(A big thank you for this Guest Blog from the ASTC Professional Visibility Committee written by Joe Rice.)
I have watched the trial consulting industry evolve slowly over the past 22 years. However, like a scene from a Sci-Fi movie, I feel like some aspects of our field have moved at an incredible pace. Generally, these have been associated with technology.
While some have seen me as being fairly progressive in my use and adoption of technology, there are a few areas that I have been reluctant to explore. For example, I have been slow to venture into the seemingly awkward world of social media.
However, as I have watched my children embrace this electronically connected society, I have begun to question my reservations. My son Patrick has the family record of over 6000 texts messages within a month (summer vacation – I think he needs a job), and my daughter Michelle boasts over 1,221 Facebook friends that she insists she actually knows.
I have found that I can’t get away with simply calling it a kid thing anymore, as I see it impacting my professional practice and the future of our industry. When Grandpas have Twitter accounts and Grandmas are sending IMs, I can no longer live in denial.
Facebook has over 500 million active users with over 50% logging on every day. Over 200 million access Facebook through a mobile device. The availability of online information and the ability to instantaneously share your thoughts with countless others is staggering.
While there has been much written about the use of social media by jurors, (as a member of the Professional Visibility Committee) I have been looking at the use of social media by trial consultants as a means of enhancing our professional visibility and professional development. You would be surprised at the size of the growing community out there.
There are a wide range of professionals connecting through social media. A brief search showed me that many of my colleagues and clients have been embracing this technology for years. For those who think a website is all it takes, the times they are a changing.
While I tend to limit my Facebook network to friends and family (Do you know where your children are?), there are a number of groups that will allow you to broaden your network of more professional connections. For example, there is even an ASTC group within Facebook.
If the degree of disclosure within Facebook is too personal, consider a more professional realm. I have found LinkedIn to be a great way of staying in touch with fellow consultants and clients. Nothing helps foster the personal connection to a client like congratulating them on a professional or personal victory. I started out in the era where a congratulatory note required letterhead, an IBM Selectric and a postage stamp. Now I reach out to clients while killing time at the airport.
I encourage you to go to LinkedIn and check out ASTC’s Jury and Trial Research Interest Group as a starting point. It is a great way to stay connected to your colleagues between conferences.
Once you are in, start looking for those people you know. Establish a connection. Get a recommendation. Repeat.
Now that I’ve waded into the social media community I can safely report that the water is fine. Come on in.
Blogger: Joe Rice