Say social media to a barrister and they'll almost invariably think of Facebook. Go further and they'll think you're crazy for talking about something that their kid or grandchild plays with - right? Well yes that's what'll they're likely to think, but importantly they're Wrong!
Social media has revolutionised the world we live and work in. They don't call it a digital revolution for no reason. The traditional ways of personal relationships, the media, politics, schooling, commerce and global market have all been reshaped through social media. As for law, not so much. But the tide is turning and law firms are starting to do, and importantly, get social media.
But there's another pool of professionals who struggle with social media and who we can't forget about: that's the barrister. These guys like their legal cousins are steeped in tradition, routine and case law; so they're kinda' averse to the process improvement ways of digital technology.
However they have much to gain from becoming active in the Twittersphere and the world of social media.
Like their solicitor friends a good digital media identity and online presence can radically alter their way of doing business for the good. Here's a few of the values which I've identified for the average barrister thinking about getting into social media:
Trust builder: barristers and legal professionals have always based their trade on trust and social media and blogs allow barristers to showcases themselves as a trusted and reliable authority. And that online trust isn’t hard to build: if you post consistent and reliable news and information a barrister or chambers could quickly be seen as a trusted source and the go to man or woman.
Shop Window: like any business you have to sell your ways - barristers are no different and social media allows them to showcase and demonstrate their skills and expertise.
Reputation builder: barristers have always won work and built relations through a strong word of mouth reputation. A strong reputation can be built and nurtured just as easily, if not more so, online and through the various social media platforms.
Networking and business development builder: barristers are consummate networkers, so why don’t they do social networking? By building a presence and identity online barristers can network with peers and other professionals across the country and internationally. Huge business potential lies in the networking capabilities of the internet.
Influence builder: social media if done in a targeted and consistent manner allows you to become an influencer and thought leader who drives conversation, innovative thought and pushes legal innovation. Already commentators are saying that legal blogs are making law journals obsolete. So start doing social media and you could radically enhance your reach and influence.
Breaks Mystique: social media can pull down the walls of mysticism that often surround the barrister trade and present them as a normal and value-enhancing body of professionals.
There you go, just some of my thoughts on the value that social media holds for barristers. So is the jury split or has the case been made for a new breed of digital barristers?