Social Media: It’s Instantaneous, It’s Mobile, and It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

Vol. 3, No. 5

Nicole Black is a Director at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, New York, and is a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, coauthor of the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier, and coauthor of Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes three legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com.

 

  • Are there apps that help you post to multiple platforms simultaneously?
  • What are the best news reading apps?

 

The verdict is in: lawyers are using Internet-based and mobile technologies in record numbers. But don’t take my word for it—instead, let’s see what results of the American Bar Association’s latest Legal Technology Survey Report, a multivolume report that is issued annually and focuses on technology trends in the legal industry—say about lawyers’ social media and mobile usage.

First, let’s look at mobile. The number of lawyers using mobile devices to manage their law practices increased again this year, with smartphones leading the way. Nearly 91% of lawyers now use smartphones in their law practices, up from 89% last year. Tablet use also increased at an impressive rate, with nearly half of all lawyers reporting the use of tablets in their law practices. According to the survey results, 48% of lawyers now use tablets, up from 33% in 2012.

The report also indicates that lawyers are using social media tools more than ever before, with solos and small firms leading the way. According to the report, social media use continues to increase every year. LinkedIn leads the way in 2013, with 56 percent of law firms using social media reporting that they are using LinkedIn and 98 percent of individual attorneys reporting that they are using LinkedIn.

Facebook ranks second, with 35 percent of law firms surveyed reporting that their firms have a Facebook presence and 33 percent of responding individual lawyers using Facebook, up from 22 percent in 2011.

Twitter weighs in last, with 19 percent of survey respondents reporting that their firms used Twitter in 2013 and only 6 percent of individual lawyers interacted on Twitter.

Given the increase in lawyers using both mobile devices and social media, it’s no surprise that lawyers are accessing social media sites from their mobile phones. If you’re one of those lawyers, you’re probably wondering which social media mobile apps you should be using. Well, wonder no more. Here are a number of suggestions to make your mobile social media experience the best it can be. All of the apps listed are available free and are available for both Android and iOS devices.

First, in order to access the major social media platforms from your mobile phone, look no further than the official Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Twitter apps. All apps provide fully fledged access to the respective social media platforms. There’s really no need to seek out an alternative. And if your firm has a Facebook page, then the official Facebook Pages Manager app is a must-have that makes it easy to manage your firm’s Facebook page, no matter where you happen to be.

If you would like to post to multiple social media sites using your mobile device, then there are a few good options available to you. First, there’s Hootsuite, which allows you to access and post to Facebook (both your personal page and law firm page), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and more. The Buffer app is another good option and connects with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus, making it easy for you to schedule posts and interact on the go. And last but not least, consider Everypost, an app that connects with a host of social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, tumblr, and Linkedin.

Next up, news reading apps, which help you to keep track of your RSS feeds and news that is of interest to you. Three popular options to consider are Feedly, Flipboard, and Prismatic. Feedly is an RSS feed subscription service that delivers your RSS feeds to you in an easy-to-read format and allows you to then share content across your social networks. Flipboard is similar, delivering information in a magazine-like format based on topics you select, which you can then share across social media sites. Finally, Prismatic delivers content based on the information being shared by your social media connections and the topics that you choose to follow. And, of course, like the others, it permits social sharing.

And, last but not least, if you’re interested in moving to the less traditional social networks that many of today’s teens prefer, then download Instagram, Vine, or Snapchat and explore the latest in social media sharing. Although these apps aren’t the mainstays of social networking, they offer unique ways to interact and might just be the perfect platform for your needs.

Whatever apps you choose, familiarize yourself with them, explore the features offered, ensure that you understand the ethical issues presented when interacting on social media as an attorney, and then dive right in. Join the lawyers who are already taking advantage of the many benefits of mobile social media apps—start reading, start sharing, and start connecting today!

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