Updated: May 8, 2020
You don't have to look far to find articles and surveys and studies to show that social media is bad for you, and at the moment it appears people are behaving worse than ever on social media.
Could you actually need it though?
I would suggest that, used well, social media can be another avenue to create a supportive community for yourself while you are working in a stressful profession. There is little research on whether social media can be used as a support mechanism for lawyers, or how that might look, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that it can be done. Furthermore there is evidence that Facebook groups in other settings, like Facebook groups to support breastfeeding mothers, can be supportive and collaborative and contribute to a shared goal. You can read more about that research here or here. The benefits in this group were gained by the involvement of some training facilitators, but also a large percentage of the contributions were from other breast feeding mothers, so peer to peer.
If you want to hear more from Dr Nicole Bridges, who is responsible for that research cited above, then scroll down and find out about our online training on Facebook groups inside our Flexible Family Law Facebook group.
There is other research in other settings or in other professions, I just haven't found any in a legal setting. I would love for you to draw my attention to some though (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org )
So what does all this mean?
Don't simply write off social media as a negative influence that causes people to fight and to suffer from obsessive comparison syndrome. It also isn't simply a place for you to market, though having an active social media presence can allow you to both market and also to curate a group of supportive professionals.
It can be a place for you to access support in a flexible fashion using your mobile phone.
Social media, particularly controlled groups with restricted entry requirements can be used to provide you with a supportive environment and also a place where you can ask questions of other professionals. Many of the lawyer groups I am in have a daily question along the line of 'I am looking for a case that I read once where this happened ....' or ' what is the actual legislation behind this I cannot put my hands on it'.
Best of all for us busy lawyers, you can interact with social media from your mobile phone, at weird hours of the day, and when it fits in with your life.
Next week we will be looking at using social media for our benefit. In our Facebook group for Flexible Family Law we will be hearing from these three amazing speakers on Monday about using Facebook groups to find clients, how to manage a Facebook group and your responsibilities as an admin, and lastly how to use Facebook as a force for good to support and encourage each other.
Emma Heuston The Remote Expert
Lawyer (who also loves helping businesses move online)
Emma is going to talk to us about using Facebook groups to find clients.
Lawyer & Barrister
Sarah manages a couple of Facebook groups. She has come under scrutiny recently for something that someone else did in one of her groups. She is going to talk to us about your responsibility as an administrator as well as provide some more pragmatic tips about managing groups.
Dr Nicole Bridges
PhD, B Comm (Hons), MPRIA
Lecturer in Public Relations
We will also be hearing from Dr Nicole Bridges regarding the research that she did for her thesis on the positive and supportive use of Facebook groups.
Dr Bridges works at Western Sydney University as a lecturer in Public Relations and is also the ACT/NSW Branch President for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. She is a highly qualified speaker and this will be a very beneficial opportunity to think about using social media to support each other.
Flexible Family Law - Facebook Group
Our Flexible Family Law group is a group for all people working in the family law eco system, not just lawyers. We have regular contributions from other professionals and our focus is on sharing information between those of us who are running a more flexible or remote business. If you want to join then click here.