Or, more aptly titled, the Law ON Facebook. Sparked by a lively discussion on Twitter regarding Facebook fan pages for service providers like law firms generated by attorney / writter / blogger Nicole Black yesterday and fueled by stories in my RSS reader this morning, I thought I would share with you some of the breadth and depth of legal infiltration of this virtual cocktail party, ne college fraternity party, social site, as well as a few parting thoughts on the topic.
First, Bob Ambrogi at LawSites has compiled a list of State Bar Associations on Facebook here. Mr. Ambrogi is careful to qualify that the list includes State Bar Associations only, and does not reference either national or local associations, of which there certainly must be a few lurking. Hit the jump for his list of more than fifty such associations clamoring for friends and virtual fans.
Next, Aviva Cuyler at JD Scoop is compiling a list of lawyers and law firms on Facebook (as a follow-up to JD Scoop’s wildly popular Lawyers to Follow on Twitter list). I am very happy to report that Advantage Advocates is included, number ten on the quite-lengthy list. It is pretty impressive to see the range of practice and scope represented by this list, which most likely is not exhaustive (yet).
I am sensitive to the debate raised in the Twitter discussion, which addresses whether starting a business page and imploring your “friends” to become “fans” is overstepping the implied social mores of the FB platform. However, I fail to see a meaningful difference between promoting your work on FB and promoting your work on any other social network, even those targeted at professionals, or even promoting your work in the real world. Perhaps it comes down to how the individual views his or her personal and professional lives and how he or she approaches the various social sites. Promotion always runs the risk of offending someone. The recipient can always filter, block, engage, disengage, follow, unfollow, friend, unfriend or click any manner of button to tailor, limit or expand their engagement in response. I would imagine, though, that for every “friend” put off by a post from a law firm, there is another that might be interested in learning something new about the work of a friend, colleague or peer in another part of the country or even the world or willing to support the work of another. And it doesn’t hurt to remind our friends what we do professionally, in case the odd legal question should pop up in their lives.
And for us “older” folk, perhaps it comes down to squaring the established “in-real-life” definitions of the words “friends”, “fans” and “followers” with the unique meanings that these terms hold in our brave new on-line world. While it seems strange to be “friends” with someone you have never met, be a “fan” of a business as staid and stuffy as a law firm or to “follow” a taco truck in southern California, our new social hangouts have pushed the limits of the words to include such strange relationships.
Besides, I think it is really cool to have “fans.” I have my Sharpie handy in case anyone needs an autograph.
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