Are emojis devolving us back to hieroglyphs, or adding needed emotional context to our communications? In this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss emojis and gifs and the implications of their use in the legal profession. They talk about how helpful pictorial language can be in adding nuance and emotion to written word, give a primer on emoji/gif literacy, and discuss legal industry applications. In their second segment, they explore the definition of podcasts and consider how things may be changing for podcasters.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for the answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and TextExpander.
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Emojis and Gifs: Pictorial Language Implications in Law
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode #235 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we would like to thank our sponsors.
Thanks to TextExpander for sponsoring our show. Communicate Smarter with TextExpander. Gather, Perfect, and Share Your Knowledge. Recall your best words instantly and repeatedly. Learn more at textexpander.com/podcast.
Dennis Kennedy: And we would also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted, prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.
In our last episode we paid homage or homage as your preference might be to all the resources at cool-tools.org in our favorite Cool Tools Podcast, and in the process gave our listeners some of our favorite cool tools, both tech and non-tech. It was a lot of fun to record and we recommend that episode to you.
In this episode Tom shocked me recently by answering questions in our Slack channel with short animated videos. I decided that we needed a podcast to find out what the heck was going on.
Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will not necessarily be talking about short animated videos, we will be talking about emojis and emojis and GIFs or GIFs whichever you fall down on and we are going to talk about that today, what pushed me over the edge sort of to join the millions of users, other than Dennis apparently, who routinely use these tools as part of their communication with others.
In our second segment we are going to discuss the definition of the word podcast and what that word might come to mean in the future, and as usual we will finish up with our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observations that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, pictorial language in communications and here we are talking about emojis and emojis GIFs, GIFs, whatever you are going to call them; I am going to come out with what I call them shortly, but right now I am using both terms.
Increasingly people are communicating in characters other than written text, even in legal documents, and we ask the question is this a good thing? What does it mean for lawyers? It doesn’t mean anything for lawyers. You know we like to take on new topics that may or may not apply to the legal profession. These are the types of questions we have been asking lately in The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast offices.
Dennis, other than that you lead an isolated life when it comes to pod culture, which I don’t necessarily believe, what got you interested in this topic?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, one day I am just sending a message to you on our Slack channel and I get this thing back, it’s a little animation, and I am not sure whether the first one was Vladimir Putin, but that one came pretty quickly, and so this little repeating image with the caption on it that expressed your response to whatever comment I was making, and it wasn’t just once, it was like one after another.
And I noticed that people use a lot more emojis these days and they have moved beyond the classic ASCII emojis that I was used to, to this whole set of different emojis and what got me thinking about it was that, and then also who the heck took over Tom that all of a sudden he was throwing these videos at me.
Tom Mighell: I guess we need to kind of set the ground rules and explain everything and what we are actually going to be talking about. Let’s really talk about the terms of engagement. Let’s say first off the bat that neither of us are experts on any of this. I am not the emoji expert, nor will I ever be, but I do appreciate it and I do have fun doing it and I enjoy talking about this subject.
So let’s kind of talk about what each one is. So I think Dennis the ASCII figures that you were talking about or call them emoticons, that’s what we are used to in the past, they are the smiley faces, the frowny faces, they are the wink that you use with the semicolon, things that by today’s standards are fairly primitive, because now you can get what is called the emoji; that’s kind of the evolved emoticon. It’s not just smiles; it’s tons of facial expressions. There are common objects that you have as emojis, pizza and ice cream and Christmas trees and all sorts of things, places, flag, symbols. There is an actual Unicode site that will give you a list of all the emojis currently in existence; there are 1,719 emojis that are officially in use today.
And emojis are frankly, I am not sure they totally belong on this list, they are really just for those of you who use iPhones. And emojis are emojis that respond to your facial expression, so you can display a picture of a pig to someone, you can talk through your phone, and it looks like you are like a pig talking with your voice, it’s just hilarious.
And then I suppose the last one and what I guess got Dennis started on this is the idea of the GIF or the GIF, and we will talk a minute about that pronunciation controversy, which is simply an image format, another way to store picture, but someone figured out long ago how to animate one of these images, which essentially looks like a short video that’s on an endless loop, and it’s a very short loop, but it continues to go around and around and around. It makes a point. It’s usually someone saying something and it’s used to convey an emotion, convey some words that you wanted to say and to actually do something more interesting than just putting graphic text out there.
Did I set the table well enough for you Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: I think so. So the idea with the GIF would be that there’s a little video of me saying, seriously Tom, and then it would just like loop over and over again and I would send that in a message?
Tom Mighell: That’s the idea of it, but it’s even more fun if I can send you a picture of Vladimir Putin or some celebrities saying, seriously Tom over and over again in a loop. If you wanted to say seriously Tom or duh or something like that, it makes the point more clearly if you go out and find someone who said it somewhere in a TV show or a movie or somewhere else and someone has made a GIF out of it, and that’s what really conveys the message.
Dennis, if I got one from you, not the same impact.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay. So this all goes to the notion and says hey, when all we get is a text, especially a short text or a tweet, it’s decontextualized from the person who is saying it. So if there is nuance in that or there is irony or any other emotion for that matter, we just can’t tell that from text on the page. And so the original emoticons and now everything that we are doing now is an attempt to kind of add clarity or to add that emotion to it.
And it can be a tricky thing, because in some context I will do something like hey, really nice job on that, and I will get an instant message back that says, what are you saying, do you mean I did something terrible? And you would be like, I don’t know, that’s not what I meant, at least this time.
So I think there is that notion of saying let’s give it a little bit of context. Let’s try to explain what’s happening. And sometimes I think it works really well Tom, but as we noted, even with the emojis, it is sometimes really hard to figure out like what the heck the emoji is meant to be saying to you, and you do sometimes feel like you need that little cheat sheet of the 1,700 emojis.
Tom Mighell: Well, we will talk about that more in a little bit, because I have got a resource for you, but I think that’s the major disadvantage of using an emoji is I often can’t understand what someone is trying to convey.
And frankly, let me back up for a second, let’s get out of this, because I keep wanting to say either GIF or GIF and I need to just get this out of my system here about how it’s pronounced.
How do you pronounce it Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: I always have pronounced it GIF, even though I know the originator prefers GIF, and in the study I did I understand that the originator’s opinion of how it should be pronounced has been totally overwhelmed by usage, and so GIF is the way to go.
Tom Mighell: See, I cannot call it GIF, that’s just how I have always called it, I can’t do that, I can’t call it GIF, it seems unnatural to me. But you are right, the inventor says it’s pronounced GIF, but other people have come out and said we understand that the inventor says GIF, but he is wrong about what he invented, which I think is hilarious.
But then I think about it, because some of the reasoning about why it’s called GIF, some of the reasoning about it is that it was designed to be like peanut butter and it’s smooth as GIF and they said if GIF the peanut butter had never existed, it would have been called GIF. And to me that’s not persuasive, because guess what, there are words like gin and gist and giant and ginger, there’s tons of words that start with a gi that have a j sounds.
So I guess I am going to just say call it what you want. Whether you call it GIF or GIF, I don’t really care, I am going to call it GIF for the rest of this episode, and if people want to write in or tweet bad at me, that’s fine, but that’s what I am sticking to today.
Dennis Kennedy: You know it’s funny, it reminds me, I had a friend once, we had this debate about how someone else pronounced their last name, and so I called up that person’s voicemail and I came back and said I was actually right, this is what’s on the voicemail. And my friend said I can’t help it if she doesn’t know how to pronounce her own name.
So I think that there is an element of this where you are going like hey, the poor creator has said look, definitively this is what it is, and we are going like no, its overwhelming usage overrules you.
Tom Mighell: Let me come back to where I was before, which is the disadvantage. So I think that adding emotional nuance is a big advantage for an emoji, because I can show that I am laughing at something. I can show that I am winking it something. I can show smiling. I can show sad. I think one of the biggest mistakes that emoji has made is they haven’t come up with some emoji for sarcasm. I know that for years I have seen people online trying to come up with a SarcMark, something that shows sarcasm and I am really sad that we haven’t seen something like that yet.
But I will tell you there is, he gave me permission to say, I work with a millennial in my office who pretty much only converses with me in animated GIFs, and I understand what they are conveying about 75% of the time. Sometimes he sends an image that I just don’t know what he is saying, he won’t say that, and I think that it’s really hard to figure out what’s coming through some of the time.
I think emojis are also sometimes hard to understand when you string them together. I see on Instagram all the time, instead of describing the photo they have just posted, they post a string of emojis that supposedly mean something and frankly, there is a lot of skill to stringing together a series of emoji to actually form a phrase or a concept.
I have seen contests online where they put up a string and people are supposed to guess them. To me this leads to the fact that the biggest disadvantages is that emojis should never be a substitute for real conversation, and this is where I bring it back to the law folks, where it should never be a substitute for real conversation between legal professionals, between a lawyer and a client. Whether it should be used at all is something I think we are going to talk about in a minute, but I think that because of the fact that it can be misinterpreted or misunderstood that it shouldn’t be used in the context of a legal discussion.
Dennis Kennedy: So I will admit that for many years I have had the notion that you should be able to mock up contracts that come to you for review with emojis.
Tom Mighell: If you have a specific meaning attributed to a specific emoji and you have a key that says this emoji means this and this emoji means that, but if you put a trumpet in there somehow and nobody knows what the heck a trumpet means in this context, it’s not really helpful.
Dennis Kennedy: I think there is like an emoji, those like flashing red magic marker, no with an exclamation point of flash, I think that would be really great for contract negotiation.
We have looked at ways that people try to shorten communication over the years. And I was thinking about a very famous instant messaging acronyms article that we did a long time ago that was one of — I guess when we realized we could probably write a book together after we did this, where we thought we were incredibly clever and we used all these terms like BRB and stuff like that, sort of the same genesis that you were sending me these things and I was having trouble figuring them out.
So we wrote this article that was to me seminal in how lawyers might use those acronyms and I am guessing what may be — have you ever had anybody who has ever told you how much they love that article; I sure haven’t, but it was influential to me.
Tom Mighell: I thought it was a great article. I had a great time writing it.
Dennis Kennedy: So I think there’s that. And then let me Tom take your usual role as a curmudgeon to say, we have for thousands of years evolved the alphabet and this great way of communication to take us beyond the time of pictographs and hieroglyphics, and it seems like just a couple of years we are throwing it away and we are going back to interpreting drawings and pictures. Is this devolution or is this evolution?
Tom Mighell: I find it interesting that I am taking your usual role here, because I would say that in the right context an emoji is more of an evolution. You just spent time telling us about how your words can be misinterpreted because you cannot tell tone in the written text. But an emoji, a carefully placed emoji that everybody understands could affect that. You could put great job on this and put a big smiley face and that would eliminate all doubt that there was any type of skepticism or negativity that you had associated with that.
I am worried that they take over our language. I worry that younger generations begin to use them in place of good language. That’s been something that we have seen for many years now is the text generation, the grammar in text has grown considerably worse, because people are saving time putting in the letter “u” instead of “you” and grammar has just gotten much worse.
I can’t imagine that emojis would contribute to it in a worse way than the texting generation has had it. Used in the right way and thought of in the right way, it can have a positive effect. I don’t think it means the destruction or the end of the English language or of written text in any language frankly.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, the one thing that has kind of popped up is that we sort of assume that everybody has the same culture and the same approach and so these things really do have the same meaning, and I think that’s a tough assumption to make across cultures and across countries. And there have definitely been some issues about how a lot of the emojis seem to be White people, that sort of thing. So I think there is some nuance here that you sometimes have to think about.
And like I said, it could be that if you are known as a wiseacre or a smartass, if I may use that term, that the fact you use a smiley face, people are going to interpret as you mean not a smiley face. So it doesn’t really resolve everything.
I did notice one thing that does help Tom and the stuff that you sent me and we talked about this a little bit is that, I like when the GIFs actually have a caption, that way I don’t have to turn my sound on, which I usually have turned off anyway, just to see your comment, and so there’s that.
And then the other thing, as you say there is a lot of pop culture stuff and so some of it is, I just don’t get the references and some other people might not as well. So I think there are a few things there. I mean it’s sort of like when you have the inside jokes and it’s kind of like your team, I think this stuff can be really great and work well, but I think when it goes out in the outside world, not as clear-cut as other people think.
So I don’t know Tom, where and when would you use it and then how do you actually get started and find these things?
Tom Mighell: Let me back up real quick. Let’s back up for a second, because there’s actually a legal application to emojis that we haven’t discussed. I would like to use this to make the case for why someone should get started, so why someone should become more educated about emojis. And that’s the fact that emojis are increasingly becoming evidence in court cases. That in 2018 alone there were more than 50 court cases across the country that referenced emojis as evidence of some sort.
Now, according to Eric Goldman, who does a lot of great Internet law stuff out of California, they have all been immaterial to the outcome of the case, but I have to believe that’s only a matter of time. If a criminal sends a series of emoji instructing his or her accomplices in what to do, isn’t that going to be evidence, it’s really the contextual equivalent of a text message, and I would imagine that some use emojis instead of text because they don’t want to get captured.
There was an article talking about it where there was an actual case where someone put a crown and a high heel shoe and a bag of money, and someone said teamwork, make the dream work, with high heels and moneybag. And the prosecutors were saying that the message implied a working relationship between two people, where the defendants said that it could mean he was trying to strike up a romantic relationship. And the case may not have turned on that, but it was a matter of interpretation.
And so this is to me the case why if you don’t use them in your communication with your kids, with Millennials, with anybody, at least having an appreciation for them and knowing where to go and understand them I think is going to be important.
So I have sort of turned it back Dennis and say, where would you get started?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, this raised a thought with me. So what you are saying is that if I sent you say in the context of a criminal case that was like an emoji of cement shoes, the prosecutor might argue that that would be interpreted that I was supposed to dump somebody into the lake when I was really just referring to cement shoes?
Tom Mighell: Could have been a cement mixer and a pair of shoes and it would be up to you to prove that you weren’t talking about cement shoes.
Dennis Kennedy: And then the other thing that struck me is like wouldn’t it be said if like you were like one of the first people to get disciplined for — on the technology competence thing, because you weren’t up to speed on emojis and GIFs.
Tom Mighell: We need to give people the links to those emojis right now.
Dennis Kennedy: That would be horrifying.
Well Tom, here is what I know about these things. I know that I can hit a little emoji button on the keyboard — when the keyboard comes up when I am texting on my iPhone and that gives me like a whole bunch of options that I can choose. But the stuff you are doing with the GIFs, I have no idea. I know there are some actual resources to grab them, but maybe you can talk people through like if you want to use those things, where you find them and then how you throw it into your instant message.
Tom Mighell: The way that I do it frankly is to use the Google Gboard. So the Gboard keyboard has a GIF search engine that’s part of it and so you can choose to insert a picture or an emoji or a GIF and all you have to do is hit the GIF button and then a search engine pops up and it’s Google and you are searching for it. Now, that’s how I do it if I am going to send it in a text message or if I am going to send it on my phone, I use the Gboard.
Within Slack, when I have sent it before, sometimes within it before, unfortunately Slack doesn’t have the same — if I am doing it from my desktop, it doesn’t have the same ability to use a keyboard tool and so there is actually — and if you are not familiar with the site GIPHY or it might be GIPHY, G-I-P-H-Y, which is again to me another argument that it’s GIF because GIPHY sounds a lot better than GIPHY, is a site that stores animated GIFs and you can get them from that site. And Slack has a plug-in where you can just type /GIPHY and then you can search for a word and it will bring up a bunch of GIFs that you can choose and you can insert into your messages there.
Those are the main ways that I am aware of doing them. I know a lot of people who will just keep a site like GIPHY on their favorites and they will go search for it and they will just paste a link to the image into their text messages and they will do it that way. But those are the main ways that I am familiar with people finding it.
I think that finding a GIF keyboard for your phone is the easiest way and there are a couple of them out there. I still am a fan of the Gboard, I think it’s one of the best keyboards out there for either the iPhone or Android phone, but there are other keyboards that have GIF search capability as well.
Dennis Kennedy: And the Gboard keyboard, you are saying that’s an app, not something physical, right?
Tom Mighell: I believe it is an app for both iOS and Android. I don’t believe — I want to say it’s not — it may be built in on Android phones; it certainly isn’t on an iPhone, but it is an app you can download. But frankly, with iOS you can download dozens of types of keyboard, just go to the App Store and search for keyboard and you may find something that you like better than the Gboard.
Dennis Kennedy: And one last quick question and you can wrap it up, you can also create your own GIFs I assume, right?
Tom Mighell: Yes, and there are a bunch of different ways that you can make your own GIF.
Now, for example, on both iPhone and Android phone, you can take a series of pictures, you can use your own camera and take pictures and it will string together enough to make one of those short little videos that you can add text to and you can create your own GIF. Both your phones have the capability of making your own GIF.
That site GIPHY that I talked about, there are a number of others; if you just google GIF makers, you can go out and find sites that will make them for you. You can turn YouTube videos into GIFs if you want to, or at least portions of them. So there are a number of ways to do it, and it’s not too terribly difficult to put them together, depends on whether you want to use your phone, use your desktop or a combination.
So I think that the real last thing that I was going to say is there are two resources to look at. The first one if you really are a nerd for emojis is unicode.org. It’s the body that actually decides on the emojis that come out every year. And when we talk about different things, we are starting to see different emojis come out because of cultural things that are happening.
For example, in 2017 they debuted new mosquito emojis to talk about the Zika virus. So some of that emojis that are coming out have some actual relevance to what’s going on in the world around us. But at unicode.org/emoji, you can find all the emojis and the 1,700 that I talked about there.
If you want to learn more really about how to learn more about what emojis mean and how to interpret them, go to Emojipedia and you just type in and say, I want something that shows me Ireland and it will show you all the different Emojis that have something to do with Ireland. I thought it was really interesting, really something that is worth taking a look at.
I guess Dennis, real quick, big deal, little deal, no deal, we have been talking about it here for 20 minutes?
Dennis Kennedy: I don’t know, I think it’s a little deal. I do think that if you get really into this, maybe your next move would be to volunteer to translate some Egyptian hieroglyphics because you might have an aptitude for that.
Tom Mighell: So I think it’s a sea change for communicating. I think it really is representing how people are going to communicate differently. I think it’s bigger than a passing fad for lawyers, but not necessarily a huge deal. It’s something to pay attention to, it’s something to understand, especially if you have the type of clients that will communicate with others or with you this way.
Before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a break for a message from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Looking for a process server you can trust, ServeNow.com is a nationwide network of local prescreened process servers. ServeNow works with the most professional process servers in the industry, connecting your firm with process servers who embrace technology, have experience with high volume serves, and understand the litigation process and rules of properly effectuating service. Find a prescreened process server today. Visit www.serve-now.com.
Dennis Kennedy: TextExpander is a productivity multiplier. Lawyers love TextExpander, because with a short abbreviation or search, while typing, TextExpander can produce cover emails for invoices or signing instructions, insert templates for consistent meeting notes, perform accurate date math on-the-fly, and instantly present things you retype all the time. TextExpander runs on Macs, iPhones, iPads and Windows and works in any application. Visit textexpander.com/podcast for 20% off your first year.
Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. There has been a lot of discussion lately about podcasts, how successful they have become as a media channel and the move of the big streaming services as a podcast delivery system.
Our podcast is accessible on Spotify and you can actually get the latest episodes simply by asking your Amazon Echo to play The Kennedy-Mighell Report. However, podcast, the word, has always had a specific definition which might be in the process of breaking. We thought it would be good for a little refresher and to take a look at the future.
Tom, do you want to start us off?
Tom Mighell: So I think it’s best to start with the definition that was given by Dave Winer, who really invented the structure that enables the podcast to exist. And he defines the structure as a podcast is a series of digital media files made available over the open web through an RSS feed, and that’s really the key, RSS feed with something called an enclosure. Usually these media files are audio, but you can also distribute video as well as code this way.
So it’s really the RSS component, and what makes the podcast useful in this format is it can get to you easily, by you subscribing to it via an RSS feed. If you are using a podcast app like Overcast or Pocket Casts or even the Apple or Android generic version of the podcast app, you are using an RSS feed to go out and automatically find and download the most recent podcast that you have subscribed to and whatever was recorded.
But now that podcasts are really starting to catch on, or maybe I should say now that people are finding ways to monetize podcasts and literally everyone has a podcast, some companies are really looking to take that recorded content and provide it in different ways that may seem similar to, but actually fundamentally different I think from a podcast.
Dennis, do you really want to take it from here and describe kind of what’s happening?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, you get the streaming services that are either — and there is this sort of exclusivity notion. So you are finding shows that are more created for certain channels and then they kind of stay within their own system, and then in some cases there is no RSS feed.
And so the traditional way we have worked to discover things and to have — I mean the great thing about podcasts was always that you subscribed to them, then every new episode came to you automatically, and that to me was like a key feature of podcasts and then you could find them all and subscribe to them.
Now, I sort of feel that they are part of their own channels or systems, they are surrounded with their own advertising. Potentially you are listening is tracked more and it’s that sort of corporatization of podcasting and trying to kind of bring things together into these big channels that look like the old three TV networks.
Now, I think that the podcast networks have been an incredibly positive thing over the years, but I think now, as you look at the Spotifys and the others kind of having their own walled gardens potentially and maybe even have exclusivity.
So you just think of it as if the old days of podcasting were like the radio and you could get whatever stations that appealed to you. And then the Sirius and satellite radio came in and you had to pay for that and there was less content there or only content in that one place that you had to pay. And I think those of us who are sort of like early podcasters, that’s the part that we don’t like, because I think the whole nature of podcasting was that you had your own radio station and you could blast it out to the whole world and anybody could get it.
Now you are like wait, I have got to like figure out some way to get me on to Spotify or whatever and have that type of entertainment show with ratings and stuff in order to be heard, and that’s what I think people are lamenting, and especially if you lose the RSS piece, which to me is so essential.
So I don’t know Tom, if you have reactions to that, but that’s sort of how I come down these days on this trend.
Tom Mighell: Well, I think my only reaction to it is to kind of react the same way that Dave Winer did, which is that this is not an unexpected development, this is not something that we should be surprised about that people are looking for different ways to do things, I think we just need to make sure we are calling it what it is and what it is not, and what it is not is podcasting. And I think we need to be clear about that. And frankly, as long as we are clear about that and recognize what this is in contrast to what podcasting is, I think that that helps us better understand the nature of the business that this type of entertainment is starting to take and how it’s going to evolve over the coming years.
Dennis Kennedy: Right and I think there is that notion that if I tell people I am doing a podcast, that sort of means one thing and there is sort of just real element of freedom to it and creativity as opposed to if I am telling somebody hey, I am doing like a satellite radio show, which implies something very different in the structure, in production and what it’s designed for, which is a common denominator.
It has to be that a podcast typically could be for a very specific audience and that’s what I would hate to lose in the evolution that might be coming, and I am not sure it’s enough just to call something — maybe it is to say it just needs a different name if it’s not the same structure.
Well, now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: All right, so my parting shot this week comes in the form of an observation, and if you were paying attention to the news the week before we were recording this, you would have seen two different stories, both very interesting when taken together.
The first was where Amazon announced that they are opening up the Amazon Echo to healthcare organizations in order to allow you to give Alexa health information and receive health information from Alexa. They are trying to deal with all the HIPAA complexities and problems that might arise when you do that, but it wants to give you a better way of receiving your health information through your Echo that way.
Contrast that with an article about Amazon the same week that revealed that there are literally thousands of Amazon employees who are regularly listening to Amazon voice recordings in order to improve the product. When you say something to Alexa, it’s recording a portion of that and Amazon people are using it to improve the product. It’s something that we expect. It’s something that’s part of what you agreed to, whether you know it or not, when you started to use your Echo.
And it’s not a lot of text that people are listening to, but when you speak to it, they are listening to it in a way that they want to improve the product over time. And I think that’s great. I think that using your Alexa to get health information is certainly intriguing, but when you put these two things together, they make me very concerned that I want to make sure that thousands of people don’t have the potential to listen to my protected health information.
So I am hoping to hear more from Amazon over the coming months about how they are going to protect privacy and how they are going to make this new advance in using the Echo a more secure experience.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, maybe you can talk in the form of emojis and GIFs and then the Amazon people won’t be able to figure out what you are talking about, just Alexa herself.
So my parting shot is kind of an interesting one. So I saw this blog post on the SmallBizTrends blog and it said, ‘Knowing These 8 Secrets Will Help You Improve your LinkedIn Profile’, so I am all over that.
So I went to look at it and I will say that the 8 secrets, not very impressive, but at the end of the article is this absolutely amazing infographic called LinkedIn, the ultimate cheat sheet, and it’s really well done, has some — what the screen looks like, gives you some tips of what you need to do in each space, incredibly useful.
The post is by a guy named Michael Guta. It’s the SmallBizTrends blog. Like I said, ‘Knowing These 8 Secrets Will Help You Improve your LinkedIn Profile’, but look for the ultimate cheat sheet, very helpful.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode at tkmreport.com.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts. If you would like to suggest a topic, please go to bit.ly/2QNwhZu.
If you would like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us. We are available at LinkedIn and we have also got our own phone number with a voice message. We always love to get voice messages for our B Segment. Please call us at (720) 441-6820.
So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy, and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts. And we will see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.