Murdering Brain Cells
In the monthly webzine (yes, internet savvy folks have a cutesy name for everything) of the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section, is this stroke of brilliance from someone named Jared Correia, a non-practicing lawyer who has dedicated his career to making sure practicing lawyers wear brightly colored hotpants.
Among the social media services, Twitter is unequivocally the best for professional development. While LinkedIn might seem to be the more obvious choice, since it has, for quite some time, attained the put-upon status of ‘the professional’s social networking site’, Twitter features far more for the attorney seeking to develop as a professional person via the use of social networking.
Twitter offers a far more dynamic user experience: The Twitter streams of effective users are more active. It’s easier to communicate with other users, including in multiples, and to refer their content.
This all speaks to functionality; but, it’s also a bedrock consideration for professional development. If you conceive of Twitter, as others have, as a gigantic networking event, you’ll be far more effective within that construct if you can easily communicate with others, especially as the guest list continues to grow.
If you've read this quote, you will necessarily be stupider. But this is hardly the worst, even if it reflects what the ABA has to say about the future of law. Consider Adrian Dayton's offering at the National Law Journal:
Before you scream at your computer that he didn't say anything, think again. Adrian told you everything there is to say. The problem is that there is nothing here. It's all nonsense, the sort of development that appeals to people who are so fundamentally clueless that they are incapable of realizing that this is all empty and meaningless. Since you are reading this, of course, and know better, it has the unfortunate side of effect of killing your brain cells. For that, I apologize.
There is another social media metric for law firms to take notice of. Forget about your number of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections or Facebook "likes." The new standard in judging your social media influence is your "Klout" score. To find out what yours is, just head on over to Klout.com and enter your information from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any other major social media site and you will see your Klout score from 1-100.Why is it important? Looking at the klout score for your firm and for your lawyers will help you appreciate that having more lawyers engage in using social media is the only way to increase your influence.
And it's not just Americans whose synapses are under seige. This from Legal Futures in Great Britain:
Quick, run out to the shiny gadget store and get the coolest new smartphone so you can twit constantly and not miss out. No, not later, right this very second. There are people twitting and you're missing them. Go. Run.
There has been a massive increase in people using Twitter to ask for recommendations of professional service providers in the last two years, with solicitors one of the most in demand, according to research conducted for Orange Business.
It claimed that “small businesses are missing a trick if they take their eyes off tweets”, with its research reporting a 663% increase in people using Twitter to ask for recommendations around common professional services.
Orange, unsurprisingly, said lawyers should use their smartphones to access Twitter on the move so that they did not miss out on what was happening, and also advised that they should be prepared to offer advice on the micro-blogging site. “Professionals need to showcase their expertise and accessibility over Twitter. It’s not about giving away free counsel but showing you know what you’re talking about and sharing information which might spread far and wide. Your words of wisdom will reach far more potential customers than your silence.”
Also, it said lawyers and others need to be quick in responding to tweets and ensure they can demonstrate their “real-world” credentials by making sure users can easily link from their Twitter profile to a website.
It's out of control, which is no surprise to those who have watched as lawyers, whether young adoring fans of social media or old and susceptible to the silly pitches of a medium they neither grasp nor care to learn. Voices are starting to be raised to save a brain cell here and there. Take Josh King at Avvo:
Last week in sunny Naples, FL, I joined Brian Tannebaum to speak to the annual meeting of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The topic? Social media and online advertising. We talked a lot about blogging, Twitter, and scummy SEO tactics. But I want to expand on a theme that permeated our talk, and the discussions I had with many Florida lawyers afterward: that blogging and social media are worthless as tools for direct client acquisition.
Even Sam Glover, whose Lawyerist website has not been treated kindly here in the past, is trying valiantly to save a synapse:
The dust will eventually settle. You will never have a practice based on twitter, no one, but no one, will give a damn about your Klout. Your shiny gadgets may be enjoyable, and even helpful as tools in the performance of lawyerly functions, but no client will ever throw money at you because you have an iPhone and twit incessantly.
Many lawyers seem to take it as a given that technology is changing everything about the practice of law, and fight about whether or not that is a good thing. In reality, technology isn’t changing much about how we practice law. That is, technology is changing plenty about how we do things, but not about what we actually do.
The thing is, if you can stop being distracted by shiny gadgets, the practice of law today looks a lot like it did 50 years ago. The fact that you can check your email from your car’s dashboard doesn’t mean a contract is suddenly valid without consideration.
But the question remains whether you will have any brain cells left before lawyers come to the realization that this is all an inane effort to separate you from your money.
Note to those of you who are bored by my repeated admonitions that social media will not bring you success and prestige in the interwebz. (See, another cute word!) Every day, every hour, lawyers with quiet telephones look for a way to improve their revenues, and, hungry and ignorant, click on an email or link from some scamming marketer who promises them salvation.
My efforts, though concededly boring to those who already know this (like those of you who bought blogs and, after a year or two, realize that you got maybe one decent case which barely covered the cost of your bandwidth and certainly didn't pay for the time you put into it), are directed at the n00bs (Cute internet word alert). They're the ones trying on the brand new hot pants and wondering if they're the only lawyers not walking the boulevard.
As every day brings another marketing scam designed to pray on the foolish and ignorant, and as new social media channels open up to the scammers, because what client doesn't care more about your Klout score than your competence, there is a concomitant need to prevent lawyers from falling into the dark hole of social media marketing that taints us all. So, sorry that I sound like a broken record, but whoever maybe a lawyer who signs on today will hear an alternative voice.
Maybe you could help by telling them as well. You could save a brain cell today.