By Kevin O'Keefe

Can lawyers be people too?

lawyers people on Facebook

Facebook can be a great professional and business development medium for lawyers. The problem is that lawyers don’t get social, they are not like other people on Facebook.

Let me explain in the context of how I use Facebook.

I use Facebook to meet and engage people as well as an excellent source of news and information.

My Facebook experience gets better and better the more I use Facebook. Unlike others, I don’t see any ads. I don’t remember the last time I saw one, it’s been months – at least.

Using Facebook, for me, means adding friends, sharing news and info from the Internet onto Facebook with a comment or two, commenting on others’ Facebook posts, liking others’ posts and sharing others’ Facebook posts with a comment or two.

The result is a high quality News Feed with a mix of personal and professional/business/current events content.

Not only are the personal items enjoyable because I have chosen the people I want to get to know better, I also get a feel for who they are and what they value (family, leisure, risk taking, teamwork, good food, wine) which gives me context for the news and information they share.

I rely on Facebook to build my friends. Yes, I believe in Zuckerberg.

Facebook displays near the top of my News Feed “People You May Know.” I see a picture and the number of mutual Facebook friends I have with the person. Facebook is presenting these folks based on what my interests are (Facebook knows it all), who I have befriended recently and my activity on the News Feed.

Facebook does a real nice job – these people tend to rock – as to their backgrounds and what they share. New York Times’ bureau chief from the near East, Google advisor in a foreign country, CEO of publicly traded tech company and a founder of publicly traded ISP. You get it, people who wouldn’t know me from Adam and who Mrs. O’Keefe and I won’t be mingling with at the summer social. Yet they are my Facebook friends.

As my mutual friends grow with the people who are doing great things I reach out and befriend more of these type of folks (when they are sharing valuable items) and, by and large, they accept my offer. The quality of the news I receive via my News Feed based on Facebook’s algorithms then gets better and better.

I realized this week I needed to accept more Facebook friend requests from lawyers and to reach out and befriend more lawyers. Heck, I am a lawyer of 33 years and it’s lawyers I work with after all.

I did a little of it and Facebook started displaying more lawyers in my “People You May Know.” It was not a good experience.

Lawyers don’t get social. They are not like other people on Facebook.

The lawyers Facebook served up didn’t share much of value. Often, it was just their blog posts or articles.

Hey, I’d enjoy getting to know you if you would just not always talk about tax regulations or IP cases. Think cocktail social at a club and a lawyer always doing that.

Facebook is also not a place for ads. Other people have pictures of themselves as a profile picture on Facebook. Many lawyers have pictures of gavels (yes, really), law firm logos, pictures of buildings, website urls and phone numbers. Some have pictures of themselves standing next to expensive cars. I don’t have to tell you what a turn off it is.

Facebook is great for lawyers as a networking, relationship-nurturing and reputation-building medium. It’s one of the best things to come down the pike for lawyers who get their work the old fashioned way – referrals and word of mouth.

But you have to be a little less uncouth and behave like a real person.

Image courtesy of Ryan Vaarsi 

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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