This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Social Media Latest Networking Tool for Lawyers"
A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.
Social Media Latest Networking Tool for Lawyers
“Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the con-
struction of words, pictures, videos and audio. … Social media or
social networking (one example of social media) has a
number of characteristics that make it fundamentally
different from traditional media such as newspapers,
television, books and radio. Primarily, social media
depends on interactions between people as the discussion
and integration of words builds shared-meaning, using
technology as a conduit.”
— Wikipedia entry for social media
All lawyers understand the importance of networking.
Interacting with colleagues, current clients and
potential clients is a surefire way to increase business
opportunities and referrals.
In the past, networking traditionally occurred in many forums,
including events sponsored by bar associations or other professional organizations, on the golf course or while participating in
community activities. Not all lawyers relished the concept of networking, but the general school of thought was that it was a necessary part of doing business, and staying cooped up in an office
day in and day out was counterproductive to rainmaking.
With the recent explosion of social media and online networking opportunities, however, traditional notions regarding networking may no longer be applicable. The time-tested, traditional
methods certainly still apply, but emerging social media technologies are expanding networking opportunities exponentially.
Social media appears in many forms, including e-mail, blogs,
online forums and message boards. The ability to network with
other lawyers and potential clients from the comfort of your office,
on your own terms and your own schedule, is now a reality.
The only drawback to this new form of interaction is that it is
not time tested, and its effectiveness has yet to be proven. Nevertheless, opportunities to network online are increasingly available and lawyers who ignore the possibilities do so to their own
Examples of social media applications that facilitate professional and social networking include Facebook, LinkedIn and,
most recently, micro-blogs such as Twitter.
Facebook, likely the most well known of
the three networking sites, originally launched as a social net-
work for college students, but was opened to the public in September 2006. While it remains predominantly a social network-
ing site, it can provide valuable professional networking opportunities for lawyers.
Over the last year, lawyers have flocked to Facebook in droves
and created networking groups centered around various areas of
practice. It is a cost-free and useful way to meet other lawyers
from across the country and to re-connect with law
school and undergraduate colleagues.
LinkedIn is a free online professional networking site that consists of a membership “of
more than 20 million experienced professionals from
around the world, representing 150 industries.” Its primary goal is to increase business opportunities for
members by providing the ability to connect with potential clients, employees, employers and other members
of their profession. LinkedIn has been around for a
while now and shows promise. Only time will tell if it
will live up to its potential as a professional networking
One of the newer, emerging technologies seeing a huge amount
of growth is Twitter. In my opinion, it is one of
the most promising professional networking resources available.
Twitter is a free networking and micro-blogging service in
which conversations occur in, at the most, 140-character snip-
pets. Once a member, you can locate others with similar interests
or backgrounds through a directory such as Twellow, then follow and reply to Twitter posts.
There has been a great influx of practicing and non-practicing
lawyers onto Twitter in recent months, allowing for exchanges on
topics such as recent court decisions and law practice management. In addition to facilitating law-related discussions, Twitter
allows member to get a good feel for the people with whom they
converse, since posts also include people’s thoughts regarding
their day-to-day activities and current events.
Emerging social media technologies are leveling the playing
field and changing the way lawyers interact and network. Time-
tested and proven networking methods should not be abandoned,
but astute attorneys will recognize the potential for increasing
one’s professional network by taking advantage of free, online