I am currently working on a training session for my colleagues in the Family Law department at Mogers Solicitors, here in Bath. The title is very broad, looking at the changing shape of the internet and the opportunities it presents.
I will be visiting the concept of Web 2.0 which we need to remember is not in fact yet part of everyone else’s daily language.
I have been struck as I read around this sphere online that very often we are preaching to the converted. I am mindful of posts on other blogs that suggest that initiatives are frequently supported at the outset only to fail for lack of contribution or involvement.
At the Legaltech show, in particular, I recall that there was a well attended session on Twitter but that the questions were largely from the panel itself, not the delegates.
A librarian complained that a Wiki she had set up faltered for lack of contribution. Apologies for not having the links to hand.
The challenge seems not to be getting people to see the point but getting people to engage with it.
Our session will explore a progression that I have taken from real life networking thinking, namely Visibility – Credibility – Profitability.
We need to make ourselves visible within the marketplace. We need to demonstrate credibility, either through establishing trust, or expertise, and only then can we expect commercial relationships to develop into profitable transactions. For profitable, incidentally, feel free to read “Beneficial.”
This may well be why many people lose interest in blogging or Twitter and the like so quickly. They do not realise that the progression can take several months, even years. Furthermore they measure their efforts in one metric alone, namely pounds and pence.
They sign up to Twitter, or LinkedIn thinking that the streets are paved with gold and that they will receive work and referals by the act of opening an account alone. But that is not the point.
Establishing your presence, through visibility, providing a foundation of trust and credibility upon which to build a relationship and carefully developing that relationship is essential.
No rocket science or web 2.0 magic there.
If we blunder into online networking spheres and just expect work and profitability as a given, then we will fail. Ecademy, I fear, seems to suffer particularly badly from new members who spam other members with contact requests without first establishing their visibility first (no profile completed) let alone even thinking of credibility.
Twitter attracts its fair share also. Those new members with 687 followers and only half a dozen tweets.
A final point, and this is a reminder for myself as much as anyone else. I feel a peculiar tension about super-imposing a real life commercial networking model, such as visibility – credibility – profitability, upon Twitter, Blogs and the like.
The tension arises, I think, because to do so risks reducing blogs such as this, Twitter, LinkedIn and all of those communities and activites to purely commercial activities.
They are not.
There is something far less tangible about why we do what do online; Something that blurs the commercial and the social breaking down barriers that previously fragmented our professional lives from our personal lives…