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Social networking sites : Will they work for lawyers and other professionals?

With all the social networking hipe and flakey sites it’s hard to determine what’s of value to users and what’s not. It’s value to users that will dicate viability.

Marshall Kirkpatrick at TechCrunch gives a thumbs up to one, AmateurIllustrator.com. It’s a place for amateur illustrators to share their art, vote on each others’ work and communicate. In addition to the crux of rating and commenting on work, Marshall finds tips on the trade, artists’ interviews, and well developed content to be a real plus.

Similarly, I’ve found CSS Beauty, a site where designers and developers share, critique and discuss design work to be of great value. When searching for a talented designer I spent a day or two in there reviewing designs and following critique and commenatary. Found Brian Biddle, our lead designer.

In both cases, there’s an aggregation of content. But though a large amount of content looks impressive the real value to users is the critique and discussion.

Significant critique and commentary is going to be a challenge for social networking sites involving lawyers or folks from other professional services firms.

  • Their time is limited.
  • They’ll want high profile and personalized branding given to them by their own blogs.
  • They’ll want to reach an audience beyond their profession. There are not many people like me who appreciate the value of perusing a community of professionals outside my area of expertise.
  • Generally, lawyers are not an innovation bunch. Participation in an online social networking site is too big a leap for them.
  • The vast majority do not understand the more you give of your self on the net, the more you receive.

There are much more creative and talented folks than I. In addition, the net allows for the quick creation and viral marketing of a possibly successful social networking site for lawyers or other professionals. It will be interesting to see what unfolds.

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