Social Media


Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Today I will happily be leading a webinar on the topic of blogging. So there may be no better day than this to share news from an event last week. That annual event, coincidentally, was the subject of my first legal blog post more than five years ago. (I know; you’re tearing up along with me.)

The Learned Hand luncheon continues to wow a packed room at the Hyatt Phoenix with its awards to smart legal luminaries. And the magic of the event continues to be the stellar speeches, not only be the worthy recipients, but also by their nominators. These folks bring it.

This year’s event was last Wednesday, March 11, and as always it is sponsored by the American Jewish Committee’s Arizona Chapter.

AJC American Jewish Committee logoThis year’s honorees were Lawrence Robinson, Elliot Glicksman, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. (I know; what took them so long?!)

I won’t go on about each of the honoree’s accomplishments. All of the folks were well selected, and, as always, the acceptance speeches were matched by the nominators’ speeches for verve and punch.

The luncheon provides attendees a moment to pause and hear from esteemed peers. As those lawyers and judges, we recall the best ideals of our profession. I’m confident that as listeners stream out onto the busy sidewalk, full from a salmon lunch, they are at least briefly refreshed as they head back to work. Ideally, the lessons they heard will take root and bear fruit in their own lives.

And if you have a moment, <strong>here is what I wrote five years ago, on the occasion of the same lunch in 2010 (when the honorees were Keri Lazarus Silvyn, E.G. “Ted” Noyes, Jr., and Debbie Hill).

Hand-crafted audiotapes may teach us a lesson worth remembering.

Hand-crafted audiotapes may teach us a lesson worth remembering.

Where can I get some colorful examples of audiocassette liner notes—like the ones we used to create for friends and others?

Why do I ask? Well, this Friday, I’ll address a banquet hall filled with legal leaders. The Chicago event is the Bar Leadership Institute of the American Bar Association. I was privileged to speak last year on the topic of written communication (primarily how bar presidents can increase their engagement and effectiveness in their presidents’ column, whether in print or online).

This week, my ABA-assigned topic is broader: strategic communication (the program is here). After my remarks, I’ll be joined by three smart communicators from bars around the country, who will speak on communication in print, online, and in person.

So why was I searching online for images of cassette liner notes? (That’s right; cassettes, created in about 1962.)

Well, among the messages I’ll impart has to do with the way all of us want to consume information today. Among the many items I read and watched to prepare my 30-minute presentation, one by Don MacKinnon stood out. He explained what had occurred in the music industry, and how listener interests had led to the downfall of the one-size-fits-all album. And not only have we begun to yearn for the mixtape again in music; we can see the same in various kinds of entertainment.

If in entertainment, why not in law, I wondered? Many of the people I’ll speak to on Friday can recall the heyday of associations. That’s when they controlled most of the means of production, in print and in professional education. It’s when competitors such as podcasts, apps, and downloads didn’t exist. It’s when—kind of—bar associations were record producers. And when we dropped a new album, we could be assured our audience would consume it. The lifting on the part of bars was pretty light.

That’s all changed, of course, and our audience wants a mixtape. That is, they want to curate great content from multiple sources. Smart associations will still be part of that mix, but we’re no longer the only game in town.

mixtape 2 disco mix

So my liner-note search was for some punchy visuals, as well as to serve as a model for my conference handout (a list of additional reading).

I’ll report back on how it all went (maybe I’ll even Slideshare my Powerpoint). And if things go well, I may have an audience selfie to share with you. What’s more mixtape than that?

blog

First of all, the second half of that title is highly unlikely. I will speak to my titling minions right away.

But what I’m curious about today is: What can you tell me about your blogging successes?

Or at least about your blogging not-disasters?

Why do I ask? Well, later in March I will be delivering a webinar to attendees across the country on the topic of blogging. It’s titled “Top Tips for Bar Bloggers,” and you can read more about it (and even register!) here.

Screenshot of a teaser for my upcoming blogging webinar (yes, I know, they put too many words on the slide).

Screenshot of a teaser for my upcoming blogging webinar (yes, I know, they put too many words on the slide).

Two little boggles about that title:

  1. I definitely should have added a number. You know, “Tim’s 7 Blogging Tips,” or “11 Blogging Tips That Will Make You More Attractive.” After all, we know from SEO and just, y’know, people that folks respond to numerals, and they like to be told there will be a takeaway they can count on.
  2. The other thing about the title: I’m not sure blogging strategy for bars should be any different than blogging strategy for any other niche. It’s about differentiation, writing, and (relatively) compelling content.

That’s why I’d like your thoughts on blogging:

  • Are you a blogger who has a top tip or two?
  • Do you read blogs that seem to “get it” and that serve your needs well? If so, what single thing do you like about those blogs?

If I steal/use one of your ideas, I promise to give you credit in the nationally delivered webinar (I joke about a lot, but never about giving credit for great ideas).

Deal? Deal.

Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

And here is a screen-shot of the registration page. No reason that you too could not register, right here!

NABE webinar on blogging by Tim Eigo 03-2015-page0001

If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat. Here is a GIF I am expecting to use in my webinar. It’s about the importance of timing in blogs. But moving cats is always a win.

Blog content is important. But your timing is important too. Because cats.

Blog content is important. But your timing is important too. Because cats.

A cow and a queen came to an art museum. Much to the dismay of royalty-lovers everywhere, the venue displayed portraits of the Mum and the moo in equally beautiful ways. And that decision—and other choices made by artist Andy Warhol—either transformed or destroyed art, depending on whom you ask.

Andy Warhol: Portraits” opens this Wednesday, March 4, at the Phoenix Art Museum, and the show’s vibrant, warm embrace confirms that the PAM curators are firmly in the “transform” camp. Warhol’s work and his influence are stunningly explored. And though Warhol had a gaze and an aesthetic that was famously straightforward and that kept viewers at a remove, the Phoenix show manages to humanize him in multiple ways.

(Before I get started: If you’re wishing this post had some legal-ish content, simply recall that Warhol’s work and legacy have been marked by litigiousness. The lawsuits have ranged among the authenticity of his prints; to whether a Farrah Fawcett print over a bed belonged to her ex-lover Ryan O’Neal, who slept in that same bed (or belonged to the University of Texas, which never slept with her but was bequeathed her possessions); to the slippery topic of trademark ownership in the iconic banana design on the 1967 album cover of the band The Velvet Underground and Nico. Enjoy your tangential reading, if you must. But the rest of you? Let’s get back to the terrific show at the Phoenix Art Museum.)

Almost all the works on display come from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (one beautiful exception on display from the Phoenix Art Museum’s own collection is a series of 100 multicolored silkscreens in cube form, all gathered in a box). At a February 27 media tour, Amada Cruz, the recently arrived Sybil Harrington Director at Phoenix Art Museum, describes the artist’s significance. A widely talented individual, Warhol used painting, photography, filmmaking, magazine publishing, music producing, and even the artistic “event” as moments of cultural inspiration. He also was the first modern artist “to embrace commerce and meld the high and the low effortlessly.” Hence, the queen and the cow.

Andy Warhol, Portraits of the Artists from the Portfolio Ten From Leo Castelli, 1967.

Andy Warhol, Portraits of the Artists from the Portfolio Ten From Leo Castelli, 1967.

“It’s a portraiture show,” Cruz reminds us, “but not in the mold that you traditionally think.”

The museum’s Dr. Jerry Smith, curator of American and European art to 1950 and art of the American West (could museum titles get longer, please?), describes the path Warhol took, as well as his early-onset nervous system disorder that kept him inside and drawn to a lifelong love of movies. Later in life, the commercial illustrator became highly attuned to what customers wanted. Where other artists might disdain a focus on “brand,” he welcomed it. Intrigued by celebrity, he forged an identity marked as much by his circle of “superstars” as by his own wry involvement in that very circle.

Curator Dr. Jerry Smith in front of a self-portrait of Andy Warhol.

Curator Dr. Jerry Smith in front of a self-portrait of Andy Warhol.

To see more images of works that appear in the show, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page here.

Warhol’s charming persona is everywhere in this show. It’s visible in an early letter the young Andy Warhola (his original family name) received from Shirley Temple in response to his request for an autograph. It’s present in the affection he clearly felt for those who were his subjects, whether Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, or more minor figures lost to the sands of time. And his own personality is with us when we read the image captions, wisely leavened with quotations from Warhol’s own daily journal.

A display of photos of Andy Warhol as a boy and young man.

A display of photos of Andy Warhol as a boy and young man.

The artist’s own life is also present in a display of photos of him as a boy and young man. Gathered together in a glass-covered table in the exhibit’s heart, they are worth seeking out.

Andy Warhol, Jackie, 1964.

Andy Warhol, Jackie, 1964.

As Dr. Smith speaks, the mind drifts, Warhol-like, to recent Web events (the newest frontier). What would the bewigged artist have thought of a battle over a dress color, or a nation transfixed by video of escaping llamas?

Smith beams and muses that Warhol would have loved the week’s llama news.

“He would have eaten it up,” Smith says. “There is so much in today’s culture that speaks to who Andy Warhol was.”

(Unsure? Head over to this Slate story that Warhol himself would have appreciated: No, culture-warriors, two llamas and a dress don’t indicate a media #fail. Quite the opposite.)

Smith even offers that Warhol “would have invented Perez Hilton,” if he could have.

That playful attitude clearly informed the gallery’s design, which includes large and eye-catching color-blocks. The placement of artworks on the wall, says Smith, is meant to communicate with the artist. Just as Warhol was unconcerned about perfect color registration in the development of his photographs, museum staff did not seek to align pieces exactly along the color-blocks’ edges. The result is a comfortable irregularity, which leads viewers to pause and reassess as colors mix and separate.

One piece that benefits from darkness rather than color is Warhol’s 15-foot-long Last Supper image. It is set off via blacklight in its own light-emptied space. Stroll in and let your eyes adjust to see what Warhol intended.

Andy Warhol, The Last Supper, 1986

Andy Warhol, The Last Supper, 1986

A room with three Warhol videos will attract most viewers for a few moments. (True-believers will linger longer.)

Another room demands viewer interaction. “Silver Clouds” offers inflated Mylar rectangles that attendees are free to send soaring (but be assured that “spiking” the clouds will get you a museum-guard reprimand). That installation is bound to become an exhibit favorite.

Andy Warhol, Silver Clouds installation, 1994 (Museum staffer Chelsea Ellsworth demonstrates)

Andy Warhol, Silver Clouds installation, 1994 (Museum staffer Chelsea Ellsworth demonstrates)

In the same way, a few elements toward the end of the exhibit prod us toward participation.

A “screen test” area provides a camera and a backdrop for your own four-minute silent movie. You can opt to have a link of your work emailed to you, which you can share with all of your circles (including, perhaps, Perez Hilton).

Next to the screen test is a test of your willingness to engage the macabre. A wall-mounted monitor streams the 24-hour webcam trained on Warhol’s Pittsburgh grave. Not much may occur there, but I’ve been told that his birth and death days may offer must-see TV (picture soup-can stacks, etc.). I leave you to research that. (You can see the grave-cam here; it looks cold.)

Keep an eye on Warhol's grave 24/7.

Keep an eye on Warhol’s grave 24/7.

Near the screen test area, a wallpaper-adorned selfie station offers the one place in the exhibit that such a thing is permitted. Of course, selfies are matched perfectly with the self-referential artist. As Smith said with a smile, if Warhol were alive today, they’d probably be called “Andys.”

I must admit that a selfie hadn’t occurred to me, but the written prohibition that the media received (and that applies to the public) made me chuckle. To its credit, the Phoenix Art Museum did not devise this rule; it was crafted by the Warhol Museum itself. I watched the cemetery monitor closely to see if the artist was turning over in his grave at such a non-Warhol requirement. (Perhaps we can be hopeful that the Warhol Museum folks are not tone-deaf but are simply punking us. In either case, Warhol is laughing somewhere.)

No selfies in much of the Warhol exhibit (even if you look fabulous!).

No selfies in much of the Warhol exhibit (even if you look fabulous!).

A final element of the show requires mention. Although most all museum shows these days have a requisite joined-at-the-hip gift shop with related and unmemorable items, the Warhol shop is brilliantly and artistically perfect in its placement and item selection (“curation,” could we say?).

I have seen and strolled the museum’s Warhol gift shop. My uneducated opinion? They’re gonna make bank.

Warhol, of course, loved to explore the intersection of art and commerce. So the museum’s having the show flow into the store surprises and pleases rather than disturbs the viewer. And the bald greeting—“SHOP”—makes the Warhol-lover smile.

Dr. Smith told me that the museum sought to purchase the rights to an image of the artist actually shopping. Unable to secure those rights, they opted instead for the mannequin-cum-wig and the simple word.

As a public service (in this entirely noncommercial story), I share with you the great artist strolling an aisle, a superstar in a supermarket.

Yes, Andy Warhol shopped too (even for soon-to-be-iconic Brillo pads).

Yes, Andy Warhol shopped too (even for soon-to-be-iconic Brillo pads).

The show opens Wednesday, March 4, and runs through June 21, 2015. You will want to spend far longer than the Warhol-famous 15 minutes to commune with his pieces.

If you have a few more seconds, my Vines from the media tour are here, here and here.

Exhibits related to the Warhol show include films and installations, some with Arizona ties (and some are Rated X). Read about them here.

To see more images of works that appear in the show, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page here.

Poster for Any Warhol: Portraits

Facebook knows its members may die or become incapacitated ... and is now offering solutions.

Facebook knows its members may die or become incapacitated … and is now offering solutions.

The other day I was informed by Linkedin of a friend’s “work anniversary.” That was jarring, as I know she died last spring.

Even more unfortunate, that kind of social media interaction happens quite a bit—and there’s rarely a systemic change that would reduce its occurrence.

For example, for a few years around 2010, Facebook would invite me to “connect with someone you might know.” Fair enough. The selection of options was good, including a lawyer friend whom I had known for years, and even written about in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Sadly, though, she had died the previous year. I tried to alert people whom I thought were closer friends, but they had no leads on who might have access to her social media accounts.

Those were simply more opportunities for social media to remind me of sad times—and to highlight the need for post-death decisions about social media accounts.

That’s why I was glad to see a story that attorney Michael Tucker shared. The article by Geoffrey Fowler is titled “Facebook Heir? Time to Choose Who Manages Your Account When You Die,” and it is a welcome read. It opens:

“You can finally decide what happens to your Facebook account when you die. In a change of heart, the world’s most popular social network will begin allowing its members to designate someone—what they call a ‘legacy contact’—to manage parts of their accounts posthumously. Members can also choose to have their presence deleted entirely.”

Is making this change to your Facebook account something you’ll consider?

I'm sorry to ask about social media on a Monday. Too soon? gecko facepalm

I’m sorry to ask about social media on a Monday. Too soon?

Does social media do anything for you and your law practice?

Ok, I don’t typically start a Monday with such a potentially depressing question. So let me rephrase it: For those of you attorneys who find some value (however little) in social media to your practice, could you let me know what it is?

What led me to ask was an online post last week that examined the question “Does social media really work as a marketing tool?” You can read the (law firm marketer) responses here.

Besides being perturbed by the unnecessary use of “really” in the question, I also braced myself for the answers. That’s because lawyers (and many other legal organizations) often proclaim that “social media has never gotten me a new client.”

Well, if that was your goal for social media, and it didn’t achieve that, I’m sorry.

But of course (1) there are many goals for social media besides landing a client, and (2) how do you know your blogging etc. did not play a role in changing how a potential client viewed you as a potential counselor—or speaker, or mentor?

And remember, social media are channels, nothing more. When I encounter a resistant attorney, I sometimes ask whether their fax machine alone has ever “gotten you a client.” Or if your telephone “got you a client.” Of course not; you got the client, by displaying your expertise and/or experience and/or competitive pricing and/or geographic flexibility and/or 100 other things that may set you apart and make you appealing to clients.

Social media is just another way (and not the last way) to show those qualities.

It is also a great way to develop leads, learn about the community you want to practice in, and more.

In any case, please read the responses (by marketing experts) and let me know if you agree. I’ll be standing by (and bracing myself for the opposite of social media love); contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

blogging annual report 2014-page0001

The drone-y little stats monkeys at WordPress have done it again, providing a wealth of detail about this blog’s performance in the past year. You can read the complete report here.

Here’s a little of their overly kind blogbabble:

“Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. There were 623 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 183 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per day.”

Nice, right? But as I am committed to transparency, I must admit: The numbers disappoint me. And that is because blog readership is down.

I can hear your jaw hitting the floor, your disbelief is so palpable: “A nichey law blog, in Arizona, not garnering readers? Get out!”

(You can click to see the annual reports from 2013, 2012, and 2011 to see for yourself.)

Setting aside your hurtful snark (yes, I can detect it), there are a few reasons for the decline (from a high of 130,000 views in 2012 to last year’s 66,000):

  1. Not enough puppies and kittens
  2. Low-quality posts (or maybe too much law-ishness)
  3. Busier, less curious readers
  4. Facebook sucks

I am wagering my money on options 2 or 4. As a writer, I always have to be willing to look to myself first for reader disengagement. But then there’s Facebook …

Facebook’s own little algorithmic bots constantly vary the processes by which they prioritize and make visible people’s posts. I have heard from many mere mortals such as myself who have seen their readership plummet: Posts that formerly would garner 300 views now result in 17, or 11, or 4. And because Facebook is one of the places I post my blog every day, the impact has been severe.

The “solution” offered by Facebook’s dark lords is pay for play: Facebook paid ads will get us all back where we were, they claim.

Well, for those of us with little budgets and even less inclination to participate in the FB scam, I’m back to my other solutions: Ever improving my writing and composition, and, of course, more puppies. Here you go, and Happy New Year.

Legally speaking, these Corgis are not law-related at all. You're welcome, Facebook.

Legally speaking, these Corgis are not law-related at all. You’re welcome, Facebook.

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