Eclipse

Articles filed under Social media

Our 2017 review continues with AI, social media, machine learning, algorithms and robots taking jobs.

i read your email

As the line between work and personal life blurs the media has repeatedly made reference to a right to snoop, with headlines such as “Bosses can snoop on workers’ private emails and messages” (The Telegraph), “Britain has a new human right … freedom to spy on employees’ emails” (The Daily Mail) and “Private messages at work can be read by European employers” (BBC News website). These three attention grabbers followed the decision of the ECHR in Bărbulescu v Romania (Application No 61496/08), 12 January 2016. Perhaps predictably, a proper reading of the case reveals that matters are not quite so clear-cut.

Twitter_logo_blue

Twitter is a minority pursuit. Nevertheless, it is increasingly influential and likely to be used by many Newsletter readers as an important resource for latest news, comment and analysis.

This is not primarily an introduction to Twitter. Nor will I presume to tell you how to use it: there are more than enough self-proclaimed experts who will pretend to do that; in the end it’s entirely up to you. Rather I will try to explain the “mechanics” of Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2008, so by any measure I’m an old hand; yet Twitter features change frequently and I was unsure enough of the exact effect of many of its features that I had to review my own experience quite carefully and consult Twitter’s (very good) Help pages before penning this. Below I will refer mainly to the experience on the desktop Twitter platform; many features are implemented slightly differently on mobile and some are implemented only on (Android) mobile.

Continuing our series by lawyers on how they use social media for professional and personal development.

I have always been intrigued by the possibilities which electronic communications might open up for judges and lawyers. 30 years ago I led for the Bar in discussions with BT about the usefulness of an early email system called Telecom Gold. As a judge I used FELIX, a bulletin board devised by John Mawhood and Sean Overend, and then I was into the world of the internet and the opportunities for getting our judgments online swiftly via BAILII. I moved from analogue to digital, from slow modems to ultra-fast broadband. What more was there to learn and do?

The use of social media in a workplace setting has gained increasing prominence alongside the rise of the internet-enabled office. Social media pervades the working day, and, whilst a number of employers have sought to limit its use during working hours, its mobile nature, accessible via smartphone or tablet, means that seeking to do so is a Sisyphean task.

Reputational damage

Social media also gives rise to a significant new medium through which employers can find themselves in difficulties. A disgruntled employee can easily and swiftly cause reputational damage through social media posts; a company can be irreparably damaged by the exposure to ridicule that this causes.

The historic recruitment model to recruit staff has been either to appoint recruitment agents to find suitable staff or to advertise for staff in trade publications.

Recruitment firms generally provide a pro-active service and act as an intermediary between the employer and candidate. In good times the recruitment firm can expect to receive commission in the region of a third of the employee’s first year salary. Such high commission fees have provided a significant barrier and hurdle for early stage companies in recruiting staff and therefore have potentially restricted the growth of many companies.

At the beginning of 2015, I was thrilled to head up the team launching Mootis, the new social networking and microblogging platform for the legal services sector. (You’ll need to sign up to view it.)

We firmly believed (and still believe!) that the novelty of large, all-purpose social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is wearing thin. This is backed up by statistics, with researchers at Princeton University saying Facebook has hit its peak and could lose the vast majority of its users by 2017 and Wall Street investors recently expressing concern about Twitter’s revenue growth and sending its share price tumbling. For a company that’s embedded itself so thoroughly in the fabric of modern communication, Twitter is clearly having trouble getting more people to use it.

Our aim was therefore to create a bespoke platform and streamline the legal sector’s use of social media.

After launching a beta version of the site, we spent a number of months working with lawyers, web developers and social media experts before going live.

I often wonder how or why busy professionals find the time (or even have the inclination to find the time) to spend endless hours using Facebook and other social media sites to tell the world what they are up to, what they like and what they don’t like. I just don’t get it, but maybe that’s because I would much prefer to talk to my family and friends direct rather that communicate in this very public way. Then again it may be that I am just old fashioned and completely out of date.

When it comes to business, however, and in particular the legal profession, I have long since learned that failing to keep up to date with modern ideas and technology is a mistake of fundamental proportions. In my long career as a lawyer (and as a Managing Partner of a very successful law firm for over 20 years) I have always totally bought in to the idea of keeping up with the Joneses (forgive the pun!) when it comes to technology and the use social media platforms for business purposes.

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This month: Continuing competence after 1 April, two new social media sites, 20 years ago; plus Delia’s legal web picks.

Hands on keyboard

This is the second in a series by lawyers on how they use social media for professional and personal development. Ed.

Social media is a blessing and a curse for those, like me, who use it frequently. The benefits of using social media well are considerable in terms of profile, influence and attracting work. Those that make the best use of social media clearly enjoy doing so, and that enjoyment and their character shine through in their updates. Enjoyment can be found in pontificating to an audience, participating in a community, the immediacy of social media, the (false) sense of omniscience, the serendipity of discovery and in the humour that pervades Twitter in particular.

The problem is that to do social media well is time consuming and requires either or both a natural facility and/or laser focus. If done badly, social media can cause serious and irreparable reputational damage. The more real danger, though, is that done badly social media is a colossal waste of time that could be far better spent.

This is the first in a series by lawyers on how they use social media for professional and personal development. Ed.

I confess to being rather tired of the endless articles about the merits of one social media platform over another. There is no conclusive answer to the question which is best; the best one can say is “it depends …”. That said, I think there is some merit in hearing how different people use the various platforms. Curiosity and an open mind can lead one to see things in a new light. So, without apology, here is my perspective.

I confess to being rather tired of the endless articles about the merits of one social media platform over another. There is no conclusive answer to the question which is best; the best one can say is “it depends …”. That said, I think there is some merit in hearing how different people use the various platforms. Curiosity and an open mind can lead one to see things in a new light. So, without apology, here is my perspective.

As an accountant who has spent almost his whole career building businesses – mainly start-ups – I really value good data, especially those predictive of future outcomes.

I have been active in building web-based businesses – businesses that “live” on the web, not just “use” the web – so they have to succeed on the web because there is no physical business presence.

However, in recent years I have become increasingly concerned about some of the data being collected on the web and then used to make important decisions. The reason for this is the issue I have with all data – it is easy to interpret a lot of data to mean what you want them to mean.