Phil Brown, my fellow Law Society employee and practice management specialist, and I presented a three hour workshop on social media and the ethical issues lawyers might face in using it. The workshop was part of the 18th Annual Advertising and Marketing Law conference put on by The Canadian Institute.
We focused on practical advice when using the major social media sites, on blogs, and provided what we hoped were practical tips on using social media. The audience ranged from not being on social media to being on a number of sites but not fully enamored of it. The following paper provided some of the context, some checklists, and other information we thought might be useful.
Some of the questions we discussed included:
- How do you select which media will meet your networking, communication or information goals?
- Is there a difference between your personal accounts, used for professional reasons, and your company’s accounts, and is the ownership of the content or accounts clarified?
- What are the issues surrounding photo tagging by members of your network?
- Can lawyers distinguish a like from a more formal network connection?
- What are the implications of using a ghost writer, particularly in the oversight and advertising areas?
- Are your social media messages including metadata, such as location, that may provide more detail than you intended to share?
- At what point does sharing social media, whether a retweet or taking excerpts of content from another site for inclusion by reference in a blog post, mean that you have adopted the content message you are sharing?
- How do you warn social connections – on Twitter, in blog comments, on profile sites like Facebook and Google+ – not to share information prior to, or after, forming a lawyer/client relationship?
- When you create your online profile, what do you have to think about to avoid advertising and unverifiable claims in selecting your username or handle and creating your bio?