Here’s a common refrain in my life:

Mel: <<So Steve got trapped in an elevator today, huh?>>

Me (astonished): <<Well, yes he did.  But how the heck did you know that??!!>>

Mel: <<Facebook, duh.  When are you going to get with the times?>>

For anyone wondering, no I don’t have a Facebook account and yes, Steve is OK and has been freed from the elevator.  I mean, it was a 10 minute ordeal during which he called the building department, called me to tell me he loved me (just in case), and apparently told the whole world of the calamity that had befallen him via a Facebook breaking news alert.

I agreed 3 months ago to join Facebook, when my sister was holding pictures of my niece hostage in virtual reality.  Which I haven’t done (yet), because my sister is now using her smartphone to seamlessly distribute pics and video of Elenor via email, a 21st century technology I jive with.  Now, social media technology is invading not only all aspects of my personal life, but my work space too!

Here, hot from the presses in Australia, is the latest infiltration of social media services – legal advice via Twitter.  A leading Australian law firm, Minter Ellison, just announced that it’s been testing a private version of Twitter as a means to electronically distribute advice to clients.  Apparently driven by a desire to bill more, the partners sat around at the monthly partners’ meeting and thought, “hey, what about that Twitter thing my kids are doing?  Bet we could do that and rack up a few 6-minute increments of billable hours.”  Confidentiality, nuances of legal analysis and that warm and fuzzy handshake relationship with clients be damned.

Now, not only can hours-strapped associates bill for the 10 minutes they spend checking their blackberries each morning (semi-conscious, and in bed), but they can bill for the 2 tweet replies they fire off before hitting the shower and another 6-minute increment for advice rendered while riding the tram.  Soon law firms will start introducing abbreviations like PTAL (Pursuant to Applicable Law), PAOTBFBFM (Preliminary Advice Only to be Followed by Formal Memorandum) and BTF (Bill to Follow).

Jeesh.  Not to sound like an 85-yo granny or anything, but what is this world coming to!

(Editorial note: this is in no way to suggest that my 85-yo grandma would say such a thing, since I long ago came to terms with the fact that she is actually more technologically advanced than me. I bet she even has a Facebook account.)

(Post script: Dad has pointed out that Grams is actually 88 (and confirmed that yes, she does have a Facebook page).  Maybe if I follow my dad on Twitter and join this new fangled Goggle thing I can be as cool as my grandma.  Probably not though…. )

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