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Social media sites like Facebook are great for marketing, and they are also a prime source for evidence. Although the former is generally distinct from the latter, it is yet another reminder that posting personal information online can have more far-reaching implications than a person originally intends.

Should you change your online marketing?

Facebook can be used for marketing, but whether you should change your posts depends on your marketing angle. If you handle § 1983 claims against the police, linking on your Facebook page to a recent news article about an individual’s claim of police brutality with the comment “those jerks are at it again” might be overkill. More importantly, it is unnecessary.

For marketing, it is good to show some personality, but there is no need to go over the top. Your audience likely knows who you are and what you do—there is no need to beat them over the head with it. In other words, think before you type. It is unlikely that your marketing posts would have any evidentiary value, but it is still worth practicing caution before you post.

What is the evidentiary value of posts?

According to the article, divorce attorneys are the most frequent users of online posts, noting that 81% of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say that they have had to deal with or have used evidence from Facebook or other social media sources. Posting about your feelings is relevant in those cases. So are posts about who you associate with, who you were hanging with, and even what you were doing and how much it cost.

In other cases, now that many social media sites are using geo-tagging, posts could be used to show where a person was, or was not, at a certain time. They could be used to establish opportunity or motive. For lawyers who are still unfamiliar with social media, it is time get up to speed—you may be missing out on some important evidence.