the law resides in lawyer authored blogs, says Rees Morrison, who blogs at LawDepartmentManagementblog.com.

Rees is a law firm management consultant. However, when it comes to finding management related content from in-house counsel, the story is a quite different. Social networks targeted to in-house counsel get most of their management [related] comments from non-practitioners.

“Having hosted for more than a year discussion groups on LinkedIn about law department management and on Legal OnRamp about legal department operations, I can attest that very few in-house attorneys either start topics or comment on topics,” stated Rees on his blog post of June 1, 2009.

I’m not surprised, at all. Why? Aside from factors such as time, confidentiality, and other resources, why do in-house counsel need to post on social networks? Don’t they get their information from, and exchange ideas with, their trusted advisers and staff? What does public discourse add to the equation?