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Written web or audio & video best for lawyer marketing?

April 13, 2007

Steve Matthews raises a great question. What’s a better method of communication – text or audio & video? Steve’s also not shy in saying where his heart lies.

A big question for me now is which way will the web turn content wise? Is this a case of the entertainment value of audio & video -VS- the exchange of ideas within the textual web? or are we simply adding another layer? While I suspect it is the later, I also wonder which way thinking professionals like lawyers will turn. Will they market themselves by sticking to their strengths with the written word, or become ‘rock stars’ and attempt to market to the masses? If the answer depends on the market audience, the next generation of personal injury lawyers may just need a few theatre courses under their belt prior to law school admission.

Deep down I think (hope) web video will play a lesser role. Like TV, web video is a passive communication tool, and comes with the same issues – less interactive, doesn’t promote literacy, and rarely involves an exchange of ideas. It’s ugly one-way communication in my books. And with the interactive web (2.0?) and online gaming seeing a renaissance, I still see the core of written discourse within the web as going strong. The next generation of web users under the age of 30 also give me hope – they are much more in tune with the written web (driving it?), and I believe there was something recently published about them buying more books.

If my parents were right, and TV rots my brain, then web video can’t be any different, right? or am I just a luddite in disguise?

I like text, at least for right now. Couple reasons.

  • Most lawyers using audio & video are not any good at it. Just because you can do something does not mean you are not embarrassing yourself. If you’ve got the money for good equipment and a crew for editing & production so you look/sound like cable TV or Radio, great. I was on an online & cable TV show a couple weeks ago in Vancouver, BC. I walked in first to a makeup room (no comments) and then into a video studio staffed by about 10 people. You need not have that much but being a lawyer you’re going to be held to a higher standard.
  • Text causes you to come in touch with your feelings and ideas at multiple points. As trial lawyer Gerry Spence, who keyed in each and every word to his opening statements, explains, first you think it, then transmit to fingers, then read on screen, and then revise.

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