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Too much engagement in social media in the law?

November 22, 2011

Dave Winer, an entrepreneur and writer who helped bring us the blogging revolution, posts this morning that half of the comments he gets on Twitter are part of a “media strategy.”

I bet Klout has something to do with it. If they get a reply from me, that counts as a certain number of points toward their score. Which theoretically I guess gets them consulting business, working on other people’s “media strategies.”

So they ask questions a machine could come up with. I recommend an author. They ask if they should read one of his or her books. I don’t know.

People must realize, don’t they, that this is all pointless. It’s a bubble on a bubble on a bubble on a bubble. When you dilute things that much, is there really anything left?

Winer’s got a good point. Social media authorities are after lawyers to ‘engage’ others through blogging, Twitter, and the like to get seen, build relationships, and enhance one’s reputation as an authority. The problem is a weapon is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands.

I regularly receive emails, Twitter replies, and blog comments from unknowing lawyers or marketing/communications professionals on behalf of a law firm or legal organization. They often have nothing in common with me and my work. They don’t know anything about me other than a ‘social media advisor’ told them I would be a good person to follow and ‘engage.’

Problem is these unknowing folks hear engage, but think get attention and push content at ‘influencers’ whether their content is valuable or not.

When I started blogging 8 years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing. So I read about blogs, journalism in the Internet age, and this thing called a ‘conversation’ on the Internet. I shared what I read, citing the source with a link, and explained why I shared something and how it may apply to my readers being lawyers and law firms.

I had not heard the word ‘engage,’ as it applied to the Internet yet. The phrase ‘social media’ had not been coined. I was doing what came naturally to me. I was sharing what I was learning and being polite by citing my sources.

I met people as a result. My network grew. Dialogue online and then in person or over the phone ensued with the people I cited.

Perhaps I was engaging others, but I was merely having fun and learning at the same time. I was not following a ‘media strategy.’

Funny thing is I received what I lot of folks are looking are for via ‘engagement’ today. Relationships, a more empowering network, and an enhanced reputation.

The lesson for lawyers and law firms is to learn and understand Internet communication and engagement. Then do what comes naturally.

Don’t blindly follow a ‘media strategy’ charted by others.