Incorporating A Social Media "Back Channel" In A Presentation

There is nothing quite like the immediacy of real-time conversation about your presentation while the presentation is going on! This is particularly true if your presentation is about the power of social media. I found this great tutorial on how to create such a back channel for your next presentation. The website is called “140 Learning” and the topic is “Incorporating a Back channel in a Presentation” (link here). The article presumes your use of Powerpoint, Keynote or Sliderocket in your talk. It is relatively short but quite comprehensive and impressive, discussing issues that range from how to create a hashtag prior to the presentation to how to encourage dialog, from tools for easily adding your own postings during the presentation to ways to encourage dialog, from how to show the Twitter stream to how to invite feedback after the presentation. There is a lot of other great stuff in this article, so I highly encourage you to hit the jump if you are considering adding such a high-tech feature to your next presentation!

If you are interested in sprucing up your presentations generally, check out Ray Ward’s suggestions over at the (new) legal writer on better Powerpoint presentations (link here). Thanks Ray!

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Adding Statute Links Where There Were None

Great tip from RIPS Law Librarian blog  on a tool for pulling the text of statutes from a web page that fails to include the hypertext link (link here). The tool is called LII Citer (link here) and it is offered by the Cornell Legal Information Institute. The tool works by adding the Citer to your favorites (in any browser). Simply highlight the law on the web page, then go to the Citer link in your Favorites and you will see the text of the highlighted statute. It currently accesses federal law only, see the list below:

  • U.S. Code, e.g. 12 U.S.C. 1749bbb-10c, or 7 U.S.C. 136a(c)(3), which links to the paragraph level, using the LII internal USC resolver.
  • United States Supreme Court, e.g. 457 U.S. 800, using the LII resolver that tries to find an LII-local copy, and failing that, gives the user the option of choosing another source.
  • Federal Circuit Court System, e.g. 875 F.2d 1059, “resolved” by constructing a direct link to the data set as hosted by
  • Code of Federal Regulations, e.g. 40 C.F.R. Part 164 Subpart D, tries to resolve section references with the get-cfr.cgi file at; if no section number is cited, then a resolver at is used.
  • US Statutes at Large, e.g. 118 Stat. 919, resolution currently very speculative, using get-cfr.cgi at
  • US Public Law, e.g. Pub. L. 110-116, fairly stable, using get-cfr.cgi at
  • Federal Register, e.g. 72 Fed. Reg. 37771, uses the getpage.cgi at

Even without state statutes, it is still a handy tool for speeding up your web-based research process. Thanks Cornell and RIPS!

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When Social Media Hits Your Wallet

I just read an interesting post by Omar-Ha-Redeye at Slaw on how social media usage might result in an increase in insurance’ premiums to reflect an increased risk of loss (link here). The article actually discussed homeowners’ premiums and privacy and location-based services. These topics have been the subject of heavy discussion over the past two weeks, spurred at least in part by the brouhaha from Google’s launch of Buzz with insufficient privacy controls and the articles surrounding the website Please Rob Me. Personally, I think Please Rob Me is about ten times more irresponsible than the original location posters – it opens up location data to anyone and everyone in a clearinghouse-style, hyper-organized fashion not available to the potential robber who randomly peruses Twitter, Foursquare or any of the other location-based services that first require a friend or follow connection. Furthermore, I doubt that the persons engaging in this activity are learning the lesson this site is “purporting” to teach. But enough about that.

The title of Omar’s post sent my thoughts in a different direction – lawyers using social media who might experience an increase in legal malpractice fees. I am not suggesting that this is currently the case – I don’t have the data to back it up. But there certainly have been news stories over the past year outlining the different ways that lawyers can get themselves in trouble in and out of court based on their own on-line activities.

Engaging in social media in general, and for lawyers in particular, requires common sense. The same common sense that people and professionals should employ in the off-line world. Internet trouble may result from the incorrect perception that only those you are interested in targeting with your efforts will see your efforts. In reality, the digital trail is wide and clear for anyone interested enough to follow.

That said, if you only publish content that is valuable and well-thought out, there should be little problem with the law. On the other hand, you cannot control the perceptions of the other side in a dispute. So, how do you engage and protect at the same time? Carefully read your malpractice policy to ensure that on-line activity is not excluded. If it is excluded, then consider contacting your carrier / agent to discuss adding such coverage. There are specific insurance policies now being offered that cover blogging activity. It is worth it to take some time with your coverage and make sure it protects against the risks you want it to protect against.

Above all, if you are on-line in a professional capacity, keep it professional! If your activity doesn’t pass the “smell” test, well, then ….