Social media is what you make it

Legal professionals are quick to dismiss social media for networking and building a name.

Junk, political views, loss of privacy, fighting, ads and more are what I hear for excuses. Author, strategist and long time blogger, Euan Semple, in a post this morning labels it “pontificating about toxic social media.”

Semple references a Facebook post from a mother who lost a daughter to cancer. A post so moving it moved his daughter to tears.

The mother and daughter of a business colleague of mine each movingly posted to Facebook about their husband and father’s suicide. Posts that generated lengthy discussion about depression and what we can do to help peers.

Hardly toxic. So much value.

This potential to put our most difficult and challenging thoughts down in writing, to clarify our thinking, to open up our hearts, to create shared meaning, this is as much social media as the poisonous damaging views that also get shared.

Lawyers who hardly use social media are the first to dismiss it as toxic. But social media is what we make it.

As professionals, we need to contribute, personally and professionally,  Doing so we build a network of people we trust and whom trust us. The algorithms of the social networks will in turn deliver valuable information and dialogue.

As Semple says, the value we receive from social media is for us to determine.

I have said it before, and will keep saying it, that social media is what we make it, it is up to us. Sure it is dominated at the moment by addictive and manipulative platforms but they are nothing without us, without our highly valued “content”. We control that content. It is our responsibility.

Dismissing social media is nothing short of a blown opportunity.

We have this wonderful opportunity to do what I call “joined up writing”. To think harder and share better. As David Weinberger described it all those years ago “writing ourselves into existence”.

Want an existence on the Internet? It’s not coming with a website and SEO.

You’ll need to “write yourself into existince by contributing value to social media.

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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