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What To Tweet, Lawyer-Style

September 25, 2009

It can be tricky business knowing what to share out here in the brave new world of social media.

On one hand, we lawyers (and other service professionals) are here to promote our practices, so obviously we should be sharing information that reinforces our brand as authorities.

On the other hand, social media is so wildly popular because it humanizes people that we might want to know and do business with, but don’t have time to personally meet.

For myself, I’ve been working on a short bio that describes me as “a wife, mother, legal recruiter, social media evangelist and tireless advocate of humanistic education for our kids.”  This — in a nutshell — is me.  Yet, I have hesitated to attach this footer to my professional posts because it’s so counter-intuitive to my lawyer brain to not only share information about my personal passions, but to list them ahead of my professional interests (notice that I don’t even mention “lawyer” anymore).  My social media brain is doing battle with my lawyer brain.

Does it make me less of a social media authority or an inferior legal recruiter because I’m so passionate about family and how our next generation is raised?  Hardly.  But 20 years of legal thinking is hard to set aside.

Twitter presents a classic example of where this quandry comes into play because it is a real-time conversation that happens as real life happens.  Heather Morse Milligan put up an excellent post yesterday over at her blog, The Legal Watercooler, that makes an excellent argument for getting personal.  The post, Twitter After Dark:  What should or shouldn’t I Tweet on??, also offers other practical advice on effective tweeting.

As Heather points out, “People follow you on Twitter not to know what you’re doing at any given moment, but because they are interested in what you are thinking.”

And this comes, as Heather has pointed out in the past, not completely from your professional expertise, but from the fact that people “know, like and trust” you.  How do they come to “know, like and trust” you?  Because you’ve transparently shared who “you” are.  People trust what they think they know and like.

As I’ve found in my own personal journey, it can take some soul searching to understand who “you” are and how to be that person, authentically.  But it can also be personally illuminating to ask the questions.  Go ahead, lawyer friends, share just a little about your personal self.  I dare you.

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Tracy Thrower Conyers is a wife, mother, legal recruiter, social media evangelist and tireless advocate of humanistic education for our kids.  You can read more about Tracy’s views on social media at www.pluggedinlawyer.com — a resource dedicated to social media by lawyers, for lawyers and about lawyers.  You can also follow Tracy on Twitter at @pluggedinlawyer.

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