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Thursday Mashup

1. Tweet Tweet

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I went to the PGH TweetUp last night at Verde, and met a lot of great new people and had a fun time! I am typically NOT comfortable with walking into a room full of people I don’t know and just “networking,” but everyone was super easygoing and friendly. It was so fun! And I’m excited about getting to know other people who are just as crazy about social media as I am!

I was so busy talking with people that I took few pictures. But I DID snap a picture of the birthday tequila, for one of the TweetUp attendees who was celebrating his 30th!

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Verde graciously offered a 20% discount on all gift cards purchased last night. I didn’t end up eating dinner there (but had a Paloma cocktail, and it was GOOD), so I did pick up a gift card so that Mr. Beez and I will be sure to stop by to sample the grub! I’m excited, because it looked super super delicious.

2. Holidays holidays

Holiday parties are in full swing right now, and my motivation has sunken to a record low. I have work to do, and it should be done timely and effectively. However, the temptation to skip out of work and go to the movies is KILLING me. I’m generally all-or-nothing. I get in to work, I work straight through with few breaks, and go home. I’m thinking maybe I should toss some other breaks in there to keep myself motivated. How do you deal with the wintertime blahs?

3. Poultry in the Mail

Looky here what arrived at my office yesterday. Yessssss.
Turducken
 

4.  Random photo I took last week of the view from Bankruptcy Court.

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NaBloPoMo day 3: Being a “Pro”

What do you consider yourself a “pro” at?

zebra-social-media-expertI’ve spent years thinking that it is presumptuous to declare yourself a “pro” at anything, and that instead it is up to others to identify and announce your expertise.  So I sat back quietly, waiting for someone to call me up and tell me how much they want me to give a presentation about all these things that I know.  THIS IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS.  People don’t know what you know unless you tell them.  Declaring yourself a “pro” at anything of course must be preceded by a lot of elbow grease, patience, and really gaining the expertise in your claimed area.  Then you tell people what you know about by writing about it, and helping people out whenever you can when they have a question of your area, and writing some more, and reaching out to the world and offering your expertise.  I’ve had to put my squeamishness over being presumptuous aside.  You won’t be recognized as an expert until you are an expert, and you show the world that you are an expert.

I’m a pro in two things:

1. Allegheny County local civil procedure. I rock the socks off this county’s local practice (bookmark this page because you will never see that phrase again).  My first 3 years in practice were spent at a small firm.  This was simultaneously the most stressful experience in the history of the universe, and also the absolute best thing for my career and comfort/familiarity with local practice.  When you work for a small firm, you are thrown RIGHT into the fire.  It’s not “sink or swim” because sinking is not an option.  Even though you are just barely a lawyer, you still are a lawyer, and you are representing people and their rights and interests.  Failure is not an option.  So you figure things out, sometimes you do things right, rarely do things turn out to be actually wrong, and almost all the time you get by with doing things not-quite-right-but-close-enough-that-it-gets-the-job-done-and-everything-turns-out-ok.

I’m lucky to practice in a county that is incredibly forgiving with local practice.  If something is not-quite-right, the court will still hear it.  And after thousands of hours of getting it almost-right, you start getting it actually right more and more often, and you go from wading in a fog to actually knowing how to do stuff. And that’s where I am now.  I know how to do stuff.

2. Blogging and law (but not Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog).  Holy cow, I’ve been blogging nearly eight years now.  And I’ve gone from a blogging college student to a blogging law student to a blogging lawyer.  And now my practice also incorporates the intersection between law and social media.  That intersection is staggeringly broad. It’s like saying “I am an expert in the internet.” It is so broad it is virtually meaningless.  My expertise is more specifically in defamation issues and discovery issues (i.e. when and in what circumstances can your social media content get dragged into a lawsuit).  I’m working on an article/presentation about social media defamation issues right now that I’m really excited about, details to come as it progresses!!

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The Etiquette of Photos

In the last few days I got in a bit of a dispute with a family member about pictures on the internet. Surprise, surprise, I have strong feelings about depictions of me and especially depictions of my kid on the internet.

There is no shortage of photos of my kid on the internet. More than one person has referred to my child as “The Kid with the Most Photos on Facebook.” I don’t mind pictures of her being put on the internet or facebook, but I do expect to be asked before such pictures are published online. 99.9% of the time I’ll say “Go ahead and post them!” but I still want to know, and have my wishes respected.

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Don’t go postin pictures of me without asking my Momma first!
(Although with a sneer like this, you might not want to take my picture at all!)

Despite a bachelorette party being the subject of a recent blog post, I am also highly particular of how I come across through text and photos on the internet. I am careful to keep photos of me tasteful and often professional. My photos are more casual on facebook, due to (not to be trusted) privacy settings, but not too casual (see the part about privacy settings not to be trusted).

I afford the same courtesies to friends as I expect them to afford to me. Often, I focus my photos and content on the experience itself. I won’t post a photo of someone else without asking first. Mentions of my companions are often very brief, or not present at all. I absolutely love my friends and have a blast spending time with them, but I am not going to subject them to their photos being publicly posted or writing about them publicly without clearing it with them first.

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This is so very especially true with photos of children. I usually try to take pictures so that other peoples’ kids don’t appear in the pictures at all. If there’s a cute picture with someone else’s kid in it that I’d like to share, it is essential to ask before posting. If I don’t know the parents well enough to feel comfortable asking, well then I simply do not post the picture. Some parents are very comfortable with sharing photos, and others do not want photos of their kids online at all. You must be respectful of the full spectrum of privacy preferences. Posting photos of other people and their kids online, without getting permission first, is a great way to get yourself uninvited from all kinds of social events.

What is your privacy level, when it comes to photos of you on the internet? How do you respect others’ privacy preferences?

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#BlogHer12 — in the full swing of things

Mr. Beez and I flew in to NYC yesterday, and started our visit with a storytelling performance by his friend (and her storytelling class) at the 3 of Cups. The $4 happy hour sangria, bacala bruschetta, and portabello pesto/asiago pizza were delicious, but I was really blown away by the storytelling. The performance included tales both comedic and somber, and all deeply personal.

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The calm of the story performance has been contrasted by the complete insanity that has been the BlogHer conference. The conference opened with inspiring words from our Commander in Chief.

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Mr. Beez and I also had a few drinks and snacks, and even tossed around a bowling ball, at the BlogHer parties last night.

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Today has been jam-packed with panels. I’ve been blogging since 2004, so I think I have a pretty good handle on how to produce content. It’s the technical and strategic side I need a lot of help with. The iPhoneography panel was the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. I got my iPhone back in January, and I haven’t used my digital camera since (mostly because it’s 5 years old, and technically inferior to the iPhone). The panel didn’t have the time to go through all the details of photo editing apps with a fine toothed comb, but I did get a good footing on where to start for some quick and dirty lessons in photo editing.

I also attended a panel on pitching to publishers, which was very interesting and informative. A lot of the bloggers here blog for money or sponsorships. I’m in a different boat, because, although our professional responsibility rules lag behind in specifically addressing the intersection of blogging and legal practice, blogging for money is an ethical can of worms I don’t care to deal with. Despite this big difference, I have met a lot of very nice people, and received a lot of business cards for blogs I look forward to reading.

Martha Stewart spoke during today’s lunchtime keynote, but I was still so overstimulated from EVERYTHING GOING ON that I don’t remember in the slightest what on earth she talked about.

There are 3 large expo halls which, likewise, are looking to set up review relationships with bloggers, or to even garner favorable publicity on their webpages. I’ve spent a little time wandering through the exhibitor halls, and taking pictures with REE DRUMMOND, the Lorax, and the Jimmy Dean sun guy (yes, the one from the commercial), and a Jamba Juice bananaman.

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My most valuable takeaway today has been that I really need to work harder on engaging with readers. Commenting and retweets are the currency of social media, and if I want others to read my thoughts, I need to work harder at reading and responding to theirs. I’ve felt a bit lost over the last few months, not entirely sure where to go to find interesting blogs in the MASSIVE space of the internet, but now with the heap of blogger cards at my side, I’ve got a good place to start.