Monday, August 30, 2010

The Cure For The Social Media Skeptic

Posted by Katie Noonan

A great article from Business Insider highlights a challenge we are all too familiar with at Furia Rubel. All of our employees engage in social media and have for a few years now. However, occasionally through speaking engagements or meetings with perspective business we come across the social media skeptic. They're easy to recognize. They may scoff, hem and haw or scarier still- don a blank expression when the topic of social media comes up.

If you should come across a skeptic, here are some excellent ways to ease them into social media engagement.

1. Remove Barriers. Lisa Barrone of Outspoken Media encourages employers to alleviate employees' social media anxiety by taking barriers out of their way. Barriers could be anything from having to learn to use new tools to manage social media like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, or adding yet another task to their all ready busy day. It's important to first identify these potential barriers then determine how to remove them. For example, if time is an issue, Barrone suggests allowing employees to blog, tweet or connect from home instead.

2. One at a time. Personally, when I joined Twitter I found it very overwhelming. I considered myself fairly tech savvy and having used Facebook since its infancy, I assumed I could get the hang of Twitter quickly. I immediately started following lots of people and trying to engage. Over time though, I realized that I needed to sit back and observe the kinds of conversations taking place and the way people were interacting. Each social media network is like a neighborhood in a city or region of the country. It takes time to get used to how each looks, feels, and how people act, talk and perhaps most importantly, get annoyed by. So have your employees take one at a time. I would encourage employers to identify which social media network is most useful to employees. Law firms or financial service providers may opt for the conservative, business-friendly LinkedIn first, whereas a consumer services company may choose Twitter because they want to improve their customer service and start interacting directly with customers.

3. Provide Guidelines. I could not agree more with Barrone's suggestion to provide employees with guidelines for social media engagement. If members of your staff are hesitant to say or do the wrong thing when social networking, that may prevent them from engaging. If there is a social media policy in place, they'll have a better idea of what they can and can't say. No one wants to put their job in jeopardy by saying something in a public forum that could get them or the company in trouble.

4. Provide Resources. A social media policy is a great example of a resource that employees need to have in order to use social media. Other resources could be an online forum where employees can ask questions, share strategies or read about new tools or emerging social media platforms. Barrone suggests setting up a Wiki. I would also add a weekly email, call or meeting could be beneficial.

5. Success stories. The best way to stop a skeptic dead in their tracks is to provide them with a social media success story. There are plenty out there, like the Old Spice Man, Zappos, or Delta's new ticket purchasing campaign on Facebook. All you have to do is pick up the newspaper and find a recent example of a company or brand using social media to boost their bottom line to see that it works.

With proper training, support and guidelines, even the most skeptical employee can and will engage in social media. Listen to their concerns and questions, encourage them to share their good ideas and let their personalities come through in their social media profiles, tweets and blog posts. Ultimately, the success of a company's social media engagement hinges on their employees' comfort, knowledge of and ingenuity with this valuable tool.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Will Your Digital Dirt Come Back To Haunt You?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Just about everyone nowadays has an online presence or has “Google-ed” themselves to find out what type of digital dirt is out there about them.

In a recent Wall Street Journal online piece, "Google and The Search for the Future" editors had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Google CEO, Eric Schmidt about his thoughts on the future of the company and Internet search as a whole.
Among many interesting points in the article, one that particularly stood out was Schmidt’s views of privacy and a prediction “that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.”

As technology continues to grow and more and more people are sharing information via websites like Facebook and Twitter, Schmidt raises food for thought on the implications of so much of other peoples’ personal information being available at our fingertips. Will we as a society learn to turn a blind eye to binge drinking photos of a politician that resurface 20 years later? Will raunchy videos of partying on YouTube be overlooked when a professional becomes success in a Fortune 500 company? When will Internet information, be it photos or videos or tweets and Facebook postings from one’s past be taken lightly and when will it be seen as crossing the professional line? Will there come a day when aspiring professionals need to change their names to avoid their Internet dirt past?

Furia Rubel’s CEO Gina Rubel has always been a strong advocate for being careful about what information you put out on the Internet. She constantly encourages clients to Google themselves to get an idea of what is out there about them. Now more than ever it is important to keep her wise advice in mind because what is put out on the Internet, will most likely be searchable and found 10, 20, even 50 years down the road. What you do in your youth may come back to haunt you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

City Of Brotherly Love- No Love For Bloggers

Posted by Katie Noonan

Philadelphia is taking some heat this week after an article published in Philadelphia City Paper addressed the ramifications of the city's business privilege tax on bloggers who call the city home.

The Business Privilege Tax is an effort by the city of Philadelphia to garner revenue from individuals who engage in "activity for profit." Accordingly, bloggers who reside within city limits and have either real or potential profit from blogging are subject to pay a privilege license of either a one-time fee of $300, or $50 annually, in addition to a percentage of gross receipts and/or taxable net income, depending on the nature of the business, according to Mashable's Christina Warren.

The privilege tax has long been a source of controversy in Philadelphia, but seems especially preposterous in this case because of the potential it creates to tax individuals who make little to nothing from a recreational activity like blogging. Ostensibly, those who use Google Adsense on their blogs and make about 10 bucks for doing so could be subject to the tax.

Moreover, president and CEO of Furia Rubel, Gina Rubel raises the point- what if someone doesn't advertise on their blog, but uses it as a platform to position his or herself as a thought-leader in an industry. Doing so would undoubtedly create the potential for "real or potential profit," would the city attempt to tax that? It's a gray area, but they are individuals who would stand to gain a lot more from blogging than the person who blogs about restaurants they visit or their views on the Eagles preseason and uses Google Adsense on his or her blog.

It's a controversial move on the part of the city of Philadelphia, but what do you think- is it as unfair as some bloggers say it is? Feel free to leave your comments here or share your thoughts on Twitter @FuriaRubel.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Twitter Continues To Grow And Offers The New Tweet Button

Posted by Amanda Walsh

If you haven’t been convinced to join Twitter yet, comScore, Inc., a global leader in measuring the digital world, recently released a report on the international growth of Twitter. The numbers just may sway you to join the micro-blogging site.

Almost 93 million Internet users logged in to from home or work in June of this year. This number marks a 109 percent increase from 2009. In addition, the country that reportedly held the highest penetration was Indonesia with Brazil and Venezuela close behind.

There was a notable increase in the use of Twitter by smartphone users in the six international mobile markets analyzed by comScore -U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy. In the U.S. however, was visited by 8.3 percent of smartphone users (4.2 million people) whereas only 2.8 percent of users (1.7 million users) were accessing the micro-blogging service from their phones.

In addition to these impressive numbers of new users and mobile users, Twitter has made it that much easier to share information through other websites. Beginning last week, websites like CNN and HuffingtonPost now offer a Tweet button alongside stories. This new feature will facilitate sharing news or interesting articles from many popular sites via Twitter.

ThePRLawyer blog now proudly features a Tweet button as well. It's located on the top left-hand side of the screen. If there is ever a post that you particularly like, please feel free to use the tweet button and spread the information!

To read more click on the links for the comScore report of Twitter users or the new Tweet button. Now get Tweeting!

(photo credit:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Philly Legal Blawgers Event You Don’t Want To Miss!

Don't miss the "Meet the Legal Blawgers: An Insiders' Perspective on Connecting with the Legal Blogosphere" event on Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 12 p.m. presented by the Bar-News Media Committee Meeting of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Furia Rubel Communications' CEO and Bar-News Media Committee chair, Gina Furia Rubel, Esq. will be moderating the event.

Panelists include:

* Jeff Blumenthal, Staff Writer, Philadelphia Business Journal
* Chris Brennan, Political Writer, Philadelphia Daily News, Co-Writer, PhillyClout
* HughE Dillon, Editor,
* Hank Grezlak, Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The Legal Intelligencer
* Catherine Lucey, Staff Reporter, Philadelphia Daily News Co-Writer, PhillyClout
* Saul Segan, Esq., Contributor, The Huffington Post

Event Location:
Philadelphia Bar Association
1101 Market Street
11th Floor Conference Center
Philadelphia, Pa 19107

Lunch will be available for $8.00.

To register, please visit The Philadelphia Bar Association website.

For more information about the Bar-News Media Committee, please contact Committee Chair Gina Furia Rubel at

For questions about the event, contact Dawn Petit at 215-238-6367 or via email

Friday, August 13, 2010

Plane Tickets Through Facebook? Delta Makes It Possible

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I just read on Mashable and InformationWeek that Delta Airlines has made a Facebook application allowing users to purchase flights via the company’s Facebook page. A new “Ticket Window” tab on the Delta Facebook page lets you find and purchase your flights without ever leaving

There is also the ability to share your flight details with friends on Facebook. Since the Ticket Window is so new, I haven’t heard if there is a privacy feature allowing you to decide if you want to share your flight announcement with others or not.

The thing I like most about this news story is not necessarily the Ticket Window announcement (which is cool!) but the fact that Delta realized that people are increasingly using social media to follow and connect with their favorite brands.

Bob Kupbens, Delta’s VP of eCommerce is quoted in the InformationWeek article, "our customers are spending more time online and are looking for new ways to connect with us. We're now delivering technology where our customers are – from our own website to our Facebook page to Internet news sites and beyond."

The Delta team seems to be listening to their audience and making changes to best accommodate them. In addition to the Facebook application, Delta recently re-designed their website for customer ease of use and is discussing interactive web advertising and even iPhone applications. I noticed they also have an active Twitter account with conversations and retweets.

It’s hard to say whether the Ticket Window will be a success or a failure right now. I think it’s an exciting announcement and an example of the endless possibilities for companies to serve their clients via social media.
(photo credit:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Consumers Use Social Media To Follow Brands, Connect

Posted by Katie Noonan

A recent study from marketing research company Invoke Solutions shows that a significant amount of those who engage in social media sites do so not only to connect with family, friends and colleagues, but to connect with and follow their favorite brands as well.

According to the study:
  • 65% of social media users follow a company or brand on Facebook;
  • 47% have posted a comment on a company's Facebook fan page; and
  • More than 31% of social networkers follow a brand or company's tweets.
Individuals who have a presence on Twitter tend to engage with brands and companies in even higher percentages and on a wider breadth of social media sites according to Invoke.

To learn more about Invoke's study check out the BtoB article. You can also download the full report from Slideshare.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How To: Promote Your Business Facebook Page

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Last month I shared a “HowTo” post about creating a custom username for your Facebook page for your company or business. I want to continue that conversation today with some great tips on how to share that Facebook page with your audience. I came across "3 Less Known by Effective Ways to Share Your Facebook Page" from Search Engine written by Ann Smarty.

* Don’t overlook the power of the “Share” button. Sometimes this easily hidden button toward the bottom of the page can become lost and forgotten. When you press the share button, the page is posted to your Facebook wall for your friends to see. Always remember to add a relevant call to action for your friends to check out the page!

* You can “Tag” your page when relevant. For example, when sharing information about a client or helpful news on your Facebook profile. We include a tag to the Furia Rubel Facebook page in our posts when they have useful news for fans of the Furia Rubel Facebook page. It works the same as tagging a friend or colleague, simply start with the @ sign and type in the page you want to tag.

* You can add your page as a “Favorite” to other pages. I didn’t know about this tip but it seems really useful -especially if you administer multiple pages. Ann brings up a good point that as of right now, Facebook does not allow you to add your page to other people’s favorites. You can always ask, though! She notes, “you can only add to pages you administer, NOT the pages you created. So if you want to use the page you created, ask one of your page administrators to do that (weird, I know. I hope this is a bug and will be fixed soon)”

Just a few more tips to promote your Facebook page and connect with your audience through social media. To read more, go here.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Libel Lawsuits in PA Must Be Filed Within One Year Says Judge

According to Shannon P. Duffy of The Legal Intelligencer, a "PA Judge says a blog is legally the same as any other 'mass media,' meaning that any libel lawsuit filed against a blog in Pennsylvania must make its way to court within one year." The article, Judge Says Discovery Rule Doesn't Apply to Blogs - Internet Is 'Mass Media,' Federal Court Holds, Tossing Defamation Case, is a must read.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Move Over Facebook And Twitter..Tumblr Could Be The Next Media Outlet

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Although it is not a new service, many are talking about Tumblr- predicting that it could be the newest thing in the world of news media.

This “short-form blogging platform founded in 2007 by David Karp and lead developer, Marco Arment, is a mix between Facebook and Twitter. Many are saying that it could be a useful engagement tool for news outlets to connect with their readers, citing the success of Newsweek’s Tumblr account as an example of this.

Recently, Tumblr welcomed Mark Coatney, to join the Tumblr team from his post at Newsweek. While at Newsweek, he had taken on the management of the magazine’s Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts. The Tumblr became wildly successful and reportedly drove about 500 readers to everyday. Ultimately, Coatney’s work with the page helped land him a job with Tumblr itself.

Despite its lower user base, Tumblr focuses more on quality content and less on number of followers. Some outlets such as The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, BlackBook Media Corporation, The Paris Review, The Huffington Post, Life magazine and The New York Times have all jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon but many have yet to successfully utilize the platform.

For those of you considering adding Tumblr to your social media campaigns, here are some tips from The Atlantic with my thoughts as well:

It’s low-stress: This may be key for engaging in what seems like yet another social media tool. As always, it is essential to continue with the platform once you and your company decide to join. But, fear not, because looking at the Newsweek Tumblr you can notice that some ‘posts’ are simply quotes from articles in the magazine; others are pictures or quirky commentary.

It’s engaging: Readers can submit their own quotes. This may take off some of the workload of the staff to keep up with updating and posting. The age of citizen journalism is upon us and now people can submit Tweets, video or photos from cell phones into TV news programs instantaneously. The proper use of Tumblr is the perfect way to engage readers of the magazine itself as well as reaching out to new readers online through social media and directing them to the website for more information.

It's viral: The format of Tumblr lends itself to short quotes, sound bites and bits of information. This is the key in today’s information overload environment. There is a reblogging feature much like a retweet button which shares information across other users’ Tumblr pages.

Keep your eye on how others are using Tumblr or consider starting a page yourself. I think this is an up and coming tool that may not only be useful for print media outlets but for many organizations and businesses alike. Happy Tumbling!

(photo credit:

Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. Named Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski Managing Partner

We are so proud of our clients and colleagues and are always delighted to share their good news.

With the addition of Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. as managing partner of Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, P.C., the firm expands its traditional personal injury presence into the criminal defense arena. Former two-term elected Luzerne County District Attorney and Common Pleas Judge Olszewski brings more than 25 years of unique litigation experience to Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, which serves the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre regions of Pennsylvania.

Olszewski, as the new managing partner of Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, focuses his practice on criminal defense, medical malpractice, and personal injury matters. His experience as both a prosecutor and judge in criminal and civil trials benefits clients by providing unique perspective to his litigation strategies.

“We are pleased to have such an experienced attorney to head our criminal defense practice and manage the firm’s day to day operations. Peter’s experience in both private practice and as a public servant gives him insight into not only the criminal justice system but also the more difficult planning and organizational duties required of a managing partner,” said Melissa Scartelli, the firm’s founding partner.

Prior to joining the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre firm, Olszewski spent eight years as District Attorney of Luzerne County, during which time he tried 18 cases to jury verdicts, including seven first-degree murder verdicts. During his nine years as a Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge, Olszewski oversaw more than 180 criminal jury trials, including five capital homicide cases. As a result, Olszewski can anticipate reactions from both the prosecution’s perspective and the bench.

Already using his experience to benefit clients, Olszewski has successfully suppressed statements made by a then-16-year-old to state police officers after his arrest in a high profile murder case in Luzerne County. Olszewski also successfully argued the transfer of his client to a juvenile facility so that he could have age-appropriate programs available.

While he joined Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski as a shareholder in January, Olszewski is no stranger to private practice. After graduating from The Dickinson School of Law in 1984, Olszewski engaged in private practice, focusing on criminal, civil, and family law trials throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. He held positions as solicitor to the Pennsylvania Conference of State Police Lodges and assistant solicitor to the Pennsylvania State Police, Fraternal Order of Police, Frank Albert Memorial Lodge No. 43.

Olszewski is admitted to practice before all of Pennsylvania’s state courts, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is Capital Case Certified and certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Specialist.

Committed to contributing to the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre areas, Olszewski is co-chairman of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association Criminal Law Committee and serves on the board of the Anthracite Golf Association, which promotes golf to young people and adults in Northern Pennsylvania. An Eagle Scout and former President of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Olszewski also is a member and past Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Wilkes-Barre Lodge 109, a member of and scripture reader at St. Frances Cabrini Church, Carverton, and a former Alumni Trustee of The Dickinson School of Law.

A native of Wilkes-Barre and a resident of Dallas, Olszewski spends his off-hours golfing, archery hunting, and with his wife and daughter.

Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, P.C. was founded in 2001. The firm handles a range of complex matters on behalf of accident victims, malpractice victims and other injured individuals and their families. The firm also represents criminal defendants. Practice areas include automobile accidents, auto defects, construction and workplace accidents, criminal defense, defective drugs and medical devices, insurance bad faith, liquor liability, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, premises liability, product liability, professional liability and psychiatric malpractice. Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski is small enough to care yet large enough to win for their clients in the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., region. To learn more about the firm, visit