By: Mark R. Malek
As you may read in my last post I was interviewed recently regarding a trademark dispute between the great and powerful North Carolina State University and Loyola. The interviewer, Tom Breen, is an AP reporter and emailed me shortly after I tweeted an article about the situation. I was pretty impressed at how fast he found me after I had tweeted the article, and I was even happier about being quoted in an article that gave my firm exposure outside of Central Florida.
So how did Tom find me? Well, I am a tweeter. Follow me if you want to @PTOLawyer. At the time of writing this article, I have 13,309 followers on twitter. I try to tweet a few times a day on some intellectual property issues, and there are plenty of them. Twitter is also great to get in touch with other intellectual property professionals around the world and get their views on some issues. Through my time on twitter, I met a patent attorney, and subsequent friend, Patrick Anderson. He is a patent attorney in Texas, and blogs at GametimeIP.com. Funny, but as I was writing this article, I was contacted by a young man that follows me on twitter. He is an aspiring law student from Japan and wanted some insight on US intellectual property law. Can you tell me another way that I might ever have been able to communicate, and hopefully inspire, a future professional in a foreign country?
I also have a LinkedIN account where I am able to connect with business professionals. At the time of writing this article, I have 1,020 connections on LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with me by clicking here. My LinkedIN account is connected to my twitter account so that when I post a new tweet, the tweet posts as an update to my LinkedIn account. This feature of LinkedIn is great because it gives my content a bigger audience, i.e., those without twitter accounts on LinkedIN.
I also have a Facebook account and that is strictly for personal purposes. I conduct absolutely no business on Facebook, and you would be hard pressed to find a client that is in my friends list. There is a simple reason for that. Facebook is the place where people, me included, generally vomit whatever is on their mind, or whatever it is that just happened, or whatever it is that one of my kids just did/said. First and foremost, I try to keep business and personal apart. It’s difficult at times, but I try nonetheless. Secondly, and most importantly, the last thing that I need, or that any lawyer needs, is a client commenting on my Facebook page something that would have otherwise been privileged. For example, maybe a client posts something on my Facebook page about case strategy or, worse yet, maybe a client decides to check on the status of a patent application that I am drafting and writes, “can you please be sure to add the flux capacitor into the disclosure of the time machine that you are writing a patent application for?” Holy nightmare on so many levels!
With the above example in mind, however, there is a place for Facebook in the business world. We here at TacticalIP maintain a fan page. Please become fans of TacticalIP by clicking here. We post links to these stories on our fan page, and the links to the articles will show up in your news feed. It is just another avenue for us to get the word out.
In short, social networking can be a great tool to connect with many people and businesses that you would not normally have access to. When using social media, however, you have to be careful, especially attorneys, to maintain certain confidential obligations that you have. My friend Renee Quinn writes some really good articles on using social media on IPWatchdog. Check them out if you get a chance.