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Social media: Strategic socialising

Every Issue

Cite as: September 2015 89 (9) LIJ, p.81

It's well worth remembering the social in social media.

  • Conferences often have a social media element. Make the most of it.
  • Share and acknowledge others’ work.
  • Send a personalised LinkedIn invite to the people who gave you their business cards at a conference.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Social media can be a useful tool to keep up-to-date with relevant events and issues when used in a strategic way. This focus on keeping on top of information is important for lawyers. And just as important for me has been the “social” in social media.

    To get the social in social media, you’ll need to do more than post your firm’s recent blog post or latest client win on LinkedIn or Twitter. It’s a different way of communicating than the traditional one-to-many of sending out a firm newsletter.

    Social in this context can range from simply replying to tweets or commenting on LinkedIn posts by adding your own experience, expertise and perspective. Share and acknowledge others’ work whether that is a newspaper article or a barrister’s blog post. Mention the author of the article in your update, so they can be included in any conversation that might follow from your post.

    Twitter and LinkedIn can also be a useful source for advice. Ask questions – whether it’s a legal research query or where to get coffee in Sydney. Answer questions.

    Conferences now often have a social media element. In July I attended an excellent “NetHui” in Auckland with the theme “The Internet is Everybody’s Business”.

    One highlight was meeting people including Rick Shera, @lawgeeknz, with whom I’ve exchanged tweets and emails on law and technology issues for more than four years. There was also a very active stream of tweets displayed on a large screen using both the official #Nethui tag and the fun #shoesofnethui.

    The conversations don’t need to stop once the event is over. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that often the most valuable parts of a conference are the interesting conversations that happen in hallways or the drinks at the end of the day. In the digital world, business cards are still often exchanged. But who still has a Rolodex to file away their business cards? (Do you even know what a Rolodex is?) I’ve now got into the habit of sending a personalised LinkedIn invite to the person who gave me their business card rather than just let the card be tossed into the third drawer down. I’ve also set up a ‘Nethui’ Twitter list to easily find people I met at the event.

    It doesn’t need to take a conference to get in contact with people you share common interests with on social media. On my recent trip to the US, I got much more out of my week in Washington DC by meeting fellow tweeters including Mike Godwin and Ali Sternburg who work in technology policy.

    Social media is an engaging professional tool to keep on top of the glut of information. And behind those sources of information are often really interesting people. It’s well worth remembering the social in social media.

    Leanne O’Donnell is an LIV policy lawyer on the social media taskforce and a member of the LIV Technology and the Law Committee.


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