About LinkedIn endorsements

Originally posted in The National Law Journal on October 15, 2012

You may have noticed that LinkedIn has created a new feature called “Endorsements.” Much as Netflix prompts you to rate movies and Amazon books, LinkedIn is prompting you to endorse your peers. Because a lot of people have been asking me, “What the heck are endorsements?” I thought I would take a moment to explain what they are, how they work and why you might want to pay attention.

Let me start with some background. A few months ago, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature, called “Skill and Expertise,” that allowed users to tag their profile with a list of skills. This section remains active— just go to http://linkedin.com/skills to search for specializations like intellectual property litigation, Read more

Why is Pinterest suddenly driving so much traffic to my website?

This last week my assistant informed me of a big spike in traffic to my website over the last month. Even more strange was the fact that Pinterest (a social networking site that allows users to create virtual pin boards of their favorite images) was now the second largest referrer of traffic after Google. While I normally expect about 4,000 visitors to my site each month, suddenly my site witnessed over 6,000 visitors. This was unusual because I hadn’t done much writing. So what happened?

Two words: Pinterest and Halloween. Ok, so maybe that still down’t clear things up. Three years ago my wife and I dressed up for Halloween as Facebook and Twitter. http://adriandayton.com/2009/10/social-media-couple-costume/

Facebook and Twitter

Because of the graphical nature of Pinterest, suddenly this old blog post with pictures of our Halloween costumes were being pinned all over the world by people looking for good ideas for Halloween couple costumes. We were also featured by http://brit.com in an article titled The 25 Best Couple Costumes Ever

So what is the business lesson here? Just to be clear, this traffic to my website is for the most part worth very little. Think about it, a couple thousand people interested in Halloween costumes are visiting my website that focuses on social media for the legal industry? Not exactly my ideal client. If you look a little deeper though, there are a couple of practical business lesson here- first, people prefer articles with images in them, especially interesting images. And second, articles with images in them may stay relevant much longer.

In addition, if your blog includes writing only, without images, you are unlikely to have readers that are as highly engaged. Studies have shown that 79% of readers simply scan posts and they spend less time on blog posts that are missing images. In addition, images are searchable, so even long after your content may be stale your images will continue to be evergreen.

Should firms start paying more attention to Pinterest? Not necessarily. It doesn’t appear to be a relevant driver of traffic in the professional services arena for the average lawyer. However, for certain IP lawyers, or perhaps even start-up lawyers that can use graphics and images to tell their stories- Pinterest may more helpful.

What’s your take? Have you or your firm had a different experience with Pinterest? Let me know.

Btw, while we are on the topic, my friends Ryan and Lauren Nielson dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Bates from Downton Abby this year. Great costumes.

Who do you think LinkedIn-worthy?

Who do you think LinkedIn-worthy?Originally posted in The National Law Journal on September 27, 2012

Life is full of tough decisions. Do I go out with friends or stay home tonight? Do I choose the filet mignon or the lobster? One of life’s other tough questions is: “With whom should I connect on LinkedIn?”

Whether you have joined LinkedIn.com (the largest professional social network in the world) or not, it is a mathematical certainty that you have received an email informing you of something like this: “John Smith has indicated you are a person they trust and wants to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

So what do you do? Do you accept? Ignore it? Or do you click the button that says, “I do not know this person”? The answer depends on how you use LinkedIn.  Read more

The three types of dangerous spam

three types of dangerous spamOriginally posted in The National Law Journal on September 20, 2012

How can you identify spam? Easily enough: It stinks. Spam is unwanted email or online messages sent from people we don’t know with the purpose of selling to us, or worse. Lawyers need to be especially careful of three types of dangerous spam: phishing spam; “Spanish Prisoner” spam; and time-wasting spam.

Here is how to identify each one.

Phishing Spam. This is the most dangerous for lawyers, because it can expose bank information or all of your contacts and their email addresses to strangers. It all starts out with an innocent-looking email like this (actual text received in a phishing email; errors in the original):

Subject: Action required!!!

Dear Member

Very important: we emailed you a little while ago to as for your help resulving an issue with your PayPal account. Your account is still temporarily limited because we haven’t hear from you.

please login here and confirm your information: (What looks like a PayPal Link).

If you make the mistake of following the directions, you will get an error message—and your account information will be recorded by the perpetrator of the phishing scheme.

How can you protect yourself? First, always go to the actual website to log in—in this case, to Paypal.com—rather than clicking on a link embedded in an email.

Second, notice that this email is addressed to “Member.” PayPal’s terms of service specifically state that all email communication will come directed to your attention, naming you in the subject line.
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