Monday, February 23, 2009

What Were We Tweeting When the Human Rights Lawyers Were Killed?

Advanced Topics in Twitter and Human Rights Law

Amidst this worldwide economic downturn, and in The Year of Twitter it is certainly understandable for us all to get excited about the inherent business potential of this new online social media.

However, although the practice of law is a business, lawyers have a particular responsibility to stand up for the rule of law – and for those lawyers who dedicate their professional lives to protecting the fundamental human rights of themselves and others.

Although I aspire to use Twitter to support Human Rights Lawyers more than I have, my work to do so has been an informative journey in advanced topics in using Twitter, particularly hashtags and retweeting.


Hashtags are a tool to help those using search together with Twitter to have a conversation on a limited topic. Hashtags are included in Twitter messages, and can be recognized with the pound sign attached (i.e. "#lawschool"). The Twitterer using a hashtag may seek to enter an existing conversation, or that person may seek to start a conversation on a particular topic.

The great thing about hashtags is that you can just make them up, once you follow the @hashtags Twitter user from and it will automatically will follow you back.

As I was working on developing the hashtag for Attorney Gao Zhisheng, I initially came up with “#zhng” or an abbreviation of his last name.

Now that I have seen hashtags such as “#americanidol” and “#oscaradwatch“ I realize there was little reason to abbreviate the name, and I have come to learn that popular terms without the "#" will also come up in hashtag searches, or Twitter Searches.

At the same time, the publications were referring to Attorney Zhisheng as “Mr. Gao” and I wondered if this was the same phenomenon I have never clearly understood that allows Ichiro Suzuki to be the only player in Major League Baseball to put his first name on the back of his jersey.

Whever the reason, I figured a “#gao” hashtag may personalize Attorney Zhisheng for American Tweeple, and make the effort to spread word of his situation on Twitter more effective.

However, I should have used the search function on to check before creating the hashtag, as another Twitter user had already used “#gao” in an unrelated way when tweeting about the Government Accounting Office (and their reports on the lack of paid health care benefits for U.S. Soldiers).


The other Twitter topic I got to know better in my quest to spread the word about human rights lawyers unjustly detained or killed was the art of asking others to "Retweet" my Twitter message. Although I'm not sure that all of the involved government and military officials are on Twitter, there have been a number of Twitter campaigns that have had a real world impact.

How to Retweet is best covered the Related Articles below, but in brief there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. You "ask" people who see your Twitter message to "Retweet" (or cut and paste and then re-post on their own Twitter page) by including "Pls. RT" in your message (i.e. Please Retweet)

2. Those who are kind enough to Retweet your message, do so with attribution, starting with "RT" or "Retweet" or "Tweet Tweet" and then the address from where they found this 140 character informational jewel (i.e. "RT @barrettdavid") before the text of the message.

3. You have limited Re-tweet capital, so spend it wisely. Folks who see your request may think to themselves, "what has s/he done for me lately" and opt to ignore your plea. As @guykawasaki says "We all want to be Retweeted."

4. You may have to educate your followers on what retweeting is, how to do it and why to do it.

As examples, I have listed my "Top Human Rights Tweets":

Nobel Contender Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Disappears - (pls RT) #zhng

Markelov Assassination Tied to Release of Budanov? - #mrklv (pls RT)

Markelov Killed For Human Rights Law Work - (Please ReTweet) #mrklv

(Pls ReTweet) Russia: Investigate Murder of Prominent Rights Lawyer #mrklv

BonnieRN: RT @barrettdavid Nobel Contender Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Disappears - RT) #gao

Related Articles:

How to Start a Twitter Hashtag

An Introduction to Twitter Hashtags

Hashing Through Twitter Hashtags -- a Look at Structured Conversation

Explore the Twitter Hashtag

The Art and Science of Retweeting for Twitteraholics

Retweet: The Infectious Power Of Word Of Mouth

How to Retweet

How to Retweet: Format and Convention

International Human Rights Law Resources

PROFILES IN COURAGE - China's rights defenders

Human Rights Watch, Stay Informed - Get action alerts, breaking news and updates

Beyond Obama’s Order to Close Guantanamo

International human rights law

Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

Interested to Discuss this Blogpost? - Connect with David Barrett on Twitter

ABA CLE Online Social Networking Gets Professional

Social Media for Lawyers Seminar Online Success

The American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Seminar, "Online Social Networking Gets Professional, the Pitfalls and Rewards" had a number of very pleased seminar/webinar attendees, and a considerable following on the social media website Twitter.

Seminar faculty set up a hashtag of #LPMSM for the online event, allowing another mode of communication for seminar attendees, and for other interested people to follow along and even participate without signing up for the entire seminar. At one point, @RealTimeTrends found the hashtag "#lpmsm" to be the #4 trend on twitter.

ABA CLE Online Social Networking “Top Tweets”

As partially tracked with the assistance of Tweetburner.

Connect with David Barrett on LinkedIn - #LPMSM

barrettdavid: Social Media Pitfalls: 5 Lessons Learned - #LPMSM

List of 350+ Social Networking Sites - #LPMSM

Find more social media information and links on The LinkedIn Lawyer #LPMSM

50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on - #LPMSM

@heathermilligan: $250,000 worth of patent work! via LinkedIn - #LPMSM

Professional Social Networking or "Facebook for Suits" #LPMSM

Twitter 101 for Lawyers - #LPMSM

Law Marketing on Ning - #LPMSM

To friend or Not to Friend – Social Media for Lawyers - #LPMSM

Twitter Basics for Curious Lawyers - #LPMSM

LinkedIn Lawyer Networking groups by practice area and location -

Social Media Marketing for Lawyers - #LPMSM

How Sociable is Your Brand Online? #LPMSM

Highlights from the “#LPMSM” hashtag Twitter Tweets during the Seminar

JDTwitt: 42% want to reach new clients with SM - biggest challenge: developing a strategy/ #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @stevematthews: blog is the hub for lawyers - every else pushed out to the networks. #LPMSM

barrettdavid: @tamerabennett - if you're losing ROI don't read every tweet - following more builds more new relationship opportunities #LPMSM

molecule18: #lpmsm Important to own yr domainname and website, for SEO purpose, as well as so not to be at the whim of Google,Wordpress etc...

heathermilligan: @barrettdavid - LinkedIn is a "relationship initiator" #lpmsm

matthomann: It's easy to learn how to use Twitter, but it's hard to learn why. Once you get it you'll move from skeptic to disciple overnight. #lpmsm

JDTwitt: @barrettdavid makes nationwide litigator referrals using LinkedIn - has largest network of attys on LI -"even modest newtork" good #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @barrettdavid to sum up: want to understand LinkedIN? Connect with David Barrett #LPMSM (join groups, associations, practice g's)

JDTwitt: @heathermilligan: Linkedin allows a small firm to make a big impact. "Have fun" Connect with colleagues, friends, former clients #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @stevematthews: Connect with as many relationships as you can, even childhood friends. Power of "who knows who" Again: join groups.#LPMSM

leahcdaniels: @JDTwitt Yep, LinkedIn is a relationship building tool that can be used to disseminate content which can lead to virtual referrals.#LPMsm

alinwagnerlahmy: #LPMsm @barretdavid: “ twitter great way to make and enhance relationships you have made on other sites”

barrettdavid: High quality Twitter posts are appreciated. Think before you Tweet. #LPMSM

alinwagnerlahmy: #LPMsm @heathermilligan "Twitter expanded my presence across country, world, practice area – building my reputation very quickly ...

nicolecaccamo: If you are using multiple SM sites - FB/Twit/LI create similar brand throughout to create a well-rounded & prof image of yourself #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @stevematthews: OK to display your professional work to personal network. Show people what you do. Opportunity for referrals #LPMSM

nicolecaccamo: RT @barrettdavid: Twitter is a local networking event without a particular time and location - always open, always on. #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @barrettdavid Facebook and Twitter connections aren't necessarily the same. OK to tether - have Twitter updates appear on Facebook #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @barrettdavid uses JD Supra app to stream documents from JDS to Facebook. "Connect one to another" #LPMSM

nancymyrland: I LOVE your 4 point 2.0 plan! :-) RT @heathermilligan: Here's my 4-point 2.0 plan.

JDTwitt: RT @matthomann Friends more likely to recommend you than colleagues who do same thing you do. Let friends see your professional side #lpmsm

JChristi: RT @stevematthews: "Write once, publish often." This is one value of social media/networking. Allows for presence in multiple places #LPMSM

barrettdavid: Individual Facebook pages and firm pages can work together to compound online presence - must be personal but professional. #LPMSM

eschaeff: RT @matthomann From my LTNY Presentation: Ten Tweets about Twitter #lpmsm

DebraTuomey: RT @JDTwitt: RT @barrettdavid What is a Ning site? Create your own social network for anything. #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @stevematthews distinguish between formal pieces of content (articles, case law, etc.) and then the informal conversation #LPMSM use both

JDTwitt: @davidbarrett: lawyers should think of social media participation the way you think of publishing. follow same standards. #LPMSM

barrettdavid: Is it worth paying for LinkedIn account? Absolutely. Pay for an account and delegate administrative tasks to staff. #LPMSM

barrettdavid: @lancegodard - Plan first, then pay for LinkedIn - need a plan to make it worthwhile, but if you have a plan is very valuable. #LPMSM

barrettdavid: @lancegodard - building relationships with referral attorneys and potential clients is more important than one communication. #LPMSM

barrettdavid: @lancegodard - building relationships with referral attorneys and potential clients is more important than one communication. #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @barrettdavid think of it like a party. No one likes guy at party who goes around saying "Hello I'm a lawyer, why don't you hire me" #LPMSM

barrettdavid: @claxtonlegal - Many aspects of difference between paid and free LinkedIn accounts - search results, # invitations, mail messages #LPMSM

JDTwitt: RT @SCartierLiebel Have social media plan to develop relationships. Give first. Be generous w/tools for others benefit. It comes back #LPMSM

JDTwitt: @stevematthews: Google yourself. Connects to everything. If you're saying nothing, that's your fault. SM participation allows control #LPMSM

stevematthews: RT:@matthomann Twitter is also a great way of incubating ideas that will later grow into a full blog post. #lpmsm Completely agree.

leahcdaniels: Attys have to be very careful about sending private DMs . Don't want to inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship. #LPMSM

molecule18: #LPMSM Thanks! Most fun CLE ever!

stevematthews: @fredabramson RT: "I practice under my name, I twitter under my name... my name is my "brand" Great approach, I think. #LPMsm

stevematthews: @fredabramson I don't think either strategy is 'wrong'. I just happen
to think investing long term in your name, is never a mistake. #LPMsm

heathermilligan: @jonlin98 I find that clients "interview" the firm, but "hire" the lawyer. Both brands are equally important. #LPMsm

heathermilligan: @JDTwitt twttr is like wlkng into a cocktail party / million ppl, shouting "who wants 2 talk abt legal mkt, & having 1200 ppl respond #LPMSM

heathermilligan: @LarryApple for a lawyer, it is always advisable to have a disclaimer on your page somewhere re: creating att/client relationship #LPMSM

LindsayGriffith: RT @nancymyrland: Not that u asked ;-), but here are my Twitter strategy & goals #lpmsm

nicolecaccamo: RT @stevematthews: @kdtalcott has a good foundation article on the use of twitter by lawyers #LPMsm

dhowell: What firms (as opposed to individual lawyers) are doing social media best? Thx, I'll put you in my talk notes. #lpmsm

goldenm: RT @matthomann People want to know you before they hire you. Be yourself in SM, unless you don't expect to be yourself with clients. #lpmsm

JDTwitt: One value of @nikiblack's see stevematthew's summary of the recent #LPMSM webinar & tweetapalooza ...

Connect with David Barrett on Twitter here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

This Week's LinkedIn Lawyer Social Media "Top Tweets" Stimulus Package

Click here for a video introduction to David Barrett's Twitter profile.

Twitter is a free and easy-to-use "micro-blogging" site that allows you to send and receive short updates from multiple users. David Barrett, The LinkedIn Lawyer is "Twittering" -- follow me here -- and keep up to date with news about Web 2.0 social media and the legal profession, with a particular focus on LinkedIn.

Here are the "Top Tweets" from the last week (partially as tracked with Tweetburner).

"Top Tweets"

Client Referral Strategies For Attorneys -

Massachusetts Fee splits require up-front written client consent -

Superstar Article: How to be a LinkedIn Superstar -

BubbleTweets for Distinguished Social Media Lawyers -

Video Welcome to David Barrett's LinkedIn Network -

Are Lawyers Taking Full Advantage of Slideshare? - Via LinkedIn, blog widget, Twitter, Facebook? #slideshare

Hello LegalTech New York from the LinkedIn Lawyer - #ltny

The travelers guide to Twitterverse -

"145 Lawyers to Follow on Twitter" by JD Supra now 563 - wow

Social Media Legal Marketing on the Law Marketing Network -

Nobel Contender Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Disappears - (pls RT) #zhng

Rights groups: China rights lawyer released (!!!!) - #gao

Twitter: It's Not You; It's Me...

Online social networking is the beginning of a relationship that can develop -

MySpace And Facebook Becoming Evidence In Court -

Duke University Law Library on Facebook -

LinkedIn Legal Networking Groups at -

Nancy Gertner: New Media Judge -

NY Times Twittering Tips for Beginners -

Find David Barrett on Twitter @barrettdavid

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

David A. Barrett's Representative Legal Clients

Slideshare is a great application that allows users to get powerpoint presentations out to social media portals such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

Related Twitter Chatter:

barrettdavid: Are Lawyers Taking Full Advantage of Slideshare? - Via LinkedIn, blog widget, Twitter, Facebook? #slideshare

cableandclark: @barrettdavid Looking forward to trying out Slideshare in overhaul of web site. Thanks for the links!

BillTilley: @barrettdavid I have not used it but have been thinking about it, are you having success?

RecruiterEsq @barrettdavid i browsed through slideshare for "law" & "legal" & (lack of) results surprised me. also, why isn't law its own category!

stephkimbro: I try! RT @barrettdavid : Are Lawyers Taking Full Advantage of Slideshare? Via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc? #slideshare

gerkmana: RT @StephKimbro : RT @barrettdavid : Are Lawyers Taking Full Advantage of Slideshare? #slideshare