Have you ever heard of Mashable? If you’re perusing a site about social media and you haven’t, well, you need to spend more time perusing sites about social media. Mashable styles itslef: “The Social Media Guide” and it is tough to argue with that self-anointed title. After all, Peter Cashmore, Mashable’s founder, sports a cool 2,106,244 Twitter followers (at least at this moment — I’m sure that number will go up before I hit the “Publish” button). He is worth the follow: http://twitter.com/mashable
But now the point. The folks over at Mashable, Zachary Sniderman specifically, recently published an article about how attorneys may use social media in the future. To his credit, Sniderman went to some actual attorneys for input on his article. (Those of you familiar with prominent lawyers and legal commentators in the social media arena will most certainly be familiar with Adrian Dayton.) The article rehashes what we already know about social media and how lawyers are using it:
- Social media is important for networking and referrals.
- Social media will play a significant role in lawyer and law firm marketing.
- Social media will play an even more significant role in lawyer and law firm exposure. (I know, this is arguably a subset of marketing.)
- Most significantly, social media will have a huge role as evidence and as substantive information in actual litigation.
Now, this is my order of importance (from least to most), not Mashable’s (which seems more focused on client development and marketing uses). And I think the Mashable article misses one significant point. I like the marketing and client development aspects of social media but I think the true value in this medium goes well beyond its potential ability to enhance rainmaking. Those who follow my Twitter accounts know that I use Twitter almost exclusively for sharing interesting legal news and developments. To me, Twitter is a means of staying up to date on legal issues. I also come across a lot of good, practical legal advice from hundreds of excellent attorneys I follow. I read their updates, which point to their blogs, which give me information I use in my practice. Hopefully they do the same. This aspect of social media is invaluable, at least to me.
It seems like the biggest prediction for the future of how lawyers will be using social media will be normalcy. Rather than a technology breakthrough, our gurus predicted that the things now seen as cutting edge (connecting with clients online, firm blogs, using social media in cases) will become commonplace.
In my mind, this seems obvious. But hey, I’m the author of a blog about social media and the law. I may not be entirely subjective. The information in Sniderman’s article is nothing new. But it is helpful because it lends credence to what us social media geeks, including our good friend Adrian, have been saying. Social media is for lawyers. Indeed, as this article proves, lawyers are using social media and non-lawyers are paying attention.
Story Link: How Lawyers May Use Social Media in the Future