Lawyers and paralegals are likely using social media in law firm marketing and are most likely on social media in their personal lives. As such, they should understand how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest are affecting their cases, marketing, and ethical responsibilities. Many paralegals work with lawyers to create an attractive online profile that is updated regularly. Additionally, internal hiring and firing policies need to be adapted to ensure compliance with federal labor laws.
In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews Ethan Wall, lawyer and authority on the way social media interacts with the law. Wall explains the differences between the main social media channels, where a novice should start, and the posts you can and can’t consider when you are hiring or firing an employee.
- The effect of new technology on the law
- Facebook: the personal and family platform
- Twitter: to connect with people who have similar interests
- LinkedIn: for professional connection and profile
- Why you should care about Instagram and Pinterest
- Picking just one platform to start
- Using teamwork for social media management
- What’s illegal under the National Labor Relations Act
- What to specify on your social media policy
Don’t forget to stay tuned for Vicki’s News and Career Tips segment at the end of the podcast.
Ethan Wall is a social media law attorney, author, professor, consultant, and keynote speaker in Miami. He is a widely recognized authority on the effect of social media on the law. In addition to authoring two books on the subject, he writes a blog about the effect of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media on the law. Ethan has served as a source for social media and the law on several high profile news organizations, including CNN, NPR, and Thomson Reuters.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Boston University, NALA, and ServeNow.
Advertiser: Welcome to the Paralegal Voice, where you hear the latest issues and trends in the world of paralegals and legal assistance by one of the best known paralegals in the industry, Vicki Voisin. A paralegal for more than twenty years, Vicki is dedicated to helping legal professionals reach their goals. You’re listening to Legal Talk Network.
Vicki Voisin: Hello everyone, welcome to the Paralegal Voice here on Legal Talk Network. I’m Vicki Voisin, the paralegal mentor and host of the Paralegal Voice. I’m a NALA Advanced Certified paralegal. I publish a weekly e-newsletter titled, Paralegal Strategies. And I’m also the co-author of Professional Paralegal, a Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. There’s more information at ParalegalMentor.com. My guest today is Ethan Wall, authority on social media and the law.
Ethan Wall founded Social Media Law and Order to pursue his passion for educating, consulting, and training users on all areas of social media and the law. His legal and educational careers have parallelled the explosive growth and development of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. For 8 years, he worked as a social media law attorney, author, professor, consultant, and keynote speaker. He now serves as an adviser to leaders in both the legal and business communities as they seek to implement practical and ethical guidelines in their workplaces. According to Chambers USA, an international guide that ranks law firms and attorneys, Ethan has developed legal skills and knowledge that exceed has years of practice. So welcome, Ethan.
Ethan Wall: Thank you so much, VIcki, glad to be here.
Vicki Voisin: I’m very glad to have you. But before we begin I want to recognize our sponsors and thank them. That would be Boston University, offering online certificates in the paralegal studies. If you’re seeking a professional credential or you just want to further develop your skills, Boston University provides an affordable, high quality, 14-week program. Visit ParalegalOnline.bu.edu for more information. Our other sponsor is NALA, a professional association of paralegals providing continuing education and professional certification programs for paralegals at NALA.org. NALA is a force in the promotion and advancement of the paralegal profession. And then Serve-Now, a national network of trusted, prescreened process servers. When you work with Serve-Now, you 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. The goal of the Paralegal Voice is to discuss a wide range of topics important to the paralegal industry and share with you leading trends, significant developments and resources you’ll find helpful in your career and your everyday job. Guests are usually included to help explore timely topics. For that reason, I’ve invited Ethan Wall to be with me today. Now, Ethan, you really are the authority on social media and the law. So tell our listeners about the development of that passion and also more about Social Media Law and Order.
Ethan Wall: About 8 years ago, I was practicing internet and intellectual property law and I was speaking at a conference on the latest trends and trademarks, copyrights, patent, and intellectual property. Someone in the audience raised their hand and asked me about MySpace and Facebook. And I thought to myself, well that has nothing to do with intellectual property, social media is completely different. And then it dawned on me that how are thousands of attorneys who spend their time focusing on trademarks and copyrights, people have literally wrote the book on those subjects. But there was no one at that time who focused their practice on understanding how social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others, affect the law and affect the practice of law. So I decided to pursue that passion and study over the last eight years the effect of these new technologies on the legal industry. And as a result of that, I’ve now authored 3 books on the effect of social media on the law. I teach social media and the law at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I opened up the world’s first social media law firm, and I pursue my passion through my company, called Social Media Law and Order, which is all designed to help paralegals, lawyers, law firms, and those in the legal industry learn how social media is affected their cases, their ethical responsibilities, their litigation cases, and how to use it in the practice of law.
Vicki Voisin: Well, Ethan, that certainly is timely, a trend; something that I think you’re probably one of the first to realize the importance of social media and a law practice. Now I consider Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – although you just mentioned MySpace – to really be the big three of social media. I’m just wondering if you agree. And how would you describe the first one? Because they’re all different.
Ethan Wall: I absolutely agree that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are currently what we call the big three social media platforms. And that means more people spend time on those social media platforms than anyone else. But the points you mentioned, Vicki, about MySpace, is so interesting. And that’s because about 6 years ago, MySpace was one of the most widely visited websites on the entire planet. Now it’s relatively obsolete with the exception of children and people in the music industry. And we’ve moved onto different, new platforms like FaceBook and Twitter and LinkedIn, but also new ones like Instagram and SnapChat. So what’s so interesting about social media is that technology advances faster than the law can adapt. So we’re always trying to catch up and find out how can we apply existing laws and rules to these new technologies. Even though Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the big three, they serve completely different purposes. And a lot of times, lawyers, and sometimes paralegals, might not be too familiar with social media kind of clump it together as if it’s one type of tool. But that’s a mistake because each platform is so different from the next and serves a different purpose. I’d say that the purpose of Facebook is a way for people to connect and share with their personal networks. People who they know from school or family or the community, but also professionally. And that’s because we typically won’t add someone as a friend on Facebook unless they know them; so it’s a very personal, social media platform. It’s something we share, not only professional information, but what we’re doing, what we like, what our families are all about and what we enjoy. So it’s a complete 360 platform. Twitter, on the other hand, is different. Meaning, the purpose of Twitter is not necessarily to connect with people you know, but instead to connect with people who share your same interests. Meaning when I tweet @EthanWall about social media and the law, I use a hashtag named #SocialMediaLaw. So I can find other people out there who are also interested in that same subject matter and we share articles and information and new ideas about this topic. But I might not necessarily know them. So Twitter is a way for me to expand my network and share ideas and have conversations with people outside of my personal network but who share similar, personal, and professional interests. And LinkedIn, of course, is completely different from the two. LinkedIn is more networking and less social in the world of social networking. So it’s an online professional profile that offers much more limited personal interaction than Facebook. And professional interaction, it’s both our online resume, where we can share articles or information about our practices or cases. So each platform offers something new and unique and is different from the next.
Vicki Voisin: Social media is a really valuable resource for lawyers and law firms. First of all, it’s free. It’s a great marketing tool. So I’d like for you to explain that marketing tool and how law firms and lawyers can use it to their advantage.
Ethan Wall: Well, you couldn’t be more correct, Vicki. Social media is a valuable resource, especially for marketing, and that’s because everyone these days seems to be on some form of social media, including my mother. And I know this because this morning, I posted on Facebook how excited I was to talk to you today. And Vicki, my mom liked my Facebook post and she commented on it and she wrote, “Ethan, I like this post.” And I laughed to myself because one, it demonstrated the power of social media and that is everybody that’s out there is on it. But it also demonstrated that not everybody knows how to use social media effectively and correctively for marketing purposes. So my mom both liked the Facebook post and commented when you really have to do one or the other. And lawyers are the same way, meaning there’s such incredible opportunities for lawyers to connect with such large online networks for marketing purposes. Facebook is the most lively visited website on the entire planet. People spend more time on Facebook than they do Google, Yahoo, or any other website that’s out there. And so it’s such a powerful tool for both attorneys and law firms to share information about themselves and their firm and their practice where people are already spending their time online. And in today’s environment, if someone was to find out about me and say, “Who’s Ethan Wall?” And they didn’t know me, what are they going to do? Of course, they’re going to put me into a Google search. But what Google produces these days, in addition to finding my website is it’s going to show my Facebook page, my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter profile. And so it’s so important for me to use these social media tools as a way to promote myself both to people who are spending time on social media, but also for people who are just searching on the internet because these sites are so powerful. Google wants to be helpful to people and provide this information to them as well. And so some law firms, if they are marketing directly to consumers, can use social media for actual advertising. But for those of us who don’t use it for direct client advertising can still benefit by sharing articles that we write, linking people back to blogs on our law firm website, sharing speaking engagements or pictures of us doing community service events. And what that does is it helps us to stay on our clients’ and potential referral source’s radar screens. Because not everybody needs to hire a lawyer at all times, but what we want as a attorneys and what we want as law firms is to be top of mind. So when someone needs help or someone you may know needs help, they’ll think of us, and social media allows us to stay on everyone’s radar screen by sharing updates about our practice and what we’re doing.
Vicki Voisin: First of all, you just mentioned Instagram and Pinterest. But we both agree that the big three, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, everybody should use those sites. But do you think that Instagram and Pinterest are going to take over the same way Facebook took over? It didn’t replace MySpace but it had a different kind of people who were on it. I think the younger people moved away from MySpace and into Facebook and now I think they’ve moved on to Instagram or Pinterest or SnapChat. What do you think? Are those going to take over or are we still going to be able to do what we’re doing with the big three?
Ethan Wall: Instagram or Pinterest or SnapChat aren’t going to take over Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And the reason that it’s not is because those sites are different. They serve a different purpose, meaning on Instagram or on Pinterest, I can’t create a robust profile like I can on Facebook or LinkedIn, so they serve a different purpose. The way I like to think about it, Vicki, is that social media is like a golf club to a golfer. Meaning when a golfer wants to go hit a ball off of their tee, they’re going to look at their bag and see many different clubs. And they’ll see that a driver can hit the ball 200, 300 yards; or in my case, maybe 75 yards way off to the right. But their sand wedge is built for something different. It’s built for chipping a small shot that might be a hundred yards away out of the sand. And my putter also serves a different purpose as well, so I never hit my ball off the tee on a par four 300 yard course with a putter. I would pick a different tool. I’d select a driver. And by analogy, a chef also has different tools at their disposal when they’re preparing a meal. Meaning, I have these different tools like a butcher knife, a spatula, and tongs, for example, or a spoon. But each one of those serve a different purpose to accomplish a different objective. And social media is the same way, meaning I wouldn’t use Instagram the same way that I would use Facebook. So let me give you an example of how Instagram and Pinterest might be used for law firm marketing because I think it does serve a purpose, but not for everyone. So if I’m the general counsel of a large Fortune 100 company and I needed to hire an attorney or a law firm to handle my multi-million dollar security case. I’m probably not going to find that attorney on Instagram, and I certainly wouldn’t search for that attorney on Instagram, so it might not be a good marketing tool. But on the other hand, maybe I’m a personal injury law firm and my marketing is done to clients who get into car accidents. I might use Instagram as a way to share interesting statistics about car accidents in the area, or sharing short quotes about what your rights are when a police officer pulls you offer on a stop. Or I might share helpful information through images about how to stay safe while driving during a rainy season. So since I know that people are going to be using Instagram and I know that people are getting into car accidents, that’s helpful for me to use Instagram as a tool to stay on top of people’s minds and to have my law firm information desk, that might work. Now, the other one you mentioned is really important, and that’s Pinterest. Why is Pinterest so important for law firm marketing? It’s important because Pinterest is the most popular social media site for women. More women have used Pinterest at a faster rate than any other social media platform. And so if I want to market my services to women – and of course I do because women are leaders in the business community these days – it’s important for me to share my blog and my social media law content on Facebook and LinkedIn but also on Pinterest as well. So as women and other people who use the Pinterest platform are searching for social media related issues, they’re going to find my pins and my pin board and it will ultimately link them back to my site. So I think that those social media platforms are a more niche platform. It won’t take over Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, but it does serve a good purpose depending upon what a lawyer or law firm’s practice is and what their goals are for marketing.
Vicki Voisin: Those are great analogies, I really liked that. But also, just confirms what I have always known is that making the decision to participate in social media can be really confusing. You have a law firm or a lawyer trying to decide, “Should I be on Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn? What should I do?” It is confusing, you’ll have to admit that. Where would you suggest that they start right at the beginning?
Ethan Wall: I think if a lawyer is going to be dipping their toe into the water and starting social media for the first time, I think they should pick one platform and focus on that one only. If there’s going to be one platform that I’m going to recommend generally without knowing a specific lawyer situation, I think the best place to start is LinkedIn. And the reason why LinkedIn is a great place for attorneys to start using social media is because it’s a completely professional online platform. It allows lawyers to share information about where they work, where they went to school, the types of practice areas that they have, articles they’ve written, and organizations that they’re part of. Many attorneys are scared to use social media because they’re worried about, “What if somebody posts something about me that’s unprofessional? What if somebody wants to connect with me in an inappropriate way? And how do the complicated lawyer advertising ethics rules apply to my social media use?” And a lot of those issues come up in the context of Facebook where someone has the ability to post something on your timeline or they may share things with people who are not your clients that you’re worried might violate the advertising rules. But LinkedIn is different. Unlike Facebook which is mostly personal, LinkedIn is mostly professional. So it’s a much safer environment for attorneys to begin using social media and you’d be able to create a social media profile within 20 minutes to an hour of your time. And even your paralegals are very familiar with using social media. So it’s a fantastic way to have your paralegal tell you what LinkedIn is and how it works and how it could be done. They can even help you to update your status updates or update your profile with new information if you’re not very technologically savvy. So I think generally speaking, LinkedIn is the safest platform for an attorney to use. Now if an attorney is very comfortable on Facebook and they already have built up a lot of Facebook friends and they haven’t used another platform before, it might not be a bad idea for that attorney to start using Facebook for marketing because they’ve already generated a number of friends and therefore, a good, trusted audience. So it depends upon what the attorney wants to do. But if I was just going to recommend one social media platform which is a good place for an attorney or a law firm to start marketing, LinkedIn might be a very safe and good first step.
Vicki Voisin: Ethan, it’s time to take a break to recognize our sponsors, and when we come back we’ll continue this discussion.
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Vicki Voisin: Welcome back to the Paralegal Voice. I’m Vicki Voisin, and my guest today is Ethan Wall, authority on social media and the law. Ethan and I have been discussing various social media platforms and the one thing I wanted to ask you, Ethan, is that I know that the secret to successful use of social media is to be consistent. For instance, you can’t just set up your LinkedIn profile or set up your Facebook page for your law firm and that’s it. One entry every once in awhile isn’t really going to accomplish the purpose. So how do you avoid spending too much time being consistent? And also, is this another area where paralegals might assist an attorney?
Ethan Wall: Absolutely, Vicki. Figuring out how to manage social media within our already busy schedules is a pretty difficult task. Many attorneys have billable hours, demanding clients, a rigorous court schedule. You might be managing your own firm, and of course, there’s life outside of the law practice that we need to manage. And let’s face it, no one’s going to sit back at the end of life and say, “I wish I spent more time on Facebook or Twitter or in front of my computer.” So we want to make sure that we use social media effectively for marketing without spending too much time on it. So there are many tips that attorneys can employ to use social media more effectively for marketing such as scheduling a 15 minute block of time during your morning coffee to share content, interact with others. Or, as you recommended, getting your paralegal involved could be the key to success. So one of the most successful strategies that I find for attorneys is to use that same teamwork that you have with your paralegal in the office and extend that teamwork to social media which might be – the attorney will say, “I want to share updates about employment law and how we can help employers manage social media in the workplace and I’ve written this great article and I have all these different tips that I could share. But I don’t really have the time or the knowledge to do so.” Well, guess what? You team up with your awesome paralegal who knows these platforms a little bit better and they can take your article or take your text and create social media posts for them and schedule those posts on your behalf. And then, you might use that 15 minute block of time each day to interact with people who comment or like your social media posts. So just like a litigation strategy where an attorney will say, “I think we want to conduct discovery on these witnesses,” and you have your paralegal draft discovery or conduct investigation or help to prepare some written discovery documents; the same process and work in social media. The attorney may dictate a type of content or the amount of content that you have and your paralegal can help you make that into an effective social media post. It can create the content for you, but you, the attorney, really have to interact with your network as well. Because, as Vicki said, you can’t just create a platform and post every once in awhile and expect something to happen. Why not? The same analogy for social media. Also works with a networking event, meaning, let’s say that you show up at your business networking event and you say, “Hello, I’m here. I have arrived and I could help your business manage social media use,” and then there’s dead silence. And then maybe 20 minutes or an hour later, you say, “Here’s a great tip on how you can manage employed social media by having a social media policy. There are many benefits to having it, check out my blog to learn more,” and then there’s more silence. Obviously, that wouldn’t work. People would be looking at you saying, “Who is this person in the corner of the room announcing who they are and every once in awhile sharing something but not talking back, not having a conversation?” You’d be kicked out of there faster than you can get there. It certainly wouldn’t generate any business. So the key to a successful social media presence is to have constant communication, is to share periodic updates. And it doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be every hour. But you want to share regular information so that people know you’re the authority on the subject. And you also want to interact with people who comment and ask questions. Having that online and working with your paralegal in helping you set the right social media strategy, or working with a social media marketing consultant who could help you and your paralegal crack the right type of plan, will help you manage social media in your already busy schedule and use it in a way that can generate new clients for you and your firm.
Vicki Voisin: Again, terrific analogy. I can just see the guy standing in the corner shouting out once in awhile that he’s there, and it’s very funny. Ethan, we’re going to talk about ethics before we’re done today, but I’d like to move on now and be sure that we discuss information for our listeners about the National Labor Relations Act and how it does apply in the social media arena. So tell us a little bit about that.
Ethan Wall: The National Labor Relations Act is a federal law that provides employees with the right to engage in certain conversations that are protected under the law. What a lot of people think that the National Labor Relations Act only applies to people in unions, but that’s not the case. In fact, the law applies to most private sector companies all across the country. What it basically says, in a nutshell, is that employees have the right to talk amongst themselves and with third parties about the shared terms and conditions of their employment. About how the managers treat them, about their pay, about their working conditions. And the law says it might be illegal for an employer to fire someone based upon having those protected conversations, even if it shows the company in a negative light. And what is so important to know is that the National Labor Relations Act protects conversations amongst employees, both in the real world but also on social media. Meaning the same conversations that are protected around the water cooler are also protected in a Facebook post or in a series of tweets, or through comments by employees on Instagram. And so it’s so important for people to know how this federal employment law applies to social media use and so that you don’t fire someone over Facebook in a way that can get you in serious legal trouble.
Vicki Voisin: I assume that employees can be fired if they break these rules. There are rules in this act that there are certain things they can’t do. Is that correct or am I off the wall on that one, Ethan Wall?
Ethan Wall: You’re absolutely right.
Vicki Voisin: No pun intended!
Ethan Wall: Sounds like a great name for a podcast! Yes, employees absolutely can be fired for posting certain types of things on social media. So the question is, what can you be fired for and what can you not? And more importantly, what type of rules are allowed in place and which ones are not? So the first piece of advice that I have for any employer is that you have to have a social media policy. A social media policy tells employees what they can or can’t do on social media. It says these are the types of posts that can get the company in trouble and can get you in trouble. And these are the types of things that you can say that are okay. Now, one problem that employers have is they want to implement rules inside a social media policy that might sound reasonable to protect the company, but in fact, they violate the National Labor Relations Act. For example: rules that prohibit employees from discussing their wages or communicating with the media or a rule that says, “Statements that are slanderous or detrimental to the company are prohibited.” Or even a rule that says employees can’t disclose confidential information. Those sound like reasonable rules that are contained within many social media policies. Each one of those rules violates the National Labor Relations Act, and this is a big surprise for companies out there because they think that it’s in the company’s best interest for people not to talk about their pay or not to speak to the media or not to say bad things about their managers or supervisors or not to reveal confidential information. But the problem is that those rules are so vague that while they might stop employees from sharing a trade secret or customer information – which employers do have the right to control – because it doesn’t specify what’s confidential information or what’s the negative post about the company also infringers on an employee’s right to engage in protected conversation about their employer. So you can’t have a rule that says employees can’t share confidential information because that’s too vague. But you can have a rule that says employees can not disclose confidential information which includes – but is not limited to – customer information, medical information, trade secrets, or other confidential business information about the company. And by making that rule more specific, we now provide the context for what we mean by confidential information. And therefore it’s clear, it doesn’t infringe on employee’s protected activities. So it’s very important to make sure that not only do you have a policy but that it is reviewed and audited and revised in a manner that complies with the National Labor Relations Act. So you can set forth the right type of rules to manage your employee’s social media use, but it’s not so broad as to get you in trouble. Now, Vicki, earlier you said, “Can’t I fire someone based upon things they put on social media?” And the answer is absolutely, so long as it doesn’t violate federal law or state law. So what are some examples? Assuming that there’s no contract that might prohibit this, you can probably fire somebody if they’re posting pictures of them partying and drinking or smoking marijuana or saying racial slurs or maybe just posting things that are inappropriate. If you are located within a state that is an employment at will state and therefore you can fire someone for no cause, it might be appropriate to fire somebody over those things. But you’ve got to be very careful about what the context is. Because maybe your knee jerk reaction is to fire an employee because they’re posting a rant about the company on social media. But it might be part of a protected conversation that occurred somewhere else, so it’s so important to
Vicki Voisin: The Bottom line is they might not be able to fire them, but they certainly, probably wouldn’t hire them. And companies are checking those Facebook pages when it’s time to hire people or when people apply for a job.
Ethan Wall: That’s true. And in fact, this is another quagmire that companies find themselves in because let’s think about this: On the one hand, companies have to research their applicants before they hire them. If they don’t and the employee later harms somebody based upon what the employer should have learned about, the employer might be liable under a law called negligent hiring, which means the employer should have known that the employee was going to engage in that harmful activity. And therefore, employers should be conducting background checks or searches on their applicant’s social media before hiring them. But there’s a legal risk. And that is, the moment that an employer reviews someone’s Facebook page, they become exposed to certain information like the applicant’s marital status, religious views, whether they’re straight or gay or their sexual preferences. They might also learn about whether they’re a member of the military, whether they have some sort of disability that would not be clear just based upon a normal application or interview. And that information is protected under the law, meaning federal antidiscrimination laws prohibit an employer from making a hiring decision based upon that protected information. So once an employer searches someone’s social media, they become exposed to that information, and if they don’t hire that employee based on that information, they can be sued under federal antidiscrimination laws. So what companies need to have is a social media hiring policy. One that says, “We’re going to conduct searches in a non-discriminatory way on social media in a manner that complies with federal antidiscrimination laws and also satisfies our responsibility so that we can’t be sued for negligent hiring.” And it’s a tough balance for companies to find, having that right policy in place is absolutely necessary these days so that companies can weed out those employees that you talked about that might be posting inappropriate things on social media.
Vicki Voisin: Okay, I totally understand and that makes a lot of sense. The policies are the bottom line, you’ve just got to have them. And I don’t think a lot of people realize that they do need all of that. We’re just about out of time, but I’m wondering if today – the information you provided has just been fantastic, and I have a feeling that people are going to want to get in touch with you and perhaps get copies of the books that you’ve written. So can you tell them how to do that? And tell them a little bit more about the books.
Ethan Wall: Of course. The first thing to do is to visit SocialMediaLawAndOrder.com. All in that website, you can find books and blogs and lots of other educational resources about what we talked about today. So on the website, you can request complimentary copies of two of my books. The first is called The Social Media Guide for Lawyers. This book covers tips for how lawyers and law firms and even paralegals could use social media in a way to market to new clients while at the same time complying with the ethics rules. The Social Media Guide for Lawyers includes a how to guide, set up a Facebook or a LinkedIn profile, tells you how to tweet, how to use privacy settings, and provides best practices for lawyers and law firms to use social media for marketing while complying with the ethical rules. The second book is called Should You Fire over Facebook? A Primer on Protected Social Media Activity in the Workplace and Best Practice Guide for Managing Employee Social Media Use. So Fire over Facebook explains what is the National Labor Relations Act. How does it apply to employee’s social media use? What type of social media use is protected, and what is not protected under the law and what work rules are okay to have and what work rules might violate federal law. It also includes best practices for implementing a social media policy as well. So at SocialMediaLawAndOrder.com, you can request complimentary copies of either books. There’s a link directly on the site, and you can also visit TheSocialMediaFirm.com. That website is the world’s first social media law firm, and you’ll find a ton of educational resources on how Facebook and Twitter affect the law, how social media applies to antidiscrimination law and hiring and firing and a ton of other education resources as well. And you’ll also find the Social Media Law Firm Blog that provides invaluable information about how you can manage employee’s social media use in the workplace and how federal employment laws apply to social media use.
Vicki Voisin: Ethan, thank you for joining me today. I so appreciate the information that you’ve shared and I really think that we’ll see an uptick in paralegals assisting attorneys with their social media presence, I would like to see that. So thanks again.
Ethan Wall: Thanks so much for having me, and hopefully you and I can be friends on Facebook.
Vicki Voisin: Absolutely, I’m going to do that as soon as I’m off this podcast. Let’s take another short break now. Don’t go away because when I come back, I’ll have news and career tips for you.
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Vicki Voisin: Welcome back to the Paralegal Voice. This is the time that I share news and practice tips with you. And my tip for today is to be sure to check with your employer to see if there is a social media policy in place. If there is, you must understand what you could post. Even though the policies may be in place, there are just some common sense rules for you. I want you to always remember that social media isn’t a game, it’s a pretty serious part of your life. The posts that you put up there are there forever, and they really can affect your friendships, your family, your employment, and both now and in the future. So just be careful. Always think – and this is what I always do: would you want your mother to see what you have just posted? And if you wouldn’t, you really shouldn’t have it up there. That’s a very simple rule unless you’ve got a very liberal mother; so there, I don’t know how that would go. The other thing that I would suggest is you do not post pictures of you at parties. I’ve always tried to keep alcohol out of the pictures, just because I believe that all of those things that you put up really do go into people’s opinions of you. And in order to keep high, keep your reputation in tack, just be careful what you’re posting. That’s the practice tip for today because it’s really going to affect your employment now and in the future. So that’s all the time we have today for the Paralegal Voice. If you have questions about today’s show, please email them to me. That would be [email protected]. And also, don’t forget to check out my blog, that’s ParalegalMentor.com/blog. And the resources that I’ve made available to you and there at my website, which is ParalegalMentor.com, have been designed them to help you move your career in the right direction, and that’s always forward. This is Vicki Voisin, thanking you for listening to the Paralegal Voice, and reminding you to always make your paralegal voice heard.
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Thanks for listening to the Paralegal Voice, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join Vicki Voisin for her next podcast on issues and trends affecting paralegals.
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