Google Plus LogoMacintosh evangelist, turned author and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), told a Google+ photographer conference last week he’s in love with Google+.

When I saw Macintosh for the first time it was somewhat of a religious experience for me. Fast forward about 25 years and I had a second religious experience — which is when I saw Google+ for the first time. When I started Google+ I didn’t need another social media/social networking service. I had plenty to do with Twitter and Facebook. But when I saw Google + it’s as if scales were removed from my eyes.

This as reported by Emily Price of Mashable.

Kawasaki sees a lot of similarities with the critics of Google+ today and those of Apple years ago.

I noticed something very parallel between Macintosh and Google+, which is I thought Macintosh is a better computer, it was used by far fewer people, and the experts -– I use experts in quotation marks euphemistically and sarcastically -– the experts were saying that Macintosh would die. Fast-forward 25 or 30 years, I saw Google+, thought it was better, fewer people were using it, and the experts were saying it would die.

I’ve learned a lot from Kawasaki over the years.

The first was when I read his Selling the Dream, when starting Prairielaw.com in ’98. Next was realizing all the mistakes I made with Prairielaw.com, when I read his Art of the Start when starting LexBlog in 2003. I also rethought my thinking on Twitter when Kawasaki told Robert Scoble that Twitter was the biggest branding tool since the television.

Sure, take what evangelists like Kawasaki may say with a grain of salt. He could be wrong.

Though I have not sat down face to face with Guy, he’s steered me in the right direction more than once. Including when he told me in ‘Selling the Dream’ to get a mac (my first one) or not to blame him if the business plan I was about to write on a PC would not sell.

In 1999, I picked up Kawasaki’s 1987 book ‘The Macintosh Way,’ his first book on a product. I am now going to buy what Kawasaki calls his only other product book,  “What the Plus?” The $2.99 e-book available now is Kawasaki’s why and how on Google’s social network.

There’s only so many hours in the day, so adding another social network to the fray is not easy. But Kawasaki is not the only one telling me to re-think how I feel about Google+.

My friend Tim Stanley, co-founder of FindLaw and CEO and founder of Justia, told me a few weeks at a PLI program in San Francisco that Google+ is here to stay and is influencing search.

Kawasaki and Stanley are bright guys sitting in Silicon Valley. You may want to join me in taking another look at Google+.

Social media and social networking is the all the buzz in the lawyer marketing world. Every place I presented this year on ‘Social Networking for Law Firms’ told me they had the largest attendance, or close to the largest, they’ve ever had. And it’s not my looks.

At the first few presentations I tried to cover a mindmap of social networking tools. I talk fast and that just got me talking faster. Covering 20 different social networking mediums is not the best use of an hour. And when I was catching my breath, a smart attendee would ask, ‘If you were me, what 2 or 3 things would you make use of today and go to a law firm with?’

Good question. Obvious answer for me. Blogs. Twitter. LinkedIn. Use those three effectively and you can take over the world.

In the world of a lawyer that means doing the type of work you love and for the types of clients you enjoy doing it for. If not becoming a rock star in your field, then at least becoming a lawyer’s lawyer. You know, the person you call from time to time as a mentor who always has lots of good work and charges more for time than you could ever imagine charging.

Blogs? Got to have one. How else can you develop a central place where clients, prospective clients, and the influencers (bloggers, media, and social media hounds) pick up on your passion, philosophy, reasoning, and skill? How do you get seen when people search for info? You think I’m picking a pig in the poke by reading a lawyer profile on a website or Martindale? That’s nuts.

Twitter? Single biggest learning, brand building, network expanding, and reputation enhancing tool for me this year. Twitter’s influence is what took me off this blog so much in the last couple months. Twitter is no longer an experiment for me. Like Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble, I’d rather go without my cell phone for a week than Twitter.

Some people will tell you Twitter is a waste of time. Ignore them. Twitter, like everything I’ve discovered on the Internet in this crazy last 13 years, was confusing as all get out when I first tried it. You get less confused by playing with something. Playing for a lot of people is called a waste of time. But you don’t grow by not goofing around. Ask Google.

If you haven’t watched the brief Scoble video interviewing Kawasaki, do so. Guy talks about other things, but Twitter is what amazes him. ‘I think Twitter is, arguably, the most powerful branding mechanism since television.’ Guy says that Alltop would be nothing without Twitter.

LinkedIn? LinkedIn has won the professional social networking/directory space. The race is over. I get invites from professionals inviting me to join their network elsewhere. Other than LinkedIn and Facebook I ignore them.

Lawyers can get into esoteric discussions about the features they like in Plaxo. You can be build gated communities only allowing approved legal professionals ala Legal Onramp or Martindale-Hubbell Connected (first social community trying to create buzz without even launching). They may have some great features, but they do not have 900,000 professionals joining a week. 50 million professionals in hundreds of industries that can easily be met and networked with is way too good to pass up.

People will tell you they have joined LinkedIn and not gotten any new business. Ignore them. Some lawyers wouldn’t know how to take someone out for lunch or a beer. Using LinkedIn effectively (connecting, answers, discussions, groups) is a gift that keeps on giving.

First thing I do when I get a lawyer’s name is Google their name + LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile tells me more about that lawyer than their law firm profile ever will. I don’t want marketing spin from your copy person.

If your LinkedIn profile has hardly any info and a few connections, that tells me more. That you’re not very innovative, you don’t grasp new technology, that you use less effective ways of networking and client development. If I’m a go getting client with an innovative business I’m passing on you.

New years resolutions? You could do worse than saying I am going to blog, Tweet, and network on LinkedIn.

Lawyers blogging to spread word of their expertise often presume the goal is to reach key influencers. The idea being to have A-list bloggers and the traditional media cite you or your blog, the implication being that such key influencers are tacitly endorsing you as an authority to their many followers.

But Guy Kawasaki discovered an article in the December issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (online summary) finding ‘common word-of-mouth advertising by regular folks is more powerful than ‘key influencers.’

The study was co-authored by James Coyle, assistant professor of marketing at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, Elizabeth Lightfoot of CNET Networks, and Ted Smith and Amy Scott of MedTrackAler. They surveyed website visitors, conducted in-depth reviews, and analyzed website usage patterns. Coyle’s conclusion:

‘We find that trying to track down key influencers, people who have extremely large social networks, is typically unnecessary and, more importantly, can actually limit a campaign or advertisement’s viral potential. Instead, marketers need to realize that the majority of their audience, not just the well-connected few, is eager and willing to pass along well-designed and relevant messages.’

Guy was a little more blunt:

I think that most key influencers are pompous, insecure jerks who take themselves way too seriously. And I say this knowing that you can rightfully accuse me of being one of them. The marketing lesson is this: Create something great, sow fields (not window boxes), ‘let a hundred flowers blossom,’ and pray that ‘regular folks’ will spread the word.

I agree. Sowing my message that effective law blogging enhances your image and grows your business has blossomed more as a result of average folks like me spreading the word than via reaching the key influencers. We’ve all grown up with the desire to make the cover of the ‘Rolling Stone,’ but it may not be necessary.