20121125-202008.jpg Entrepreneur and the father of RSS/blogging, Dave Winer, summarized a recent podcast interview he listened to with Evan Williams, a co-founder of Twitter, regarding Ev’s new start-up, Medium.

A number of Winer’s bullets on Ev’s comments re Medium are right in line with what I’ve been thinking the future holds for blogging and the use of social media by lawyers and other other professionals.

  1. You don’t need to have a blog. Blasphemy for the CEO of a social media company with its roots in blogging and serving over 7,000 bloggers? Not really. Like Winer says, blogging can be a huge barrier. Lawyers have insight and commentary to offer, but they’re intimidated by having a blog or fear the time commitment. Why hold them back? Why not have a network where they and other professionals can offer commentary when they wish? Perhaps smaller networks generated from a larger network for firms, organizations, schools, and associations? There will of course still be thousands of professionals and organizations who need a blog, network, or publication with their own branding.
  2. Don’t worry about the medium of your expression. Medium is a hybrid of blogging, commenting, and Twitter. I’ve always viewed the net as a conversation. Who cares what you use as the platform for expressing yourself, so long as it’s easy and intuitive?
  3. It’s like Tumblr. Tumblr’s been described as a micro-blogging or short firm blogging system which allows users to follow each other’s blogs. Though I am not using Tumblr yet, I like what I hear. Twitter is not long enough for a lawyer or other professional to express their insight, experience, passion, and care. You need long form publishing. We also need a vehicle which promotes more discussion. Lawyers and professionals are apt to shout at each other as if passing in the dark via blogging and Twitter. We need a publishing for professionals that promotes and enables engagement.
  4. Users have no ability to control CSS nor provide a design template. No question professionals, organizations, and associations are going to want to control branding and design for their publications. However, we’re moving away from design being integrated into all copy. I love consuming content and engaging others via my iPad. There’s little or no design on mobile enabled content. Images and typography play a role in enjoyment on mobile, but not the content creator’s branding and design.
  5. Hired a Director of Content, a former agent in the book publishing industry. No matter the publishing enterprise, we need experienced professionals from the publishing industry. You need to highlight the best insight and commentary. You need to showcase the most valuable contributors. You need to expose users to the contributions they would want to read and engage. And you’ll need to curate summaries for circulation.
  6. Compensates its employees without compensating the content creators. Traditional publishing is showing us that in the digital age it’s near impossible to pay reporters, editors, writers, and copywriters and remain in business. In the case of professionals (lawyer, accountant, academic, doctor, engineer etc) publishing we can provide professionals with a platform (technology, education, ongoing support, network exposure) that enables the professional to enhance their reputation and the reputation of their organizations. A platform that enables professionals to grow their network of relationships so as to advance causes and ideas in their profession and/or leads to more business, contributions, etc. Professionals, and organizations employing professionals, will pay for such a solution.
  7. Medium should be seen as if it were YouTube for writing. As Winer says, accumulating content all in one in place is helpful. A network for professionals offers any number of advantages. I’ve also always viewed YouTube as a place to go to get video clips on subjects we’re reporting or commenting on. Think a reporter doing a newscast and being able to use a video from a lawyer with first hand expertise or a video from someone in an Africa village fighting hunger and disease.

No one holds a crystal ball on the future of blogging and social media use by professionals. All we know is that things are not going to remain the same.

Blogging and social media use by professionals is going to change quickly and this change is going to be brought to you by entrepreneurs learning from the likes of Dave Winer and Evan Williams, as opposed to by traditional publishers.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Radar Communication.