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Pew Research: Growing Social Media Role In U.S. Politics

The ‘Place For Politics’ May Be Social Media

For those readers who have followed CyberEsq since its inception, you know the tremendous emphasis I have placed on reporting research results from the Pew Research Center, particularly its “Internet & American Life Project.”  Print

In my opinion as an educator and information consumer, anyone interested in well-designed, objectively-executed research studies need look no further than the Pew Research Center.

Recently, I wrote an article for CyberStories at Storify.com discussing Pew’s recent findings on Americans’ use of social media for political activities.  Their important research can also be viewed here.  Pew’s findings suggest that social media’s role (and, presumably, influence) in American politics is rapidly growing.


Mirroring our use of the Internet in general, American adults increasingly use social media for some type of political expression or activism.  Mobile devices as civics “hotspots,” if you will, also seem to be on the rise.

All Politics Are ‘Social’

What does this research say about Americans as political participants?  Like other aspects of our lives, Americans have grown accustomed to having electronic information in “real time.”  Whatever the information is that we seek, we want it, and we want it now.

And, we want to socialize with others about it, sharing out thoughts and opinions, our likes, pluses, statuses…all that good social media ‘stuff.’  Political participation seems almost like the perfect match for social media.

There is an old saying, oft-repeated at election time by journalists like Chris Matthews and others that “all politics are local.”  If Pew’s research holds true, will this tried-and-true statement be replaced by, “All politics are social?”  They are, aren’t they?

More fascinating, but perhaps daunting, problems may arise with how candidates or other stakeholders should conduct themselves in the new and more loosely organized social media universe.  And, of course, how do we explain all this to our kids, and hopefully teach them a thing or two?

Chances are, they will explain it to us.

CyberEsqOpEdAvatar-001Op-Ed originally published:  April 29 2013

Revised July 15, 2013


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Jurors Who Tweet! Beware!

Under legislation passed last year, and signed by Gov. Brown, California jurors, who tweet during trial or jury deliberations could face jail time.  The law went into effect the first of this year.

A similar bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he believed the current warnings to jurors were adequate.

The new legislation states that trial judges must inform jurors that the prohibition of communication or research about a case includes all forms of electronic or wireless communication or research. It was by prompted by numerous reports about jurors using cell phones and other devices to research cases or contacts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last year. Violators could face up to six months in jail.

It will be interesting to see how this new law plays out, if it works, and if the judges are really going to throw jurors in the slammer over tweets!  What do you think?

For more information on the new California law that went into effect:


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Seventh Circuit Awards e360 a Whopping 3 in Damages Against Spamhaus – e360 v. Spamhaus

Seventh Circuit Awards e360 a Whopping 3 in Damages Against Spamhaus – e360 v. Spamhaus.

This has been an interesting case, with an equally interesting result in the damages award!

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Antispam Law Draws Backlash

Antispam Law Draws Backlash.

This article discusses the stiff anti-spam law passed recently in Canada.  It also contrasts an important feature of Canada’s law, which is that it is an “opt-in” system, meaning that marketers in Canada are forbidden from just sending “cold” materials to consumers via email.  The penalties for violation of the law in Canada are quite steep.

By contrast, most home-grown attempts to address the anti-spam problem legislatively preserve the marketers right to communicate in an unsolicited way with the consumer, placing it almost on a pedestal of free speech and fundamental democratic ideals.  Note the quote in the subject article about the trade offs for living in a “free society.”

But, what happens when a society’s technologies are such that individuals can cause serious harm to an individual’s – or even large company’s – data and hardware housing that data, not to mention the financial loss caused from loss of productivity just for having to address the spamming efforts.  We recognize it as a crime, yet are we not leaving a giant loophole in U.S. laws for spammers to continue their dirty work?  Or, would adopting Canada’s approach stifle free enterprise?

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Court OKs Private Seizure of Domain Names That Allegedly Sold Counterfeit Goods

Court OKs Private Seizure of Domain Names That Allegedly Sold Counterfeit Goods.

This article is a bit dated, but still quite interesting to read.

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Proposed CA Ethics Opinion On “Virtual Lawyering” In The Cyber Box

The opinion is now open for public comment.  I encourage all interested parties to do so.  At your leisure, you can download a copy of the proposed opinion from the Cyber Box at the top of the blog page.


Cozy Up To The Best Personal Time Mgmt App (You May Never Have Heard Of)

Cozi Calendar Logo

For some time, I have wanted to write a short post, putting in a plug for one of my favorite tech tools – Cozi Calendar.  My delay, I suppose, stems from the fact that no other online legal journal I know of has mentioned Cozi Calendar.  Why should they?  Cozi Calendar has nothing whatsoever to do with the legal world – until you consider what extraordinarily hectic lives legal professionals lead.  Just treading water in the office productivity pool often requires all the help we can get.  Personal commitments, you say?  What are those?

But, we have them, do we not?  We have family dinners, PTA meetings and soccer games, and date nights with significant others just like anyone else.  The individuals in our personal lives expect us to meet our commitments to them just like we would anyone else.  Many times, our commitments to those in our personal lives wind up being more important that those in our profession.  Enter a tool like Cozi Calendar.

I first became aware of Cozi Calendar about a year ago.  I had never heard of it, which was something of a surprise because my research and writing leads me to analyze and review a lot of productivity tools like calendars.  So, I began to investigate what Cozi Calendar could do.  Almost immediately, I fell in love with it – and not because it has a gazillion bells and whistles.  Quite the opposite.

The makers of Cozi emphasize a philosophy phrased as “Live Simply.”   Unlike many companies, however, these folks actually produce a product that epitomizes their philosophy.  As calendaring applications go – particularly those focusing on businesses – Cozi lacks many features one might expect.  Cozi does not focus on meeting one’s calendaring needs for business or work.  Instead, it focuses on organizing and managing the personal side of your life.  It does so wonderfully.

In my experience, the same problem affects many of the calendaring applications I have used or reviewed – How do make a calendar program feature rich enough to meet the user’s needs without making the thing too difficult to learn in a timely way or too cumbersome to use.  It’s a problem affecting more than just calendar programs, to be sure.

Cozi manages to provide exactly the right amount and type of calendaring and “task management” features that a busy professional might want for their personal calendar in an easy-to-grasp, user-friendly way.  If you see a benefit in keeping better track of your personal commitments, Cozi is just the tool.

Below is a screenshot, offering just a glimpse of Cozi’s inviting design as well as its features and functionality:

Cozi Calendar Sample Family Calendar

Sample Cozi Calendar In Week View

If this was all Cozi Calendar did, one might find it hard to understand how it won the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval – in 2008, 2009 and 2010 – or the National Parenting Publication’s Award Winner in 2010.  These are just a few of the accolades that Cozi Calendar has received from organizations and consumers alike because Cozi Calendar does offer so much more than the screenshot above conveys.

Cozi Calendar allows users to:

  • View daily, weekly or monthly schedules, color-coded to family member;
  • Have a weekly agenda sent to your inbox; reminders sent by text or email.  And, yes, there’s an app for it;
  • Add appointments to your calendar quickly, such as school schedules, sporting activities and more;
  • Create customized “to do” lists, such as grocery lists, that can be read over the phone to you or sent as texts to your mobile device or via email; and
  • Assign task lists of repeating events, such as weekly chores for the kids, that help keep the family on track and organized.

With features like these, you agree Cozi Calendar is good.  But, great?  Still not so sure, huh?  Fortunately, I have saved three of its best features for last.  Pay attention class -

Cozi Calendar Family Journal FeatureUnlike just about any other calendaring program, Cozi Calendar comes equipped with a feature it calls the Family Journal.  In actuality, because it can be private or shared, it works like a family blog – one that is easy enough for everyone to jot down something in writing and, if they like, upload a photo as well.

Cozi Calendar Screensaver Maker Feature

Cozi Calendar’s second, truly unique feature is its Screensaver Maker. Using either your My Pictures folder or any folder you designate, Cozi Calendar will assemble a collage of photos and arrange them in a neat way with upcoming appointments as a great screensaver.

Cozi Calendar Pre Made Lists and CalendarsThe third feature that helps Cozi Calendar stand out from the crowd are the many truly helpful pre-made checklists, calendars and hints for the busy household.  There are checklists focusing on the kids and school, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.

For those of you with children, this is a wonderful addition to a calendaring program.  I know of one family law professional who examined Cozi Calendar, and was so impressed with the quality of many of these lists that she intended to make it a suggestion to some of her clients who struggle with time management and parenting skills.

Some of you might be saying, “That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t want to have another, separate calendar to worry about.”  In my opinion, there are reasons why legal professionals ought to keep their personal and work calendars separate.   However, if you feel that it would be better for you to have your calendars connected in some way electronically – and you use Outlook or Google – Cozi syncs with Outlook and import/export with Google.  Syncing with Google is not presently an available feature.

For many of us, managing our work and personal commitments is challenging.  We are nearing the holidays when that challenge is doubly difficult.  For legal professionals, double that challenge yet again.  We shoulder heavy burdens when it comes to meeting our commitments.  It is important to have a system that stays on top of them.  Just don’t forget the importance of the commitments you have made that support your well-being and that of your loved ones.

Cozi Calendar can help.  Did I also happen to mention its price tag? $0.00.


11/9/2011 – This evening, I happened to stop by Cozi’s Facebook page and noticed that they have released their annual Christmas Countdown calendar.  This “calendar” is a downloadable list of common Christmas “to-do’s” that will further help to further ease your holiday stress.  Keep it comin’, Cozi!

Author’s Pledge:  I have no affiliation with Cozi Calendar or any person or entity associated with it.  I have sought nothing from any person or entity in exchange for writing this article, and expect to receive no remuneration from any person or entity as a result of writing this article.  This article is solely based on my own personal opinion about the product(s) or service(s) that are the subject of the article.  It is upon this basis that I recommend same to my readers and followers ≈ EGY, The Cyber-Esq.
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