Hat tip to Joe Trippi who turned me onto a new report from The Nielsen Company that Americans have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend at social networking and blog sites from a year ago.

Per Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division:

This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used. While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.

Those spending money on the net – advertisers are taking note of this trend, big time.

Estimated online advertising spending on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009 – all despite a recession. Share of estimated spend on these sites has doubled, from 7 percent of online ad spend in 2008 to 15 percent in 2009.

What does this mean for lawyers and law firms? One, don’t think for a minute blogs are a passing fad. Not, only are blogs here to stay, the use of blogs by your target audience is increasing.

Second, a website, combined with directory listings, is not going to give you an effective Internet presence. Americans use of such sites is on the decline. You need to create a compelling Web base to attract your target audience – a blog. And you need to start networking with your target audience of clients, prospective clients, referral sources, and their influencers via social networking sites and blogs.

  • It’s interesting to consider how much the internet has taken over our lives. Even when we network in person, we give away business cards that have our phone number, address, and email–and people almost always decide to email rather than immediately call or visit.
    We all know now that we need to have our information online, and most of us know that social media can help our practices, but we still haven’t quite figured out what to do with it all, which I think unfortunately leads to a lot of wasted or inefficiently used time.
    I do think, though, that it’s necessary to find at least one aspect of social media–be it the blog, twitter, facebook, vlogs, or other–that works for you and to update it regularly. Otherwise, you will be left behind in this increasingly internet-immersed culture.
    In two years, the way we use the web may be completely different than how we use it now, so we just need to follow the trends and be prepared to once again completely reevaluate the way we practice.