Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are Smart Lawyers Suddenly Stupid when it comes to Social Media?

I ask this question because it seems like sharp,  intelligent, hard working lawyers suddenly get hoodwinked when it comes to certain forms of "Social Media" and the carnival barkers that seek to profit from consulting in that area.

First, what is Social Media?  In our law firm it's a blog like this one. It's a collaborative blog like the Trial Lawyers Resource Center (www.tlrcblog.com). An old fashioned list server is to me a social media vehicle.
Social media sites include Facebook and even that old former hangout myspace.com. Still others include slideshare.net, or even www.youtube.com.

Where I have a major problem is the sites like Twitter and now the recently arrived Google + as vehicles for lawyers to "generate referrals" - to make money. I've been using Twitter for nearly three years. It's clearly not ready for prime time as a referral source in my area of the law (personal injury and consumer rights).

What bothers me the most is the growth of hucksters who tout Twitter and now Google + as the key place for lawyers to grow their practices. They are not,  and this week we have ... ahem ... Exhibit A, Google +.

Here is the headline from an online site this week (October 2011) : Google+ Traffic Plummets: Is The Social Network Doomed? To be fair, that social site is untested. For consultants, it was damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead, with articles like these:Google+ for LawyersThe article was written July 12, 2011 just 90 days ago.

 The author wrote silliness like: "for attorneys serious about social marketing and SEO, I don’t think we can afford not to get involved."  But wait,  there is more from that article:  "Google + is gearing up to be the place to reinvent ourselves as the new experts in our fields."   Read that out loud - not just the place to be to perhaps help the bottom line, but the place to "reinvent ourselves" as experts. That is just plain wrong. Another author wrote that when Google+ reaches critical mass, "it will be silly not to be there." Link

I'm just happy that these folks don't predict the weather. 

For lawyers, don't make the mistake of devoting so much time to social media when your own law firm's web site (usually) is not very good. Stick to the basics. A well designed website, thoughtful google ad buys, a youtube channel, even a blog or three should be the focus. 

Because you're stupid if you think the flavor of the month will generate cases. 

Disagree with me? ageorgialawyer (at) yahoo.com