New Media 101

Print media must evolve

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: New Media 101, Portability, The times they are a'changin' |


This week’s Daily Record column is entitled “Print Media Must Evolve.”

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


Print Media Must Evolve

One of my favorite social media gurus is Gary Vaynerchuk. He really knows his stuff, and presents information in a format —video —that is universally appealing. Vaynerchuk has a personality that is larger than life and his enthusiasm for his passions —wine and social media —is downright contagious.

I’ve been a hard-core fan since I discovered his vlog —video blog —a little over a year ago. In my opinion, the man is brilliant. I was thrilled when he released his first book, “Crush It,” now a New York Times best seller, and had every intention of buying it. I truly wanted to buy it, but I held off because I knew I would never actually read it.

Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because lately I’ve had a difficult time reading “paper” books.

Before you shake your head in befuddlement and begin to mutter about the negative effects of technology, allow me to explain. When the Amazon Kindle was first released in November 2007, the idea of reading a book on some sort of newfangled electronic device seemed unappealing and unnatural. I dismissed the Kindle as some sort of fad that never would catch on.

Then, I bought an iPhone. My life has never been the same. I kid you not: The iPhone changed the way I look at, and interact with, the world. It’s hard to remember how I functioned without my iPhone tucked snugly in my purse, within arm’s reach at all times.

About six months ago, I discovered the Kindle app on my iPhone. I downloaded it, along with my first eBook. It wasn’t the ideal platform for reading a book —an iPhone screen is substantially smaller than a Kindle screen —but it wasn’t as horrible as I’d thought it would be. In fact, it grew on me.

After a while I preferred the format over that of a regular book. It was portable, easily navigable and the electronic books were cheaper than the paper versions.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when I discovered Vaynerchuk’s book, “Crush It,” in the iPhone app store in “vook” format. (A “vook” is a book that integrates video clips into the text, and can be viewed either on an iPhone or computer Web

I purchased and downloaded his vook and began reading. It was fabulous! As I read each chapter on my iPhone, I intermittently viewed supplemental videos. Vaynerchuk was right there with me, explaining his vision and thought processes as no one else could. A few days later I downloaded a cookbook, “The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen,” by Eric Gower, and watched the author prepare the recipes included in the vook. I was a vook convert.

A week after discovering Vaynerchuk’s vook, I sat down for a cup of coffee and absently reached for a magazine. As I did so, I found myself wishing it was in the vook format.

Suddenly, it all clicked.

The future for print magazines is offering readers an ad-free, subscription-based magazine in a digitally-accessible format that uses video and interactivity. In other words, provide a variation of a vook, accessible online, on mobile devices and on ebook readers such as the Kindle and Nook.

The magazine’s Web site could be ad-supported with articles and video clips, but the vook version would be a seamless interface, easily navigable with supplemental videos. So, for example, a travel magazine would include videos of various locales; a
beauty magazine, videos showing how to apply make up; a cooking magazine, videos of the food being prepared; and a technology magazine, videos of various devices being tested.

A few days after I conceived the concept, I learned Condé Nast had just announced it was in the process of creating a workable concept for digital magazines, and that “Wired” would be the first to appear in that format. The digital format would be for use on Apple’s yet-to-be-announced, and long-awaited, Tablet and possibly mobile devices, using Adobe technology. Videos were not mentioned as part of the interactive digital format.

I think the format will become mainstream within two years if magazine publishers ensure the digital versions include video, are ad-free and are accessible on e-book platforms and mobile devices. Like books, people want to take their magazines with them in an easily portable format, rather than be tied to a computer.

Some may balk at first, but eventually will embrace the technology. Rest assured, portable digital media is the next wave in the evolution of the dissemination of information. Magazines and newspapers will evolve into a digitally-accessible format or cease to exist.  There’s simply no other option.

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Fellow lawyers, tweet this!

Posted on December 5, 2008. Filed under: Networking, New Media 101, Social Media, Web 2.0 |

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Tweet this, fellow lawyers!“, posted with vodpod

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The Great Twitter Debate

Posted on November 21, 2008. Filed under: About this Blog, New Media 101, New Resources, Privacy Rights, Uncategorized |

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Great Twitter Debate“, posted with vodpod

Legal blogosphere posts discussing Twitter and lawyers:

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Breaking News! A Law Firm That GETS Web 2.0 and Gen Y

Posted on July 22, 2008. Filed under: New Media 101, The times they are a'changin', Web 2.0 |

And, in other news, pigs fly.

The ABA Law Journal tipped me off to this unusually creative law firm website–the Lawyer Job Interview TranslatorHalleland, Lewis, Nilan and Johnson actually gets Web 2.0 and Gen Y!

Somebody, pinch me, please!

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Tiffany Fights Losing Battle Against Inevitable Change

Posted on July 22, 2008. Filed under: New Media 101, The times they are a'changin' |

This week’s Daily Record column is entitled “Tiffany Fights Losing Battle Against Inevitable Change.”

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


Tiffany Fights Losing Battle Against Inevitable Change

“Ahh… Do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye? Tough beans buddy, ‘cause that’s the way it’s gonna be.”
—Holly Golightly in  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Like many large, traditional companies, the jeweler Tiffany & Co. made the puzzling choice to engage in a protracted and expensive legal battle rather than simply accepting and adapting to the technological changes in the worldwide marketplace.

Four years ago, Tiffany filed a lawsuit against eBay, the online auction giant, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Tiffany alleged its trademark was violated when eBay permitted sellers to list potentially counterfeit Tiffany items for sale.

Last week, following a non-jury trial, Judge Richard J. Sullivan issued a ruling in favor of eBay, concluding “[i]t is the trademark owner’s burden to police its mark and companies like eBay cannot be held liable for trademark infringement based solely on their generalized knowledge that trademark infringement might be occurring on their Web sites.”

Judge Sullivan’s decision, hailed as an important victory for online retailers, was in keeping with the vast majority of U.S. decisions on this issue.

Not surprisingly, instead of accepting defeat gracefully and vowing to find ways to make innovative platforms such as eBay work to their advantage, representatives of Tiffany indicated the company would most likely appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In other words, rather than allocating resources so the company can adapt to the ever-changing online marketplace, Tiffany is planning to expend more money battling the inevitable —change.

Judge Sullivan noted Tiffany’s strategy of avoiding, rather than acknowledging technological change, in his decision: “Notwithstanding the significance of the online counterfeiting problem, it is clear that Tiffany invested relatively modest resources to combat the problem. In fiscal year 2003, Tiffany budgeted approximately $763,000 to the issue, representing less than 0.05 percent of its net sales for that year. …

Tiffany’s CEO, Michael Kowalski, testified that over the past five years, Tiffany has budgeted $14 million to anti-counterfeiting efforts —of which approximately $3 to 5 million was spent in litigating the instant action.”

Tiffany is not alone in its reluctance to adapt its business practices to embrace and complement emerging technologies. Trademark and copyright infringements claims against online giants such as TouTube, Google and eBay abound as industries with foundations planted firmly in the 20th century struggle to stay afloat when confronted with 21st century innovations.

The recording industry has yet to find a way to maintain profitability in the face of online file sharing and other emerging technologies. Likewise, conventional retailers, television and print media continue to struggle with these issues as consumers increasingly obtain information, products and services online, rather than through traditional venues.

The online marketplace is expanding exponentially. Pioneering business entrepreneurs are creating increasingly inventive online platforms through which products are advertised, bartered, exchanged and sold. Online commerce is becoming commonplace.

Like Tiffany, some companies steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the profound changes in the marketplace and, instead, expend precious time, energy and resources in the futile attempt to turn back the clock and prevent change.

Conversely, other innovative businesses, such as eBay, wisely accept the fact that change is inevitable and reap the financial benefits as they creatively and innovatively tackle the digital frontier.

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Waking the Sleeping Giant–the Legal Profession and Social Media

Posted on June 10, 2008. Filed under: New Media 101, Social Media, Web 2.0 |

The following is my Daily Record column from the past week, entitled “Waking the Sleeping Giant.”

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past articles can be accessed here.


Waking the Sleeping Giant

A year ago (a law firm) commissioned a song celebrating (their nomination as one of the best companies to work for)…

The law blog “Above the Law” put the song on youtube.

Merriment ensued.

Then (the firm) found out that people were laughing at them

So, they laughed and said “Yeah, it is a silly song.”

No, of course not.

So they started to act like a bunch lawyers.

They sent youtube a DMCA takedown notice.  Youtube took it down.

That got (the firm) some attention…

Heck, nobody was even sure it was real.  Until they lawyered up.

YouTube video commentary (54,959 views as of 6/5/08 )


            When I first started my New York law blog, Sui Generis, in November of 2006, very few lawyers knew what a “blog” was.  And, quite frankly, not many lawyers actually cared.

             Time has a way of changing things.  The increasing popularity of social media, including the indisputable and viral effect of blogs, has finally caused those at the top of the legal profession to sit up and take notice. 

             The major impetus behind this change has been a number of notable public relations disasters occurring over the last year involving large law firms, that were, at the time, unfamiliar with the social media landscape. 

           The most notable incident, described above, involved a large firm’s rather lawyerly response to the leak of a celebratory song commissioned by the firm.  In another case, a disgruntled associate’s parting email to her former employer, Paul Hastings, was leaked on the internet, causing untold amounts of negative publicity for the firm.

           These and other online public relations gaffes by large law firms over the past year have forced the legal profession to reluctantly acknowledge the existence and importance of blogs and other online social media, as evidenced by a recent New York Lawyer article: Gossip Girls (and Boys): Blogs Bedeviling BigLaw.

            As explained in the article, “The immediacy — and, at times, the brutality — of the media form is presenting a challenge for firms that are wary of their private matters entering the public domain.”

          For that very reason, that article notes that many large law firms, now painfully cognizant of the viral effects of online media, are trying to track blogs and other social media in an attempt to engage in damage control.

          In response to the growing need to monitor social media, software companies have emerged which provide businesses with tools to track and measure what’s being said about their company online in real time, such as Techrigy, a Rochester-based technology start up.

          Techrigy provides SM2, a software solution, which allows businesses to search and analyze what is being said about their company and their competitors on blogs, message boards and forums, social networking sites, and video sharing sites such as YouTube.

          It’s inevitable.  Companies such as Techrigy will be in increasing demand as the importance of monitoring online discourse becomes more apparent to businesses with reputations to maintain.

           Technology is changing rapidly.  Information is being exchanged online in ways not previously encountered or envisioned. 

            The legal profession has always been somewhat slow to embrace change.  But, much like a slumbering giant, once awakened, it can be a force to be reckoned with.  So, let the reckoning begin.

Nicole Black


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