Closed Networks and the Problem with Facebook

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This month’s edition of Web Law Connected could be seen as a bit of a rant, but the honest intent here is to explore the underlying marketing value offered to lawyers by what has become the 800-lb-gorilla of social networks – Facebook.

It’s difficult to refute that Facebook is the fastest growing entity on the web today, and the adoption rate within the legal community has been no different that any other group within the Facebook walls – it’s expanding, and fast. While some law firms are guarding business productivity by blocking access, we’ve also observed firms who see this latest gathering spot as an opportunity to expand their online presence. It should be noted, anytime we find legitimate communities and discussion on the web, the chances are good that individuals looking for business development opportunities will soon follow.

However, the bigger issue for me goes beyond the website blocking debate, or whether there is a legitimate business community here that can be marketed to. But rather, if we compare the relative value of Facebook to all the varying forms of web marketing out there, is it a good use of a lawyer’s online marketing time?

After a lot of consideration, and my opinion wavering, I’ve concluded that Facebook is a low quality marketing investment. And above all the positive aspects this service offers, the deciding negative factor was the closed nature of its network.

Please note, this article originally appeared on Slaw.ca.

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Steve Matthews
Stem Legal Web Enterprises Inc.

Steve Matthews is the founder of Stem Legal, a company that helps law firms build online profile and... View Profile »


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