Meet Ray Beckerman, to quote his own Twitter Bio: “Law, social justice, nature, human & animal rights, arts, ecology, indie music & film”
If you are on Twitter and you pay attention to who really connects with others, gives back and actually makes the community/ecosystem better, then you are no doubt aware of Ray Beckerman! If you haven’t heard of him, he is an ambassador of what Social Media is all about. When I got started on Twitter, Ray was one of the first folks I found who unselfishly shared tricks, tips and by his “best practices,” through his best practices I learned how to engage others.
What you may not know about Ray is he’s also a commercial litigator and internet law attorney with extensive experience in business law, copyright, trademark, entertainment, libel, slander, internet, computer software, business torts, and other areas….in addition, he has litigated hundreds of cases!
How did you get started in music and law?
In 1974 I started St. John’s University School of Law, and within a few weeks began working as a law clerk at Phillips Nizer Benjamin Krim & Ballon, which was a prominent law firm representing many entertainment companies and performers, including United Artists, Led Zeppelin, the Motion Picture Association, record companies and others. So from the very beginning, my practice included entertainment issues.
What are your fondest childhood memories?
Well I guess one of the sweetest memories of childhood was frequent family gatherings at my grandparents’ house in the Bronx. I loved Summer days, and was always on my bike, and loved fishing.
What are your favorite things to do?
Well I love running and kung fu, but I’ve gotten out of shape lately; twitter has been part of the problem. I’m spending too much time on a computer.
What current event has your eyes and ears? And what are you doing about it?
I’m following a number of current events, but one of the most important is the worldwide pushback of indigenous people against the illegal and immoral incursions into precious rainforests and other natural treasures in order to engage in mineral exploitation. I feel that our world is on a precipice, and the people leading the fight are the poorest and most disadvantaged among us. What I try to do is take advantage of the wonderful grassroots-organizing abilities of Twitter & other social media to help get the word out, so that the truth doesn’t get swept under the rug. And I try to help mobilize people to get involved in email campaigns, petitions, call-ins, contribution drives, and other activities, to let the big powers know that the world is watching now, and we’re not going to let this continue.
What inspires you when you write?
I was raised with a strong social consciousness, and my primary work in social media has been to call attention to important social issues, and help mobilize people to fight on the right side of these issues.
What is your favorite website?
I guess Slashdot & Groklaw. I love the social nature of both, and I love the rambunctiousness and humor of Slashdot, and the intellect and vision of Groklaw.
When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
For years I wanted to be an anthropologist, because I was profoundly interested in understanding human history, and understanding human nature. Midway through college I shifted to wanting to be a journalist, because I thought that might make a difference in the world.
Where are you answering these questions from right now?
My office, in Forest Hills, Queens.
What are you wearing?
A casual short sleeved shirt and slacks.
If you had a Super Power what would it be?
It would be the ability to stun and permanently disable bad guys.
Which famous person do you admire?
Of deceased people, Martin Luther King, Jr. Of living people, Pete Seeger. The reasons are the same: because they devoted their lives to making the world a better place.
What is your favorite movie?
Casablanca. I guess because it sums up all the important things in life: love, freedom, and courage. It is so well done and so beautiful and powerful, almost every day I’ll think of some of the lines from Casablanca in life situations.
I guess my favorite tasting ‘snack’ would be a cannoli & cappuccino. I don’t know why; it’s just the most luxurious taste combination imaginable, to me.
What are 3 items you CAN NOT live without?
I’m not like that. I adjust.
How do you balance your life – mate, children, job?
Poorly. Right now I spend way too much time sitting at a computer.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be, and what would say to them?
I’ve often wanted to discuss with Bob Dylan why he sold out.
What is your hobby or do you collect anything?
I have a lot of things I enjoy, but no time in which to enjoy them.
What chore to you hate?
Ironing. For some reason I could never wrap my mind around it; it always seemed that the clothes – especially shirts with buttons – simply were not designed to be ironed.
Do you have an animal/s?
Yes we have a wonderful Westie named Annie. She has the most unbelievable personality. She thinks all living things are her friends; and all inanimate objects are toys. We also have a cat named Angel. He thinks Annie is his mother, and he goes on walks with us. I think Angel thinks he’s a dog.
Fruits or Vegetables?
I really like them all. I have very broad tastes in food; there’s almost nothing I don’t like.
Mac or PC?
PC. But someday I hope to have a Mac.
Craziest thing you have ever done?
I’m not really very wild, so I’m drawing a blank on that. As you can see, I’m pretty dull.