Social networking for lawyers thingy

Google Buzz: Can we still reclaim ourselves from the Net?

No, it’s not all good.

Years ago I wrote,  “Google is not a utility. Or an agent of the state, or a thing that owes anyone anything except to the extent they pay for it. At least for now.”

Out of nowhere comes Google Buzz.  It’s social networking that just appeared in your mailbox!  As Adrian Dayton said earlier today, “I feel a little bit like I have been “spammed” into joining Google Buzz.”

Here’s a chat I had this morning with social media consultant (not “guru”!) Brian Wallace, who is entirely responsible for everything I have achieved with (and nothing I have abused via) social media, and he is not a happy camper, either:

[2/10/2010 7:08:41 PM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: hi
[2/10/2010 7:09:08 PM] Ron Coleman: hi — just logging off, catching train — talk later!
[2/10/2010 7:21:57 PM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: safe trip
[12:13:52 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: when you’re up and about – really would like to talk about google buzz with you
[9:29:00 AM] Ron Coleman: Good, I actually logged on because of my rude departure with you last night
[9:39:32 AM] Ron Coleman: OK yeah so I saw your initial take on this yesterday AM!
[9:39:51 AM] Ron Coleman: I was imagining you probably are thinking it’s bad enough they already know everything else about us…
[9:39:53 AM] Ron Coleman: That was my guess.
[9:42:04 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: hehe
[9:42:08 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: google buzz you mean
[9:42:16 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: it’s freaking awful
[9:42:27 AM] Ron Coleman: well that’s what you starrting the conversation with yeah
[9:42:29 AM] Ron Coleman: awful as in?
[9:42:32 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: as in

[9:42:49 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: raping our social network for their “search quality efforts”
[9:43:03 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: i’m just getting nervous about what they are in charge of and how it all connects
[9:43:11 AM] Ron Coleman: Well I saw this coming when they started returning results from “within your social network”
[9:43:18 AM] Ron Coleman: Whoa!
[9:43:19 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: yes agree
[9:43:24 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: whoa what
[9:43:30 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: oh the raping
[9:43:38 AM] Ron Coleman: I don’t think anything can stop them from owning us all but a law at this point
[9:43:47 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: right
[9:44:57 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: search + web history + analytics + transactions + mail (and reading it, mind you) + chat (and history) + our sites + trusted connections/connecting the dots + docs (and don’t forget, now they let u upload any docs, not just goog) + wave (comic relief?) + deals with real time search + etc
[9:46:00 AM] Ron Coleman: It’s ironic though because these are all services that do on their own merit greatly — albeit in varying degrees — really benefit the user.
[9:46:14 AM] Ron Coleman: I LOVE being able to read an attachment in Google docs without having to download it…
[9:46:29 AM] Ron Coleman: But between Google and FB …
[9:46:50 AM] Ron Coleman: I bet they could do a pretty good virtual mirror of all our hard drives without actually ever taking an image.
[9:47:50 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: correct
[9:47:59 AM] Brian Wallace – NowSourcing: maybe i should do a post like

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Be “happy”

Everything you know about happiness is wrong, according to Professor Daniel Gilbert, who (unlike a lot of the professors quoted authoritatively in magazine articles) seems to have really made some strides in knowing what he’s talking about:Purim mesiba, mesivta, New Jersey

Gilbert ponders the subject that is known, thanks largely to him, as affective forecasting — the how and why and error of human perceptions of time, value, reward, sorrow, and, yes, happiness. Just as we often recall the past as we’d like to remember it instead of as it was, so do we predict incorrectly what the future will be like, including our emotional responses to it. This is important, he says, because it influences our attempts at planning — and we do it again and again. . . .

What’s responsible for our self-deception? According to Gilbert, blame imagination, because its forces and flaws distort our predictions and our recollections. Imagination works powerfully and quickly, he explains, but it tends to make us believe that the future we envision will be a lot like the present we are experiencing. And when we imagine an event in that future, he explains, we humans consistently overestimate the length and intensity of our emotional response to it. As he writes: “Teenagers get tattoos because they are confident that DEATH ROCKS will always be an appealing motto …” . . .

Gilbert has said that on an imaginary happiness scale of 0 to 100, humans tend to place themselves around the 75-point mark. Regardless of our baseline happiness “level,” a setback will drag us down the scale or some amazing stroke of luck bump us up, but only briefly — within a matter of months from the “life-changing” event, we’re pretty much right back where we started.

“Basically, the death of your entire family is the kind of event it takes to have a major impact on you for a very long time,” he says.
Old bald guy at Yankee StadiumCan money buy happiness? Sort of. That is, a little more money can buy the poor a lot of happiness, but only a lot more money can buy the rich even a little happiness. Material wealth has, as Gilbert says, “very diminishing returns.” A far more reliable indicator of a person’s happiness is his or her wealth of personal relationships.

That’s “relationships.”  Not “followers.”

Social insanity

I have had some weird experiences out there in social space, which by all lights is surely getting creepier and creepier.

First a few months ago there was this lady on LinkedIn who was pushing so so hard to make some kind of presence for herself.  She kept pressing and pressing to build this kind of community around her, not without some success.  Seeing as how she didn’t seem to have an actual day job (I don’t think just anyone can list themselves as “visionary” or “happenings mover” or whatever) it seemed no worse than all the other snake oil, and at first I thought perhaps she had something to say in there.

But I knew something was weird, including the fact that she kept saying in her postings that certain people were hacking her LinkedIn account and things.  I mean, I guess anything’s possible.  But then she started intensely hitting me with requests to tweet or link to these articles she wrote, and I sent her a message saying that, hey, maybe she’s being a little overly aggressive here?

Man.  Big mistake!  Check out this dialogue — I had to recreate my lines because I didn’t keep them, but hers I did (for the authorities):

NuttyLady: Would you please RT [re-tweet] a couple of my stories you like most today? I’m still not getting into the Key Word Search stream at all!

Me: Sure, I did that in fact just yesterday, but you know, you are maybe pushing a little hard here?  Maybe you want to RT some of my links?

NuttyLady: I have to rely on my network to get any exposure to the general Twitter audience. Thanks so much for your help.

Me: No, I get that, no problem, I just saying you’re asking a lot and it seems kind of one-sided.

NuttyLady: I am not getting into the Key Word searches because of malicious code someone put on my account. I am not automated and do everything myself.

NuttyLady (a minute later):  I am a professional writer with more stories to my credit than most people at, say, Huffington Post. You don’t mind RT’ing their stories!

I don’t?  Actually if I have ever RT’ed something from Huffington Post that would be news to me.  It could have happened by accident, but… while I was preparing that response, this came in:

NuttyLady: You are showing bias towards “Little Media” versus “Big Media.”

And with that she not only unfollowed me — she BLOCKED me so I couldn’t respond to her — and deleted me as a connection on LinkedIn!!

No, no, believe me — I’m grateful.  But I just wasn’t ready for that kind of nuttiness out of nowhere.  What with her Ivy League Ph.D. and all.

I lived.  And, mind you, this is all in the context of a very, very contracted social networking profile and much less time spent on this stuff than at this point a year ago, or six months ago.  Yet even as I narrow the gauge of my efforts, more and more loons parade through view via the keyhole.

Like yesterday — this guy with no identifying information on his profile whatsoever friends my law firm’s Facebook page, which I administer.  And I am not just adding people to my firm’s visible, online social networks.  There has to be some rationale, right?  So I ask him, as nice as pie, like this (again, the name has been changed to protect the unhinged):

Goetz FitzpatrickGoetz Fitzpatrick January 5 at 12:00pm

Best of 2009: “Social notworking”

This was first posted on March 3, 2009:

I liked this Business Week article about certain social networking myths, sent to me by Ben Rothke (my computer security maven friend whom I also linked to last week on the other blog). Two passages deserve to be excerpted. The first one is about the gigantic baloney factor out and about there right now:

A surfeit of whiz kids and more experienced marketers are claiming to be social media experts and even social media gurus. Search the bios of Robert Scoble’s 56,838 Twitter followers using Tweepsearch (, an index of the bios of Twitter users, and you’ll find:

• 4,273 Internet marketers

• 1,652 social media marketers

• 513 social media consultants

• 272 social media strategists

• 180 social media experts

• 98 social media gurus

• 58 Internet marketing gurus

How many of them have actually created a successful campaign for clients using social media tools? I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find half a dozen with real track records.

I think you’d also be hard-pressed to call at least half of these characters any kind of “kids,” much less whizzes. “Social media consulting” is about as accurate a term for most of these wizened hustlers really have to sell as “coaching” (another racket we’ll have to talk about one of these days).

Here’s the second excerpt I liked:

Social media is great if you’re already a star, but that doesn’t happen overnight. . . .

Zappos Chief Executive Tony Hsieh, whose company has millions of customers who are evangelists for the great service that built the brand, quickly became a Twitter star, with more than 32,000 followers. When Dell, JetBlue Airways, the Chicago Bulls, and other love-’em-or-hate-’em brands joined Twitter, they immediately developed huge followings.

Tweets can be used to drive traffic to articles, Web sites, contests, videos, and so on—if people already care about your brand, or if you have a truly original idea that people will want to share with their followers.

The focus, really, in the second excerpt should be on the last sentence.

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Whatever the traffic will bear

Scott Greenfield brings us a Blawgospheric Darwinism Update:

I can’t think of a popular blawg whose purpose was to become popular, except maybe Above the Law, and whose goal was to use whatever means it could to attract readers.  Rather, popularity was a by-product of the effort, passion, and, on occasion, humor.  But some of the most popular and well-read blawgs around aren’t funny at all.  Is SCOTUS Blog a laugh riot?  Does My Shingle play to the crowds?  Is Randazza geared to the mass market?  Of course not.

What we see instead is the spin of bloggers who want to present a brave front despite the fact that they write, as do the rest of us, yet fail to engage an audience, so they claim that they are thrilled with the intimate success of their blog.  If they are, that’s great. But as Mark Bennett points out in his Social Media Tyro Blog, there is one continuing theme that permeates blogs that fail to capture a readership as a by-product of its content:  The purpose of blog is to market.

I wonder when it’s over which side will be left standing.

I do know which side will be left being read.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman