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Josh Constine (@joshconstine)  at TechCrunch writes that publishers are at risk of losing their identity because social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are no longer looking to send users and traffic from their platforms back to the publishers site.

Previously, the platforms were willing to pass people on to a publisher’s website where they could show ads, promote their other posts, and forge a relationship worthy of a subscription fee or frequent repeat visits. The platform just wanted to be a gateway, and run ads between these chances for discovery.

Now, the platforms want to absorb the Internet, becoming the destination — a sit-down restaurant, not a take-out counter. Rather than hoping users come back to discover more content after they consume it elsewhere, platforms don’t want people to ever leave. They hope this full-service experience will make content consumption more convenient for readers.

At first glance, law firms and professional services firms publishing blogs and other publications will be bothered by this. They’ll want traffic, users and leads. But the fact is it doesn’t matter, social platforms help professional services firms and their publishing.

When you are the source of information as an expert, as Dave Winer wrote last week, word of your expertise is spread no matter where your content is published or displayed.

Let’s say your blog content is cited regularly to those in your target audience who listen to podcasts. Do listeners need to return to read to your blog for you to be viewed as a trusted authority in your niche?

If your blog posts are republished by Bloomberg, do Bloomberg readers need to come to your blog to view you as a leader in your field?

You establish authority and word of mouth by what you write and who you engage via your writings. It simply does not matter where your readers view your publishing or where you engage them with your insight.

Authority is equally established when your content is published on social platforms.

I understand the fear when you are a publisher selling ads, such as TechCrunch, but authorities selling professional services such as lawyers, accountants, doctors and even academics ought to see things differently. Professionals sell their expertise as an authority.

Publishing as a professional services person or organization, I would look to social platforms as places to establish yourself as an authority through publishing and engagement—not as places from which to draw people to your blog, publication or website.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Hodgson