Run For Your Lives!!! Godzilla & King Kong Tag- Team The Social Networking Scene

Like two giant creatures squashing the Tokyo skyline into oblivion, Adam Ostrow at Mashable tipped me off to the union of Google Friend Connect and Twitter. The Google blog explains what the combination can do for you:

This means that when you join a Friend Connected site, you can choose to use your Twitter profile, discover people you follow on Twitter who are also members of the site, and quickly tweet that you have found a cool website.

The how-to is as follows:

To send a tweet about a site you have joined, click the invite link in the members gadget, then click the Twitter icon on the share tab. The next time your followers sign in to Twitter, they’ll see a your tweet containing a link to the interesting site you’ve found.

Pretty soon, we will be one big, happy family! Imagine THOSE holiday gatherings.

Free & Of General Use For Writers. Did I Say Free?

Marie Scheider of http://editorunleashed.com has a handy list of free on-line resources for writers over at WritetoDone. I have the list and her comments taken directly from her post copied below, for your clicking ease and convenience:

1. U.S. Copyright Office

This is the spot to quench your copyright concerns and even register your work for a copyright.

2. Merriam-Webster

This is the most reliable online dictionary and it’s also the house standard for many magazines and publishers. There’s also a handy thesaurus so you can find just the right word.

3. ASJA

Timely information on writers’ rights, including the quickly changing landscape of electronic rights courtesy of the American Association of Journalists and Authors.

4. Purdue University Online Writing Lab

If you’re a little fuzzy on passive tense or your commas are out of control, check out the OWL brought to you by Purdue.

5. Folio Literary Management

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting published, with explanations of every step along the way from writing a book to acceptance (not rejection—think positive!)

6. Query Tracker.net

An indispensable free resource for finding a literary agent. They also offer a handy query tracker.

7. Duotrope’s digest

This site offers a searchable database of 2300 current poetry and fiction markets.

8. Shaw Guides

A comprehensive listing of writers conferences, searchable by location, date and genre.

9. Elements of Style

The classic writing style guide by William Strunk, Jr. is now freely available online. Even if you studied it in college, read it again, you’ll take away something new that will refresh your writing.

10. Poets & Writers

The website of the venerable writing journal provides the most comprehensive guide to writing contests and grants.

It’s like the Twelve Days (Less Two) of Christmas for writers. I will add the five golden rings and the partridge in a pear tree to bring it up to Code. Enjoy!

This is NOT the Way to Use Ghostwriters (Such as Myself)

We ghostwriters can be a shadowy lot, lurking in the corners of that published article or white paper or web-site blurb. However, we ghostwriters should have some integrity too and should not exploit the shadows for illicit purposes. The New York Times reports on a more than questionable use of ghostwriters in its article on December 12, 2008 entitled Drug Makers Said to Pay Ghostwriters for Journal Articles. The culprits are Wyeth Laboratories and DesignWriter, a medical writing firm, and the drug is Prempro, a female hormone replacement therapy. The charge is that Wyeth and the firm concealed their roles from readers of the medical journals into which the articles were placed, allegedly misleading readers by adopting a pro-Prempro agenda at the outset. One article was published after a federal study found that Prempro increased the risk of breast cancer. Use of the ghostwriters in medical journals generally is considered a no-no:

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors says authorship means “substantive intellectual contributions” including conception or analysis of the subject and drafting or critical revision of the document. The World Association of Medical Editors says ghost authorship — which it defines as a substantial contribution not mentioned in the manuscript — is “dishonest and unacceptable.”

Congress got a sniff and is now seeking more information from these entities about the specifics. The articles identifies the crux of the problem:

The articles all involve reviews of clinical studies and other research. While such reviews are common in medical publishing, what Mr. Grassley contends happened with the Wyeth-commissioned articles is that that expert authors whose names appear on the articles became involved only after outlines or drafts of the articles were already written.

It is my opinion that ghostwriting in any technical field could skirt ethical, if not legal, obligations, depending upon the tone of the article and the context in which it is placed. Lawyers are adept at affixing disclaimers on their writings in order to avoid a mistaken impression that their writing be relied upon as legal advice when such reliance is not intended. Similar pitfalls are apparent in the ghostwriting scenario.

At a minimum, lawyers looking to use ghostwriters for legal drafting should remember the plight of Wyeth and its firm. Consider using attorney-drafters and ensure that your in-firm author is heavily involved in the drafting process or be prepared to disclose the identity of your ghostwriter as a co-author.

Justia Offers Free Legal Directory

Aviva Cuyler at JDSupra reports that Justia, one of the champions of free on-line legal resources, is launching a free Legal Directory of lawyers, firms and non-profit organizations. JDSupra contributors, myself included, will be able to stream JDSupra docs into their profile at Justia for even greater web exposure. I didn’t know this, but Justia also provides free websites, blogging platforms and  SEO consulting. Nice package of tools for the on-line lawyer!