Blogs are not social media?

June 19, 2013
By Kevin O’Keefe

Minneapolis lawyer and business development//practice management coach, Roy Ginsburg, writes this morning that “there is nothing particularly “social” about [blogs].”

Ginsburg was questioning why blogs would be included in recent reports that in-house counsel’s use of social media was at an all time high.

In his own review of in-house counsel’s use of social, Ginsburg, rightfully so, relies heavily on the 2013 survey on in-house counsel’s use of new media by Greentarget (@greentarget), the Zeughauser Group, and Inside Counsel Magazine (@insidecounsel). LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and blogs were the top 3 with blogs influencing 53% of in-house counsel in their hiring of counsel.

But other than the very occasional comment on a law blog, Ginsburg saw nothing social regarding law blogs.

Greenburg also questioned a National Law Journal article by Adrian Dayton (@adriandayton), referencing the Greentarget survey, that social media use by in-house counsel was at all time high. Blogs again. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook should be the ones examined, per Ginsburg.

No question law blogs get few, if any comments. I tell lawyers a very active law blog may draw as few as two or three comments a month. Why? We’re not talking sports, entertainment, or cooking. People are concerned about confidence and are not sure where their comment may lead.

But good law blogs are indeed social in every sense of social media. Bloggers engage each either by referencing what other bloggers are saying. Bloggers engage business and association leaders as well as the mainstream media much the same way. Heck, this was the only way we ‘bloggers’ talked in the open to each other before we had short form social media.

Blogs also drive social interaction online. Interaction that leads to learning, reputation building, and relationships.

Try going to Facebook or LinkedIn and entering in the status update field, ‘Hi, I’m Roy, I’m a great guy, you should know me.” Not only would there be no social interaction, you’d like a darn fool.

Now go put up on Facebook a picture of your kids and you on vacation or a picture of you and your daughter on her college graduation day. Watch the comments and likes flow. Social engagement that gives you goose bumps and nurtures relationships, many of those with business associates.

Look at the picture in the abstract, and sure there’s nothing social about it. It’s a picture of people, nothing social about it.

Now go put up your blog post and other’s blog posts on LinkedIn. Watch the comments and likes follow. If you’ve built a strong network on LInkedIn, you’ll find the social interaction regarding a blog post to be far greater than on your blog.

Look at a blog post in the abstract, it’s just words on a screen. Nothing social about it.

It depends what you make of a blog post. As the publisher, are you engaging folks? As the reader, do you share posts on Twitter, LInkedIn, and Facebook?

Think of all the law blog posts that flow through Flipboard, Zite, LXBN, JD Supra and the like every day. Thousands of them. Shared, re-shared, liked, commented upon, referenced in new blog posts, and cited in articles and reports. All as part of the fabric of social media

I get a heck of a lot more interaction regarding and about my blog posts on Twitter and LinkedIn than in comments on my blog. Interaction that makes them much more likely to be seen by folks like in-house counsel (especially true for practicing lawyers). Interaction that increases my influence on Google and makes my blog posts rank higher in search, now that Google is influenced by social.

To dismiss the value of social, it’s ROI, or the characterization of things like blogs as social because the opinions come from people who work in social media, as Ginsburg suggests we do, is a little shortsighted.

Who am I to tell folks to take with a grain of salt what a business development coach says because they’re in the business after all? Or that we ought to question lawyers who advise that it would be prudent to get legal work done to protect our interests because they’re lawyers after all? Who else is in a better position to so advise?

I understand it’s difficult for many to understand blogging and other social media. Without using social media in an effective way to grow your business by building a strong word of mouth reputation and nurturing relationships, the concept of social media can be illusory.

But there’s little question that social media does work to generate business for lawyers and that blogs are very much a part, if not the biggest part, of social media in the law. You can discount these views as coming from a guy in the business, but you’ll do so at your peril.

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