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Are You Experimenting with Social Media?

by Barb Cashman on May 25, 2011

I attended the very interesting and informative CLE, Social Media for Lawyers, by Lawyers, on May 17  at the CBA. I wanted to share some thoughts about this CLE with the blog community, perhaps as a wake-up call for those of you wondering about the inevitable. No, not the end of the world, that was last Saturday night – remember? I’m talking about when you need to sign up for Facebook.

First off, Brad Friedman, of the Friedman Group, LLC [Social Media Marketing for Professionals] put together a compelling and statistics-laden PowerPoint about how none of us can afford to be slackers when it comes to social media. I think he is right.

The program was well-attended, which came as no surprise. Sometimes frightening, sometimes motivating, the new era of social media networking was effectively described in both a strategic way and in a nuts and bolts fashion. In fact, it almost sounds doable for a solo. That is – if you fall squarely on the marketer side of the marketer/lawyer split.

The reservation I have with the social networking message is that it tends to require a leap of faith. Don’t get me wrong – I am a person of great faith, just not in the category of social media. I did hear once, sometime last year I think, of someone I knew who knew someone else (also a lawyer) who actually got a client contact through LinkedIn. I know, I know, I’m sounding like such a naysayer here!  But I’m not really – I want to believe!  Can 700 million people (100 million on LinkedIn, plus 600 million on Facebook) be wrong?  I’m just a bit of a skeptic.

Brad had a LinkedIn statistic that said over 100 million users, more than 200 countries, and over 36 million people visit a month. Yes, that math is way over my head, but I still think it requires a certain additional je ne sais quoi for making connections that end up leading to prospective clients. Don’t get me wrong, I took Brad’s message to heart. I got busy with ramping up my LinkedIn connections by some 27.85 percent (okay, that number is fake), so I’ve got 112 connections now. Nearly all of them are people I actually know – does that make me a Luddite?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If you don’t, it’s time you had one! Carefully draft your profile in 150 words or less, and then click on over to LinkedIn.com to get signed up for your free account. Beyond the business-oriented LinkedIn environment lies Facebook. Nope, yours truly hasn’t yet acquired the gumption to launch there. I can see why lots of people do.

In the second portion of the program, Brad convened a panel of lawyers who were experts at using social media beyond LinkedIn and Facebook.  Jim Thomas blogs at NoFunnyLawyers.com, which (according to LexisNexis) is one of the country’s top business law blogs, and Bernie Greenberg has his own YouTube channel – check it out at YouTube.com/berniegreenberg. I would say these two are the rock stars of the Colorado social media savvy lawyers. They were very enthusiastic about what they do with their social media and seem to really enjoy it as well. I think this is a key point to consider – do you want to do this to try something new, for the fun of it, to see where it might take you? (Yes, I’m thinking about that Dr. Seuss title “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”)

I think the foray into social media needs to be something lawyers actually want to do, to get on board the “social media train,” and not to be dragged, kicking and screaming because you “have to” or you will lose all your clients to your social-media-savvy competition.

Another panel member was Susan Gindin, who published the first law review article on Internet privacy. She offered a sample law firm workplace social media policy, which could be used by firms looking to set some ground rules for employees’ use of social media. Brad and the panel did an excellent job of surveying and describing the social media landscape suitable for entry by lawyers.

This was a good CLE to attend (let’s hear it for Alli Gerkman, program attorney for CBA-CLE!).  I would urge solo and small firm lawyers who haven’t yet taken the plunge to at least wade into the LinkedIn pool. Test the water there, if it’s comfortable, consider expanding your horizons. But as Bernie Greenberg reminded the audience, keep it real and not too slick. Remember, this Internet social media stuff is really the world’s biggest science (psychology) experiment anyway – don’t you want to be a part of this experiment?

Share your thoughts with us!

Sorry you missed the CLE? You can order the homestudy in one of two formats: MP3 Download or Online Video.

 

I attended the very interesting and informative CLE Social Media for Lawyers, by Lawyers on May 17 at the CBA. I wanted to share some thoughts about this CLE with the blog community, perhaps as a wake-up call for those of you wondering about the inevitable. No, not the end of the world, that was last Saturday night – remember? I’m talking about when you need to sign up for Facebook.

First off, Brad Friedman, of the Friedman Group, LLC [Social Media Marketing for Professionals] put together a compelling and statistics-laden PowerPoint about how none of us can afford to be slackers when it comes to social media. I think he is right.

The program was well-attended, which came as no surprise. Sometimes frightening, sometimes motivating, the new era of social media networking was effectively described in both a strategic way and in nuts and bolts fashion. In fact, it almost sounds doable for a solo. That is – if you fall squarely on the marketer side of the marketer/lawyer split.

The reservation I have with the social networking message is that it tends to require a leap of faith. Don’t get me wrong – I am a person of great faith, just not in the category of social media. I did hear once, sometime last year I think, of someone I knew who knew someone else (also a lawyer) who actually got a client contact through LinkedIn. I know, I know, I’m sounding like such a naysayer here! But I’m not really – I want to believe! Can 700 million people (100 million on LinkedIn, plus 600 million on Facebook) be wrong? I’m just a bit of a skeptic.

Brad had a LinkedIn statistic that said over 100 million users, more than 200 countries, and over 36 million people visit a month. Yes, that math is way over my head, but I still think it requires a certain additional je ne sais quoi for making connections that end up leading to prospective clients. Don’t get me wrong, I took Brad’s message to heart. I got busy with ramping up my LinkedIn connections by some 27.85 percent (okay, that number is fake), so I’ve got 112 connections now. Nearly all of them are people I actually know – does that make me a Luddite?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If you don’t, it’s time you had one! Carefully draft your profile in 150 words or less, and then click on over to http://www.linkedin.com to get signed up for your free account. I haven’t heard anything about the premium (paid) subscription, but there was a question about it on the Solo Small Firm listserve a week or so back.

Beyond the business-oriented LinkedIn environment lies Facebook. Nope, yours truly hasn’t yet acquired the gumption to launch there. I can see why lots of people do.

In the second portion of the program, Brad convened a panel of lawyers who were experts at using social media beyond LinkedIn and Facebook. Jim Thomas blogs at NoFunnyLawyers.com, which (according to LexisNexis) is one of the country’s top business law blogs, and Bernie Greenberg has his own YouTube channel – check it out at YouTube.com/berniegreenberg. I would say these two are the rock stars of the Colorado social media savvy lawyers. They were very enthusiastic about what they do with their social media and seem to really enjoy it as well. I think this is a key point to consider – do you want to do this to try something new, for the fun of it, to see where it might take you? (Yes, I’m thinking about that Dr. Seuss title “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”)

I think the foray into social media needs to be something lawyers actually want to do, to get on board the “social media train,” and not to be dragged, kicking and screaming because you “have to” or you will lose all your clients to your social-media-savvy competition. Another panel member was Susan Gindin, who published the first law review article on Internet privacy. She offered a sample law firm workplace social media policy, which could be used by firms looking to set some ground rules for employees’ use of social media. Brad and the panel did an excellent job of surveying and describing the social media landscape suitable for entry by lawyers.

This was a good CLE to attend (let’s hear it for Alli Gerkman, program attorney for CLE!).

I attended the very interesting and informative CLE Social Media for Lawyers, by Lawyers on May 17  at the CBA. I wanted to share some thoughts about this CLE with the blog community, perhaps as a wake-up call for those of you wondering about the inevitable. No, not the end of the world, that was last Saturday night – remember? I’m talking about when you need to sign up for Facebook.

First off, Brad Friedman, of the Friedman Group, LLC [Social Media Marketing for Professionals] put together a compelling and statistics-laden PowerPoint about how none of us can afford to be slackers when it comes to social media. I think he is right.

The program was well-attended, which came as no surprise. Sometimes frightening, sometimes motivating, the new era of social media networking was effectively described in both a strategic way and in nuts and bolts fashion. In fact, it almost sounds doable for a solo. That is – if you fall squarely on the marketer side of the marketer/lawyer split.

The reservation I have with the social networking message is that it tends to require a leap of faith. Don’t get me wrong – I am a person of great faith, just not in the category of social media. I did hear once, sometime last year I think, of someone I knew who knew someone else (also a lawyer) who actually got a client contact through LinkedIn. I know, I know, I’m sounding like such a naysayer here!  But I’m not really – I want to believe!  Can 700 million people (100 million on LinkedIn, plus 600 million on Facebook) be wrong?  I’m just a bit of a skeptic.

Brad had a LinkedIn statistic that said over 100 million users, more than 200 countries, and over 36 million people visit a month. Yes, that math is way over my head, but I still think it requires a certain additional je ne sais quoi for making connections that end up leading to prospective clients. Don’t get me wrong, I took Brad’s message to heart. I got busy with ramping up my LinkedIn connections by some 27.85 percent (okay, that number is fake), so I’ve got 112 connections now. Nearly all of them are people I actually know – does that make me a Luddite?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If you don’t, it’s time you had one! Carefully draft your profile in 150 words or less, and then click on over to http://www.linkedin.com to get signed up for your free account.  I haven’t heard anything about the premium (paid) subscription, but there was a question about it on the Solo Small Firm listserve a week or so back.

Beyond the business-oriented LinkedIn environment lies Facebook. Nope, yours truly hasn’t yet acquired the gumption to launch there. I can see why lots of people do.

In the second portion of the program, Brad convened a panel of lawyers who were experts at using social media beyond LinkedIn and Facebook.  Jim Thomas blogs at NoFunnyLawyers.com, which (according to LexisNexis) is one of the country’s top business law blogs, and Bernie Greenberg has his own YouTube channel – check it out at YouTube.com/berniegreenberg. I would say these two are the rock stars of the Colorado social media savvy lawyers. They were very enthusiastic about what they do with their social media and seem to really enjoy it as well. I think this is a key point to consider – do you want to do this to try something new, for the fun of it, to see where it might take you? (Yes, I’m thinking about that Dr. Seuss title “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”)

I think the foray into social media needs to be something lawyers actually want to do, to get on board the “social media train,” and not to be dragged, kicking and screaming because you “have to” or you will lose all your clients to your social-media-savvy competition. Another panel member was Susan Gindin, who published the first law review article on Internet privacy. She offered a sample law firm workplace social media policy, which could be used by firms looking to set some ground rules for employees’ use of social media. Brad and the panel did an excellent job of surveying and describing the social media landscape suitable for entry by lawyers.

This was a good CLE to attend (let’s hear it for Alli Gerkman, program attorney for CLE!).  I would urge solo and small firm lawyers who haven’t yet taken the plunge to at least wade into the LinkedIn pool. Test the water there, if it’s comfortable, consider expanding your horizons. But as Bernie Greenberg reminded the audience, keep it real and not too slick. Remember, this Internet social media stuff is really the world’s biggest science (psychology) experiment anyway – don’t you want to be a part of this experiment?

Share your thoughts with us!

I would urge solo and small firm lawyers who haven’t yet taken the plunge to at least wade into the LinkedIn pool. Test the water there, if it’s comfortable, consider expanding your horizons. But as Bernie Greenberg reminded the audience, keep it real and not too slick. Remember, this Internet social media stuff is really the world’s biggest science (psychology) experiment anyway – don’t you want to be a part of this experiment?

Share your thoughts with us!

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