Monthly Archives: October 2009

Why I Will No Longer Participate in #FollowFriday #ff on twitter.

From this point forward, I will not participate in #FollowFriday #ff on twitter.  Here’s why:

1.  It is rarely used correctly:

  • For a hashtag to be effective, it has to be the same exact hashtag used by everyone.  The original #FollowFriday is commonly shortened to #ff and I’ve seen other derivatives.
  • You can’t just mention as many peeps as you can fit in a tweet and not explain why it is they are being mentioned.  It is far better for you to randomly tweet about a peep and why they are interesting to you or may be interesting to anyone following you, IMO.   I imagine the only peeps clicking like mad on all those random lists are the social media “marketing gurus” trying to increase their numbers and perhaps some bot somewhere sniffing for just such tweets so it can add them to some tech that sends out the nasty spammy tweets (otherwise known as “speets“).

2.  Even when it is used correctly:

  • You offend peeps. You don’t mean to. You just can’t mention each and every one of your peeps each and every Friday.  This means somewhere along the line, the peeps not mentioned are going to go “hmmmm”.  It’s just human nature.

Don’t believe me?  I attended a lunch last week where I met face to face with an attorney I had interacted with through twitter and the ABA’s Solosez list serv.  She was offended.  She didn’t mean to be and she even felt odd  saying anything.  Since I’m all about feedback, I’m happy she did but at the same time, it made me I felt horrible. The last thing I want to do is negatively affect another human being. I’m a positive peep (or at least I try to be).

Just as I had not intended for her to feel slighted, she also did not mean to make me feel bad by saying something.  But that’s what happened.  So here we both were, feeling bad about a new relationship, all because of #followfriday.  No good.

This is why I will no longer participate in #followfriday.

So to all those peeps  I have ever #Follow Friday #ff, please don’t be offended if it never happens again.  You know I ? ya!

To all the peeps who add me to your #ff lists – please, please don’t be offended that I’m not doing it back (and maybe consider random recommendations yourself rather than participating in #ff).

And, most certainly, to any peep of mine who ever felt slighted that you were not on one of my #Follow Friday lists – DM me.  We need to talk.

There are Rules People! – twitter

Whenever you sign up for an account on a website, any website, you will be presented with the Terms of Service – or the written agreement between you and that website.  You cannot sign up for an account without at first accepting these terms.

Supposedly, every account holder reads the TOS word for word. It is my experience with peeps of all shapes and sizes – most just click the  submit button as fast as they can – barely glancing at the lengthy and usually legal ease laden contract.

This is problematic for many reasons.  The TOS contain information on how the information and data you place within that account will be used by the website, along with the rules by which you agree to play nice nice with others.

These are two very important things to know about any website you are going to use – personally or “for work”.

twitter is no different.  Contained within the twitter TOS, is the link to the page containing a very detailed, but not legal ease version of the rules.

The below is an excerpt from twitter’s “twitter support: the twitter rules” page:

Spam: You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone. What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:

  • If you have followed a large amount of users in a short amount of time;
  • If you have followed and unfollowed people in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive follower churn);
  • If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
  • If you have a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following;
  • If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;
  • If you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #
  • If you post multiple unrelated updates to a trending or popular topic
  • If you send large numbers of duplicate @replies
  • If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies in an attempt to spam a service or link
  • If you repost other user’s content without attribution.
  • If you have attempted to “sell” followers, particularly through tactics considered aggressive following or follower churn.
  • Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

Each of these items help twitter better understand how to keep its community clear of the types of peeps no one wants to be around – the pitch peeps and internet marketers (who are really just salespeeps with clever/more refined pitches.)

Anyway, the two best parts about twitter’s rules are:

  • If a large number of people are blocking you;
  • The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;

The reason why?  twitter is all about community.  The two points above mean that as a community, we can help twitter learn what we find acceptable. twitter trusts users to report abuse and spam.  It even makes it easy!

You can report twitter spam through twitter’s @spam account.  Once you follow @spam, you can report spam through a DM.  There is also the built in feature to block a follower.  One click, and you’ve let twitter know that the account holder is no good in your book.

One peep blocks you and it’s not a big deal.  Happens.  However, if peeps consistently block you, twitter knows.  If peeps consistently unfollow you, twitter knows.  If you don’t want to get your account closed, if you care about the peeps you are connecting with and you want to maintain a healthy connection – tweet by the rules.

Here’s the complete twitter Terms of Service and Rules.  If you want to get my thoughts on how to sign up and use a twitter account properly – download Twitter 101 for free from my website’s twitter page.

Digital Doodad – Appointment Setting

Are you tired of the calls and e-mails that go back and forth, back and forth … whenever someone tries to schedule an appointment with you?  Make it easy on everyone and let peeps schedule their own time with you right through your website.

There are several tech/services that you can choose from.  Here’s three I’ve personally tested:

  1. GenBook – free to try and easy to set up.  If you want to be notified via e-mail, you’ll have to splurge for the paid version at $19.95 for one person; $39.95 for unlimited.
  2. AppointmentQuest – less than $7.00 per month; not as intiutive or comprehensive as choices 1 or 3.
  3. Tungle – so far a free and very comprehensive solution for scheduling through the net, blogs and smartphones.  Also syncs with Outlook and Lotus Notes.  No pricing on site generally means at some point in future, Tungle will start charging.  Still, a great application and by far my favorite.

Want to make an appointment with me?  Click here to see and use Tungle.

E-mail Administration Sucks

Yes, I know.  The title of this post is a bit out of character for me but I had to get your attention!

I’ve been administering my e-mail for going on 9 years.  There is a reason why I tell peeps, clients and office managers to remove e-mail from as many of their business processes as possible.

First, e-mail is not secure.  Is it likely that someone is intercepting your e-mails, no.  Is it possible, yes.  For lawyers and legal stuff, that simply isn’t acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable for any business (not just law).  FYI, if you are openly e-mailing your client information as a spreadsheet to all your team members, chances are it is going to be shared with unintended parties.

In fact, I recall a case from my brick and mortar days where an employer tried to enforce a non-compete against one of their main salespeeps.  Problem was, the employer did not treat their customer list as a highly confidential document, so the court didn’t either.  Salespeep won.

Second, e-mail is a time sucking black hole and the longer you use it, the bigger the hole!  It only stands to reason, with more time comes more use.  The more messages you receive, the more time you need to go through them.  Of course, you need to multiply this time by the number of e-mail addresses you own and use.

If your inbox is empty, all client e-mails properly saved/filed, and your back up in place, ignore my system.  If not, check out D-A-F-T Your Way To Organized!

Third, e-mail is a poor conductor of information.  It was never meant to become the main process by which businesses all over the world communicate.  It is unreliable, at best.  Think about it – there’s no way to confirm if an e-mail has been received or read unless you use a third party service such as N-Krypt (which I have tested and think is a good option for those trying to easily secure their e-mail).

By the way, assuming an e-mail was received is never a good idea.  When in doubt – pick up the phone and call the intended recipient.

Last, e-mail is a difficult medium to store and share, especially if you use Outlook.  Outlook saves all information in the pst file of each user.  That means if you need to work in tandem with an assistant or otherwise, no dice.  You’d have to forward messages or provide your login credentials.  The first creates more e-mails and the second should NEVER be done as any login credentials should always remain private.

So, after years of use, I can only conclude and share with you that e-mail administration sucks and you need to put processes and systems in place to manage e-mail, or it will get out of hand and negatively affect you and your business.

Here’s a few resources regarding e-mail:

Words of Wisdom for Filing Client E-Mail from the Oregon Law Practice Management blog

The Lawyers Guide To Microsoft Outlook 2007 by Ben Schorr

By yours truly:

D-A-F-T Your Way To Orgnaized! (in case you missed the link above)

E-mail Etiquette: 9 Easy Tips for Anyone Using E-mail and

Managing E-mail

I THRIVE on feedback, so post your comments or send me your e-mail questions simply by clicking on the icon:

AskAndrea - tech, business processes, digital workflow

If your office is full of piles of papers, why not try:

FreedomFiler

Week End Wrap Up

Not everyone twitters, so here’s a wrap up of some of the more interesting stuff from twitter:

  • SecurityTip: always close the web connection after logging out of a bank or any secure page. Use the red x. Do not reuse the window/browser.
  • 5 Supreme Court cases to watch http://tinyurl.com/yarxtcy
  • My favorite personal moble device? Palm Centro on Sprint network. I have a Palm Pre & it’s really pretty but not as functional as my Centro
  • Soliciting on twitter is like shouting “Buy My Stuff” or “Hire Me!” when you walk into a networking event.
  • FTC will fine bloggers for not disclosing payments & freebies they get for reviews http://bit.ly/WsTmo RT @JanetAttard
  • TechTip: Stong passwords contain at least 8 keystrokes and consist of upper +lower case letters + symbols
  • WebTip: If you want white teeth, go see your dentist. Online TOS may require you to cancel fast or be charged a monthly fee.
  • WebTip: have 4-6 passwords/phrases (i.e. We82late) memorized. Programs must store the passwords somewhere; just need to know where to look.
  • WebTip: Many TOS limit the number of peeps who can access an account to 1. Do NOT give your login information to anyone before checking TOS.
  • On the blog: Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Passwords Exposed. http://bit.ly/AxXsH per @jimcalloway RT @ltrc
  • TechTip: Ctrl+A highlights all the stuff/text on a page; Ctrl+C copies it; Ctrl+V pasts into a new window/document.
  • Survey Says! Of 1400 CIOs with companies of 100+ employees, 54% block access to social networking sites at work. http://tinyurl.com/y97wkya
  • Here we go again. Mutliple reports of weird activity in Facebook accounts. Change your password everyone, just in case.
  • New @btannebaum Post: Letterman Extortionist Lawyer Bombs on Today Show, says People Magazine http://tinyurl.com/8vhpm9
  • In June 1974, the first item to be scanned using UPC (bar code) was a packet of Wrigley’s chewing gum http://tinyurl.com/yd8e5hm
  • Just joined the Total Practice Management Association community as “LegalVA” http://tinyurl.com/ycpucgw
  • WebTip: LinkedIn created 4 professional networking; FB 4 connecting with friends/family; twitter 4 talking to the world a wee bit at a timeArticle describing various phone systems http://bit.ly/3VYdd2 §I recommend virtual PBX via Onebox http://www.legaltypist.com/…
  • NOTHING is ever really deleted from the net and very little is anonymous, so be careful what you tweet/publish. @DeenaEsq
  • 10 valuable Twitter utilities for business users http://tinyurl.com/qhykap
  • 10 key Twitter concepts for business users: http://tinyurl.com/mdy9p9

Please comment on anything contained in this post, or just to say Hi!  If you have a question you’d like me to answer, hop on over www.lawfirmsolutions.com or set up a free call:  www.legaltypist.com/callme

Do You Proof?

I don’t know what it is about the digital age, but there appears to be a massive decline in the quality of the typewritten word.

I cannot tell you how many website owners, blog and article authors I have contacted due to typos.  We’re not talking the one word that slips through here or there – as humans that’s bound to happen.  I’m talking flagrant, in your face, how could you miss THAT typo and, even worse, why do I find at least one typo every time you publish?

Now, Martha would call having typos in your content not a good thing.  Typos convey a lack of care, lack of professionalism and lack of attention to detail.  Certainly typos do not generate a good impression for any business owner!

In our fast paced, digital world you still only get 7 seconds to make that good  first impression.  Having a typo in sentence 3 … well, let’s just say, it could turn some off and even worse can have some turn you off.

In fact, typos are not only embarrassing, but in some instances, they can harm and even cripple your PC.

There’s a huge threat to typing errors in the website urls you are visiting.  Some not so honest people purposely purchase an incorrectly spelled version of a very popular site – such as liknedin or linkedim.  Then anyone who happens to spell linkedin.com incorrectly will be taken to their “dummy site”.  Once your PC has connected to that dummy website, you’re at their mercy.

What could they do?

  • they could try to get you to log in or otherwise give up your credentials/passwords; or
  • get you to buy something so they can capture your cc information; and/or
  • they could automatically and immediately start downloading as much crap as possible to your PC before you can hit the red x and close the connection.

The best way to prevent typos is, of course, proof reading.I recommend you walk away from whatever it is you are drafting for a few minutes, then come back and proof read it from start to finish.

Another option is to print it out. You are much more likely to spot a typo on the printed page, than you are on the monitor of your PC. Something about holding pen/paper seems to queue up the proofing gene (at least in me).

In the end, typos matter – pay attention, proof read and protect your professional image.