The ABA Annual Meeting commences this weekend in Toronto, Ontario, with roughly 5,000 lawyers in attendance and more than 1,400 legal programs being offered. Along with 150 CLE courses and a multitude of social events and networking opportunities, the ABA Annual also puts on one of the largest legal products and services expositions this side of Quebec! For even the most zealous of conference attendees, there is plenty of ground to be covered this year. How exactly can one lawyer navigate through this web of programs, exhibits and courses, you ask? Well, through the power of social media, of course. Specifically, via Twitter and the use of hashtags.
A hashtag, which is a word or short phrase preceded by the hash (#) symbol, is an effective way to share and organize information surrounding a conference or event. For example, the unofficial hashtag for the ABA Annual is, quite simply, ‘#ABAannual.’ Hashtags work best when they are succinct and straight-to-the-point, which is why most are eponymously titled.
Twitter updates that include a hashtag afford users the option to collapse all relevant updates in to a single streamline. Tagging your Twitter update about that less-than-stellar patent litigation program you just attended then includes your one-off gripe into a collection of conference tips, do’s, and don’ts. Think of it as a live and running conference program; a filter without much of a filter, if you will.
With so many lawyers connecting online through social media, it’s no wonder that several programs this year are focusing on technology and its integration into the practice of law. These programs range from ‘Blackberry and the Practice of Law’ to more ominously titled sessions, like ‘The Perils of Social Media Under the Laws of the United States and Canada: A Cautious Tale for Lawyers and Clients.’ Putting all peril aside, the benefits of social media for attorneys are most obvious when placed within the context of immediacy; the use of hashtags for networking and connecting in real time is just one example of that.
And now for the weekly #SLRoundup. (If you’ve taken anything from this post, it’s that you should use our own hashtag when you Tweet about it!)
Sui Generis – A New York Law Blog: Should social media passwords be a job requirement?
“That so many law enforcement agencies engage in this practice is troubling for any number of reasons. Many social media users choose to limit public access to their social media profiles in order to enhance their levels of privacy and they do so for a reason: to keep their personal information private. When an agency obtains passwords to an applicant’s social media profiles, the agency is able to access all electronic communications related to the profiles, regardless of the privacy settings in place.”
“Over the past year, Facebook has focused the role of the Business Page as a way to extend a professional presence on the widely used platform. Our app is a perfect addition, allowing you to feature your entire collection of legal publications directly on a firm-focused page, and to announce each new piece of content automatically as an update on your page’s Wall.”
Real Lawyers Have Blogs: Why law firms need to stop blocking the use of social media
“Smartphones and tablets. By the end of this year 50 percent of all Americans will own a smartphone. The fastest growing use of mobile? Social networking. Everywhere I travel I see lawyers with two mobile phones, a blackberry and an iPhone or Android. Your lawyers and other professionals are already using social media.”
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