“I don’t have time for social media chatter “ is a claim often heard by many people, including lawyers “I don’t want to know what you had for breakfast, or that you took your dog out for a walk.” The perception of the information overload social media creates is fundamentally a misconception of social media.
I am reading socialnomics, by Erik Qualman, in which he provides a few examples of the way social media can be used to help information management and overload. Taking the numerous examples Erik gives in his book, let’s translate this to the legal world: While Lawyer A is spending a lot of time networking via Rolodex (telephone) and email between meetings, setting face to face meetings scheduled over weeks and months, attending seasonal events in person, waiting for annual associations meetings to catch up with association members, Lawyer B is building deeper and quicker network on a daily basis with larger amount of people: he is walking to a meeting and connects with another lawyer who contacted lawyer B through his blog or twitter or Facebook or Connected, after reading his post and responding to it; in the elevator he checks out the status of a member of same association to learn he was promoted and send him congrats message via the site’s inmail; while he is waiting in line at the supermarket he replies a question a colleague asked on a shared group and by that enhances his reputation as an expert in his practice area. Relationship building is faster, deeper and wider. It does not replace face to face, but gives it a huge boost and accelerates the relationship to where they would be in 2 years from now had they been built using ‘offline’ tools only.
Social media looks like it is overloading us with information when in fact it provides us the tools to manage our time and make progress more quickly and efficiently.
Carlos Hernandez once told me: if the Rolodex system works for you – stick with it, but if online networking can do the same for you in third of the time, you may want to reconsider.