Tag: media

19 Aug

Deceased User Policies: Twitter and Facebook

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Social Media is not a fad and is fundamentally changing the ways we interact and communicate with others.  Two of the more popular social networking websites, Twitter and Facebook, recently implemented policies that set out guidelines regarding a user’s account once they have died.

Under Twitter’s policy, a person can either request that the deceased user’s account be removed entirely or receive an archive of all the deceased user’s tweets offline once they have provided Twitter with the following information:

1.                  Your full name, contact information (including e-mail address), and your relationship to the deceased user; 

 2.                  The username of the Twitter account, or a link to the profile page of the Twitter account.  

 3.                  A link to a public obituary or news article.

By comparison, Facebook provides two options: either removing the deceased’s account, or "memorializing" it.

Memorializing a person’s account “means the account lives on in Facebook’s system, and other Facebook members can interact with the deceased member’s wall. What’s interesting about what Facebook put into place, compared to Twitter, is that there’s still a great deal of emphasis put on privacy and what can be done with the information that user has posted to the service. For instance, only that user’s friends can still visit the profile or find it in Facebook’s public search tool. And Facebook goes so far as to remove all status updates and contact information.”

It is hard to imagine that Facebook and Twitter will remain an important part of our lives many years from now, but Facebook has grown from 300 million to 500 million users in less than a year, with few signs of that slowing down. This is an indication that “policies about a user’s death can end up being just as important as those you agree to when you first sign up.”

Thank you for reading, and have a great day.

Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.


12 Jul

World Cup Over: Spanish, Employers Rejoice

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While returning to the office after a meeting Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were watching the Spanish defeat the Germans on the giant movie projectors set up in Toronto’s underground labyrinth (for non-Torontonians: the major downtown subway stops, shopping centers and towers are connected by an underground network of tunnels and food courts).  The scene was replicated all along my journey.  What I did not see were the weeping business owners, but they must be out there.

According to this AP article, and this similar article, the World Cup will cost the German economy US$8 billion (0.27% GDP), Brazil shuts down, and as for Italy: when Italian FIAT autoworkers went on strike, by sheer coincidence the timing was 30 minutes before game time (did management even notice?); the issue was whether the workers could watch the game.  The World Cup is the fourth largest sapper of the US economy because of afternoon timing not popularity (March Madness NCAA basketball is tops).

Congrats to the Spanish champions.

Have a great and productive week,

Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.


24 Jun

I’m jumping on the blogging bandwagon!

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This is the first time I have ever contributed to a blog, legal or otherwise, so you can imagine my delight when I noticed an article in the June 11, 2010 issue of Lawyers Weekly entitled "Legal blogs that work”.

The article, written by Geoff Kirbyson, discusses the benefits of legal blogging and includes helpful hints on running effective law-blogs.

Mr. Kirbyson points out that legal-blogging has become more common amongst law firms. This assertion comes as no surprise to me. My colleague, Sharon Davis, recently discussed the growing popularity of blogging amongst members of our profession. She noted that blogging is not an alien concept for lawyers as writing has always been a large part of our professional lives. You can find her blog here.

The increased attention given to on-line media makes sense when you consider the number of individuals who rely on social media for their information. A 2009 study by CNW Group and Ledger Marketing found that 50% of those surveyed accessed social media tools once per day.

So, what makes a legal blog effective? A managing partner of a Winnipeg-based firm opined that an effective blog showcases activity at a law firm, highlights developments in particular legal areas, demonstrates a firm’s knowledge and expertise, and enables a firm to engage in client service through social media. This is certainly true.

In my opinion, however, there is one more necessary component to effective legal blogging. In addition to being accurate, relevant, and current, a legal blog should be FUN.

Happy blogging everyone! I know that we’ll talk again soon.

Kathryn Pilkington – Click here for more information on Kathryn Pilkington.

30 Dec

The Importance of Utilizing Social Media

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Without understanding what the term “social media” is, it can sound intimidating to those in our industry who are not computer literate. But what is social media? Wikipedia defines social media as “media which are formed mainly by the public as a group, in a social way, rather than media produced by journalists, editors and media conglomerates." In an article, composed by Gary Edgar of LawPro, he defines social media as anyone looking to engage, connect and network with others online.

Gary Edgar does point out that one thing social media is not, is a fad.   Social Media is fundamentally changing the ways we interact and communicate with others and it will be interesting to see how this form of media continues to evolve. 

Social networks can be used to learn, exchange ideas and collaborate on projects. I have participated in numerous forums where I have learned how to troubleshoot many problems that I may have encountered with my automobile and computer, moreover, I have also learned neat little tips on some home renovations.  Social Media can also be used as a form of marketing. As Gary Edgar points out in his article, 15-20 years ago, the options for self promotion were limited to newspaper ads, the yellow pages, a radio or TV. Now with the concept of social media, our options have multiplied and the costs for self promotion have been drastically reduced.

However, the social media world is not the flawless paradise that we all would like it to be. There have been instances of online imposters, questions as to how much of my real life persona should I share online, how many people are seeing the things I post and who owns the information that is placed online?  These are all very important questions that will become clearer as this form of media continues to evolve.

Until next time,

Rick Bickhram

Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.


05 Nov

Two More Serious Charges Dropped Against Accused Shopkeeper

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Prosecutors have dropped the charges of kidnapping and carrying a concealed weapon against the shopkeeper accused David Chen.  Readers will remember Mr. Chen as Toronto’s Chinatown shopkeeper who arrested a shoplifter, with the help of two employees, then got charged himself.

Mr. Chen, owner of Chinatown store Lucky Moose Mart, had spotted the thief and with the assistance of his employees, tackled the thief, bound him in twine and detained him in a delivery truck until the police arrived four minutes later.  The thief had allegedly victimized local stores, and has a criminal record going back 32 years, all according to this news report.  Incredibly, this record includes – according to the news report – stealing from Mr. Chen’s own store and a neighbouring store, including on that same day.  Truth being stranger than fiction, the thief was granted a plea-bargain sentence of 30 days in relation to his theft from Mr. Chen’s store in part because he agreed to testify against Mr. Chen and the two employees. 

The Crown’s theory seems to be that because the arrest was not contemporaneous with the crime, the thief having returned to the store about an hour after committing the theft, the arrest is not protected by citizen’s arrest provisions.  Mr. Chen has apparently rejected a plea bargain – he had videotape evidence of the theft. 

Mr. Chen is married with 2 children, aged 2 and 6, and has become a bit of a folk hero.  How hot is this story?  The Globe and Mail reported at 12:13pm yesterday, the National Post at 4:03 pm, CBC at 2:54pm, the Toronto Star right away too. 

Have a good day,

Chris Graham

Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.


16 Oct

Peer into the Crystal Ball: Business Opportunities in an Aging World

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Whether it’s technology or tv trends, Japan seems to be light years ahead.  And we play catch-up (ok, not so with the stupid game shows).  Japan’s median age is 43.5, Canada’s is 39.1.  But since Japanese live longer (life expectancy of 82.12 versus Canada’s [still respectable] 81.23), we’re really only a few years behind.  So what can we learn from their population, which is a few years ahead of ours in dealing with an aging population?

The answer is: forget about cars, dvd players and even robots.  Funerals are very, very big business in Japan.  According to this Bloomberg article, the Japanese funeral industry is worth US$18 billion.   Last year, 1.14 million Japanese died, and funeral companies charge about $26,094.62 per funeral.  By 2040, 1.66 million will be dying every year.  Future growth is in death, and as Bloomberg notes, "everyone from railway companies to retailers wants a slice."   Funeral companies are stampeding towards Japan.

Unfortunately, things won’t be so rosy in Canada.  This is because Japanese funerals are mostly Bhuddist funerals, which are elaborate multi-day events involving chanting monks, flowers, meals, cremation ceremonies, jade urns and the like.  They are elaborate, exhausting events.  Our funerals are fast-forwarded commercial breaks by comparison.  But it is still a glimpse into the future.

Have a great weekend,

Chris Graham

Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.


20 May

The Formal Passing of Accounts – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #113

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Listen to The Formal Passing of Accounts.

This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about the specifics of what happens when you have to go to court to formally pass accounts.

Comments? Send us and email at hullandhull@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985, or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estate and Succession Planning blog.


13 May

Talking About Wealth and Personal Finance – Hull on Estates #110

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Listen to Talking About Wealth and Personal Finance.

This week on Hull on Estates Suzanna and Ian review the pullout in March 18th’s New York Times and talk about the importance of dialog before and after death.

Comments? Send us an email at hull.lawyers@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-350-6636, or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estates blog.


13 Mar

Battle Brewing Over Heath Ledger Estate?

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Recently departed actor Heath Ledger (A Knight’s Tale, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight) left behind a young daughter.  But based on news reports, Ledger appears to have neglected to include his daughter in his Will, perhaps unintentionally.  It appears Ledger last filed a Will in 2003, before the birth of his daughter Matilda in 2005 and before his hit film Brokeback Mountain.  This Will reportedly leaves Heath Ledger’s estate entirely to his father, mother and sisters, obviously with nothing to little Matilda.

Heath Ledger’s father Kim has stated that little Matilda "will be taken care of".  However, Kim himself has been in litigation with his brothers, who accused him in 1994 of mishandling their grandfather’s estate to the extent of $2 million.

This intriguing story also illustrates the importance and difficulty of valuing an estate.  News reports contain estimates from $2.5 million to $20 million, quite a range for an estate that spans at least two countries. 

No word yet on whether litigation will be launched on little Matilda’s behalf against her exclusion from her father’s estate.  Of course, other Wills may emerge…

Stay tuned.

Chris Graham



18 Dec

The Core Issues Concerning Estate Taxes – Hull on Estates and Succession Planning Podcast # 91

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Listen to The Core Issues Concerning Estate Taxes

This week on Hull on Estates and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana discuss the core issues surrounding estate taxes.



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