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State of the Blogosphere 2011 : Blogs still rule over short form social media

For many attorneys and law firms social media has come to mean Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and the like.

But if you are looking to use social media to become a trusted source of news and information so as to market yourself as a professional, then blog. That’s the takeaway from prominent new media thought leader and author, Brian Solis, in his post, State of the Blogosphere 2011.

How so in this day of information overload and 140 character sound bites and over-friending at Facebook?

I believe that we are indeed overwhelmed, but we are not distracted. We are in fact focused. Let me restate that last sentence. We are focused, against a different standard than that of five years ago, on what is important to us. If long-form content is shared within our interest graph and possesses relevant information that is true to our interests, it will be consumed. If it content, no matter how great its length, is true to who I am, I will share it. Not just because I want others to share in its relevance, but because doing so is a form of self-expression and the words of others can lend to a piece of the puzzle that completes me online and offline…….

Over the years, blogs have formed the foundation of social media, democratizing the ability to publish thoughtful commentary, build a noteworthy community and equalize influence along the way.

Blogs are underrated and largely underestimated.

Solis finds strong support for his position on blogging in Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere, an annual report going back to 2004 documenting the impact and growth of blogging.

From the report:

  • Blogging works for business development. The two biggest reasons people blog are to promote their business and because of how valuable blogging has proven to be for their profession.
  • Bloggers establish themselves as subject matter experts. Bloggers find their work is taken more seriously as sources of trusted sources of information and news.
  • People who have started to blog, continue blogging. The largest concentration of bloggers have been blogging for 2 to 4 years, with the second largest concentration blogging 4 years or more.
  • Blogging does not take an inordinate amount of time. Most bloggers spend one-to-three hours blogging per week.

Insight, commentary, dialogue, and collaboration on legal matters is not possible on Twitter. LinkedIn, though a powerful networking tool, does not enable lawyers to enhance their word of mouth reputation as a trusted authority. Facebook, though allowing us to get to know each other better on a personal level, is not going to be used by many lawyers and other business professionals to engage others so as to build business relationships.

That’s why blogs are the preferred social media for business people. Per Solis:

With the love affair content creators, creators and consumers experience with the micromedia in social networks, blog posts contribute to the library of knowledge around any subject. They offer the ability to express perspective and offer context in statusphere and they influence decisions, actions, and behavior. Whether it’s to demonstrate thought leadership, earn authority, generate leads, change perception or sentiment, blogs continue to lead the way while disrupting traditional media along the way. For businesses, the time is now to embrace your influencers and their networks, of all shapes and sizes, while blogging to become influential in the process.

I am often asked by lawyers and legal marketing professionals what’s the next best thing? With law blogs still in their infancy and blogs being the only social media by which lawyers can display their passion, expertise, and care in niche areas of the law, expect blogs to rule for some time, if not forever, when it comes to business and professional development.