Use Social Media to Network, Build Relationships
Social Media for Large Law Firms

The Social Media Crush--aka Dazed and Confused

OverwhelmedImage by Cheo70 via Flickr

Last week, Chris Brogan wrote a thought provoking blog post in which he suggested a looming social media crash, resulting from a deluge of online connections and the subsequent contacts that we receive as a result of our online connections. He posited that it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain online relationships and adequately respond to people's requests.

He used his experience as an example and explained the impossibility of interacting in a meaningful way with people as your social media presence grows. Granted, Chris has a social media presence on steroids compared to most everyone else, myself included.

But even with an online presence like mine, which pales in comparison to Chris', I'm finding it nearly impossible to provide meaningful responses these days, even when I want to.

And, truth be told, that fact frustrates me beyond belief as I find that I'm failing to provide responses in a timely or useful fashion and am offending people that I truly like and respect (and those whom I've never met) in the process.

Let's use the past week as an example, keeping in mind that I'm swamped with work right now (and thus put most of my blogs on hold for the summer), am facing two major book deadlines in mid-September along with my regular workload, and traveled to Atlanta the latter half of last week to give a presentation on social media for lawyers. In other words, I'm more than busy and am struggling to keep up.

Over the last week and a half or so I received the following inquiries via phone, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email, the vast majority of which required a response of some sort (and these don't include what I consider to be spam contacts--such as multiple PR suggestions from complete strangers  to write about an issue on my blog (that generally has nothing to do with the topic of the blog), etc.):

  • A legal tech company asking me to check out their new platform that just launched and provide my feedback (Twitter DM)
  • An inquiry from a fellow lawyer asking me to provide metrics re: a particular blogging issue (Twitter DM)
  • Someone asking me if they could post an article that I'd written, in its entirety, on their website (Twitter DM)
  • Someone asking me if I could recommend lawyer networking opportunities for their friend who recently moved to Rochester (Twitter DM)
  • Someone asking me to speak at an Upstate NY conference about social media (Twitter DM and subsequent phone call)
  • Someone asking me for a referral to an Upstate NY lawyer re: social media policies and also asking me to meet them for coffee so we could officially meet (LinkedIn commincation)
  • A friend and colleague asking me to assist in introducing them to one of my editors with the intent to get something published (LinkedIn)
  • An email from a complete stranger asking me for a list of insurance companies that provide cloud computing insurance (followed by a snarky reply when I declined)
  • An inquiry from a local attorney asking me for a referral to a website designer (Facebook)
  • An email from a legal tech company asking me to test drive their product and blog about it
  • An inquiry via email from an iPad developer asking for 15 minutes of my time to run an idea by me
  • An email from an attorney I've interacted with quite a bit via email asking me if I'm going to be in NYC anytime soon and hoping to meet me for coffee to discuss an undisclosed issue
  • An inquiry from a State bar magazine asking if I'd like to write an article for them--unpaid of course
  • A request from a stranger via the Social Media Club of Rochester site (of which I am a co-founder) asking me to speak to a bunch of local teenagers about social media
  • Email requests from 4 law bloggers asking me to add their blogs to my blog roll and another request from a NY law school law review asking me to let my readers know that they're looking for articles
  • Multiple inquiries via phone from people seeking an attorney that I referred to other local attorneys who handle the types of law involved.

Suffice to say, I am truly overwhelmed and find myself increasingly unable to respond to the multiple requests for my advice, time and energy (all requested on a volunteer basis). I try my best to respond, but sometimes either fail to do so in a timely manner or dash off a quick, shallow reply.

If I've responded inadequately to one of your inquiries in recent months, and we're "friends" via social media or otherwise, I apologize.

If you had a legitimate request and I've not yet responded to it, I likewise apologize. My lack of response is likely because I don't have a quick answer, but truly do want to address your inquiry and give it the attention that it deserves, so I've tabled it for a few days.

If you're a complete stranger with a totally random request that I've ignored, what did you expect? Go bother someone else.

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I'm right there with you and Chris. It seems like over the past year the flood gates have opened. I'm on the American Association for Justice Public Policy and Marketing Committee and we were talking about the "noise" that drowns out legitimate online interactions. Seth godin had a great article on the resilience and power of slow change that I swear I wrote in a dream where I was getting bombarded with social media requests.

Just think of what its like for attorneys that don't partake in social media? It just seems like everyone is jumping in head first without any cohesive strategy on how to do this efficiently and, well...for a lack of a better term....sanely.

We're going to increasingly have to have "non social media days" where we take a break from our computers, iphones, ipads, and other gadgets and just sit back and relax. I've found that when I am able to remove myself from the cacophony that I can truly work more efficiently.

By the way, great blog :)

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