The Pew Research Center has published a study on the impact social media and social networking had on voters this year.

The purpose of the study may have been to measure just how much more social networks and social media impacted the election in 2012 than in 2008, but much of the information gleaned is further evidence of social media’s integration into the average American’s life.

Here are just some of the findings:

  • 69 percent of online adults use social networks, almost twice as many as in 2008 (37 percent).
  • Facebook remains much more popular than Twitter.
  • While younger people are more likely to have a profile on a social medium, more than half of 50 to 64 year olds (57 percent) and more than a third (38 percent) of Americans over 65 use social media.
  • A third of voters say they not only used social media to follow politicians but also became self-active by encouraging others to vote and spreading their own political opinion.
  • 27 percent of registered voters used their cell phone to get news on the election.
  • More than a quarter (27 percent) couldn’t get enough news on one medium, so they used both a TV and a cell phone or computer during the election night.

All too many law firms tell me the first step in their social strategy is to find out whether their clients use social media.

C’mon, would you call your client’s cell and ask them if they used a cell phone? Would you send in-house counsel an email and ask if they use email?

Of course you wouldn’t. You’d look like a darn fool.

Cell phone and email usage have both woven into the fabric of our lives. It’s common sense your clients and the people who influence them use these tools.

You’re looking square in the face at social media and social networking being just as commonly used by average Americans as a cell phones or email.

Don’t spend your time and money asking clients if they use what common sense and research dictates they do. Develop a strategy that focuses on understanding what social media and social networking is all about – a means of standard business development for law firms, a means of building relationships and enhancing ones reputation.

Get the lawyers and other professionals in your firm understanding the what and the why of social combined with actually using social media and social networking. They’ll then never think of asking their clients if they are using these mediums.

What do you think? Do you law firms really need to survey clients on social media use?