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A lawyer's home base on the web is their blog

December 10, 2012

Blogging is not only not dead, but a blog is the hub of an individual’s identity and information.

This per Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt), the founder of WordPress and Automattic (the company which provides a range of paid-for services to support the WordPress ecosystem), speaking to GigaOm’s Om Malik at LeWeb last week.

From Lauren Granger (@misslcgranger), reporting for Memeburn,

When social media started growing in popularity, a lot of people thought it was the next phase of the evolution of the web that would wipe out blogs. But that hasn’t happened. Mullenweg says the way blogs are used may have shifted, but social media has, if anything, helped blogs to survive by providing a way for bloggers to distribute their posts to an audience they may never have reached before.

Blogs have become a home base: a hub of personal information, which is then pushed to services like Facebook and Twitter. Because WordPress is open source, developers are also setting up systems to post to their blogs from social media, not just vice versa, and create chains of actions — for example, if they check into a certain place on FourSquare, it should post something on their blog. WordPress is being used as a central part of a larger system to produce and publish ideas and stories online. “No matter what I do, I always come home to my blog,” said Mullenweg. (emphasis added)

Short form social media, though effective in nurturing relationships and enhancing one’s reputation as a lawyer, is not sufficient.

Blogs also provide a platform for the kind of longer, richer stories that may not work as well on social media sites. Mullenweg theorised that there is a ratio between the time it takes to create content and the time taken to consume it. For example, a photo takes a second to capture and one more to post — but will be flicked past in just a small amount of time.

Lawyers using third party social media solutions such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all good solutions which should be used, are walking into a conflict of interest situation. These social media solutions report to advertisers, not users.

From Mullenweg,

…Twitter and Facebook’s primary users are advertisers, and their users are all just products for sale.

I have heard it argued that a lawyer’s online home base or hub is their website. That’s short sighted for a couple reasons.

  1. A lawyers best work comes from relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation. That’s true today and was true 100 years ago. A website, though important, does not provide networking opportunities to build relationships and a word of mouth reputation.
  2. What if you leave a firm? What if they let you go? What if the firm goes out business? It happens. Your profile on the website disappears and and you have no web presence nor have you independently built a strong identity and strong relationships via networking online.

No question lawyers are looking for the new and the latest solutions as well as ways to save more time. Who wouldn’t?

A blog may not look sexy and, like all things worthwhile, takes a little time. But if you’re looking at vehicle to serve as a hub of your online networking, there’s nothing better than a blog.

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