Sunday, January 15, 2012
Why I Love Social Media and the Internet
There is hardly a person I can not find something about. I don't hire private investigators, I have one who works for free. His name is Google. I find people through Facebook and My Space. And I am interested. If I weren't a lawyer, I would still probably be looking people up on the Internet, because I am interested in who we are and how we are presented to the world. We live in a much more connected world than the world of my youth. When I was in college, a computer filled a building. I bought my first personal computer in 1991, after 8 years as a lawyer. When I was fresh out of law school, people used "word processors.". I didn't know how to turn one on. Research was done in various libraries with books. We contacted others either by letter or phone. In a prior law firm, there was a conflict about whether or not we needed the new-fangled "fax" machine since only dilatory lawyers failed to get their work done in time to use the mail. How things have changed. We have so much more access to everything and everyone. When I represented a woman suing Mayor Funkhouser, I checked the Internet every morning. Some days this was how I found out about new developments in the case, even though I was the plaintiff"s attorney. I also discovered how anonymity emboldened those making vicious and vile comments. Nasty racist and sexist comments appeared regularly, by people who falsely assumed they could forever remain nameless. Of course, we could have tracked them down through there ip addresses, but those people were not worthy of the effort. I received one anonymous hate letter by mail, and figured it must have been from a person who was essentially computer illiterate. I resolved after that experience to never post anonymously anywhere ever. With the Internet, anyone with a desire can have a voice. We can learn a lot about others. We had a sexual harassment case and my partner was going to take the deposition of the purported harasser. She looked on the Internet, and there, on MySpace, was his page talking about how hot he thought he was to women. How insecure is someone to have to post how desirable he or she is on the Internet? Alternatively, there are people with whom I have been quite taken based on their social media postings. I feel that I am honored to share a part of these people, especially the courageous ones who make themselves vulnerable and share their hopes, desires, sense of humor, and even progression of their labor pains. I hear others complain because people use social media for trivial information. I love all of the information. I feel honored that people make themselves vulnerable and let us know about their lives. I know lawyers who tell their clients not to use social media. I disagree. We all need to exercise common sense, but isn't it wonderful that we get to learn about so many people and realize that we share hopes and dreams with those we hardly know. I can't wait to see what technological advances are yet to come. P.S. Tony, I love your blog the most. You have the courage to be controversial, and funny. Don't we need controversial people in this conformist society? Yes! Especially if they can laugh, not just at others, but also at themselves.