By Kevin O'Keefe

Facebook opening a whole new world of search for lawyers

Facebook lawyer search

Facebook’s new keyword post search, mining one trillion of our posts, is akin to a whole new wing of the Internet, like websites by Google and knowledge by Wikipedia. This from TechCrunch’s Josh Constine (@joshconstine).

With a search corpus that’s larger than Google’s you have to agree with him. Facebook represents a heck of a collective group experience to search across.

The search may be rudimentary today, but like most things at Facebook that’ll change for the better. 

Here’s a simple search on the word “blog.” Scrolling down the search results I was able to see posts from my “Facebook Friends” relating to blogs and blogging over the last couple months.

Facebook search results

For now, the results are limited to my Friends’ posts, but I expect that to expand as Facebook’s terms of service relating to privacy expands.

What attracts us to Facebook is its anticipation of what we’d like to see. Until now, Facebook, as Constine says, relied on who we were, who we communicated with, what we liked, and what we browsed.

Now Facebook’s algorithms will take into account what we’re talking about.

Most obviously, the News Feed could learn to mimic our external dialogue, showing us posts with similar content to what we spread. Never talk about sports or babies? Facebook could eventually filter those out of your feed. Just shared your thoughts on Syria, celebrity gossip, or the police state? The algorithm could pull an audible and show you more about related news.

Suggested Friends. Suggested Events. Suggested Pages to Like. Facebook was previously going on some taps and a top-level view of your identity. Now it has a much more intimate impression of who we are.

What’s this mean for lawyers and law firms? Something that could be pretty amazing.

Imagine sharing news and insight on a niche area of the law or for particular industry or consumer group. Could be a blog post of yours. Could be an article or a blog post by someone else with your accompanying commentary.

Facebook knows the people who like this sort of information and commentary and places what you’ve shared into their NewsFeed. Facebook knows what you like and gets relevant items from people you know or would like to know.

In addition to the mutual discovery of valuable information, Facebook enables vibrant discussion from viewers about items shared. Discussion which will drive the information into the News Feeds of even more people.

Natural discovery through our NewsFeeds is great, but search will allow us to retrieve, via keyword search, past posts and related comments accompanying a post. Through search, we’ll also be able to find authorities in our niche or niches.

Facebook may be developing search and its related algorithms for advertisers, but like Google, the information we receive will be invaluable.

Many of you may be thinking what is a lawyer to gain from idle personal posts and exchanges on Facebook.

Facebook is changing – rapidly. Business professionals and authorities, lawyers included, are sharing substantive articles and blog posts on Facebook. Discussion ensues. I learn a lot by following my Facebook NewsFeed.

Give it a year or two, and we’ll have that whole new wing of the Internet.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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