These days it is not a question of whether or not we should embrace technological changes and emerging social but more a question of how do we keep up with the waves of changes and innovations? If we don’t keep on top of these things and make the most of the opportunities, we could be losing out and missing the whole point of getting involved in the first place. However, time devoted to keeping abreast of the latest gadgets and social networking tools can end up having a detrimental impact on your work and leisure time. It is a paradox, particularly set against the landscape of digital media supposedly making it quicker and easier for us all to keep in touch.
Twitter is the latest site to have a bit of an upgrade – Twitter 2.0 if you will – it was revealed this week. The familiar display is to be split into two panes, allowing the usual messages in one and then related content, like pictures and video clips, displaying clearly in the other without the need to open a new window or go to a different site as has been the case to date.
"You can now take a simple short tweet and get more context and information in less time," Evan Williams, Twitter's chief executive and co-founder said. All well and good, but the simplistic beauty of Twitter to me is that you don’t have all the fluff around a message, you just have the message. You don’t have to create new content or style it to look pretty. You have 140 characters. That’s it. Why couldn’t they resist tinkering?
I’m not knocking the evolution of the site and I will, of course, continue to use it. It has been nothing short of a revelation in the short time it has been around (can you believe it was only publically launched in July 2006?) and is now an incredibly useful tool to help us get our messages out there, educate and inform people about family law – and as a window into other people’s worlds. One of the Woolley & Co lawyers, Kathryn McTaggart is a particularly prolific Tweeter (@Kat_McTaggart). I found myself inexplicably drawn to the unfolding story of her new patio! However she, like me, finds it a very useful business tool as well – a new way of reaching out to existing clients and connect with new ones.
On a slightly different trajectory is Facebook. It is used daily by millions around the world (it claims is has 500 million users), for both personal and professional roles. Personally, I have found it a little cumbersome as a business tool. It has added to itself as it has grown and seems to have lost some of the simplicity and intuitiveness that helped it grow so quickly and become important in the first place.
As a virtual law firm, the core vision was to embrace the emerging technology – hardware, software, everything – to offer the best possible service to our clients, tailored to the needs and the demands of the modern world. Tools like Twitter, Facebook and Linked In are now an integral part of how we communicate with people. And the strategy has been a success. We have grown to 20 senior level lawyers spread across the country (and in Egypt!), attract interest from additional lawyers, have a reputation for good service and are continuing to break new ground in the way we communicate with people. It’s not easy though and these constant changes sometimes hinder instead of help. Now, any suggestions what will be the next big thing, just so I can get a head start?