Tweeting less but meeting more
Brian John Spencer, who has an interesting blog on Twitter for Law Firms, tweeted me the other day to ask:-
Hey @brianinkster why’s @inksters gone quiet for so long!? #SMconsisteny
— Brian John Spencer (@brianjohnspencr) November 22, 2012
@brianinkster @inksters cool, didn’t mean to be critical just you guys have long been a leader in the legal Tweeting community! — Brian John Spencer (@brianjohnspencr) November 23, 2012
My reply was perhaps a bit tongue in cheek. It did, however, make me think about why we hadn’t been tweeting much at @inksters in recent times. The real reasons are probably:-
- I have been very busy of late both with case work and strategic planning.
- I have been away a lot. 16 flights in the past 3 months (another 2 later this week) and several long train journeys often with limited or no social media connectivity.
But do you need to give excuses for reduced tweeting? I tend to find I tweet when I have spare time on my hands or am bored of watching TV of an evening. Not had much time to contemplate watching TV of late and with little or no spare time in general then tweeting has perhaps taken a back seat. When I think about it I have not posted on LinkedIn much and Google+/Pinterest have been even more neglected than Twitter (NB I don’t do Facebook yet).
Is it bad to take a break from social media? Especially if you are very busy IRL (in real life)? I don’t think so. You can’t be everywhere all of the time – although sometimes it feels like I manage it. I don’t believe that automated tweets are a good idea. You can drop in and out of social media and a less than constant presence may be seen by some as better than a never away from it one. Twitter has been likened to a bar where you drop in when it suits you. You chat to the people in the bar when you are there. If you are not there every night and miss some of the chat then so be it. You will catch up with things next time you are in. Unless you are a resident of Albert Square or Coronation Street you are unlikely to be in that bar every night. You will have other things to do.
However, whilst I may have been less visible on social media I have perhaps been otherwise engaged, especially this past week, in the social real world. I was in London on Wednesday for The Trial of Charon QC. I met many old twitter chums and made some new ones. It was more enjoyable than a night on Twitter but inextricably linked to that social media platform. The following evening I was socialising with sole practitioners from Edinburgh and Glasgow at a joint meeting of sole practitioners from the East and West of Scotland organised by the Law Society of Scotland. Then on Friday night I was meeting new people and seeing an old friend at a Venetian Masquerade Ball raising funds for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust and sponsored by Irwin Mitchell. Then yesterday afternoon/evening I was at a party catching up with friends from my University days. None of them Tweet. Some Facebook but I have yet to enter that world. I even left my smartphone at home (by accident I hasten to add) yesterday so was bereft of any ability to use social media at all that day. I had a notepad with me (in place of the uncharged Surface I left at home) and scribbled out this blog post, whilst travelling on the train to the party, to type out later. How last century is that!
@brianinkster is gadgetless! forgot smartphone and resorting to pen and notepad – how novel! — Nicola Walls (@Nicola_PagePark) November 24, 2012
In the past four days I have not missed social media as I have been immersed in a social whirlwind of meeting and greeting. Social media should arguably only ever be a secondary activity to that primary one albeit a very important activity in sometimes making the primary one happen (as was the case with The Trial of Charon QC).
Brian John Spencer need not fear, however, as I fully expect a very busy Twitter stream from, to and about Inksters in December and January as we merge social media use and a festive hashtag with a physical Christmas greeting. I won’t spoil the surprise. Just keep an eye on your old fashioned Christmas post and then continue the fun on Twitter.
What do you think?
Should law firms be always on social media or is there no harm (possibly benefits) in taking a break from time to time?
Update – 28 November 2012
An interesting and perhaps related blog post caught my eye after writing the above post. It is ‘Should you Dabble in Social Media?‘ by Amy Tobin. The answer, Amy says, is no:-
I understand that not every small business owner is internet or tech savvy; some of us are just too busy getting work done to maintain a Small Business Facebook Page or Twitter account and respond within hours. If that describes your business approach to social media, my advice is: get off of the social networks.
I wondered whether the same applied, in Amy’s eyes, to taking a break from social media. Our twitter exchange on the topic:-
@thetimeblawg @ginidietrich Yes;it’s not ok for your company to ignore the Social phone if it rings. If U rest,, someone must answer.
— Amy Tobin (@AmyMccTobin) November 28, 2012
Even if you do take a break you can be available. Alerts can be set up so that if someone is attempting to contact you via social media you are notified and can respond without having to be there constantly everyday. It is perfectly okay to do so. That is not dabbling.
@BrianInkster is gadgetless! forgot smartphone and resorting to pen and notepad – how novel!
Not so–I saw him wielding chicken wings and chips. Plenty gadgets and damn fine ones too! At least my tummy thought so. Thank you, Brian.
Great read, personally I think its like saying ‘is it ok to let our telephone ring off the hook?’. Its a communication vehicle. Ignore at your peril. To deal with non-posting, all firms should have ‘content diaries’ highlighting when and what they will be posting throughout the month on all online and offline channels!
Apologies for my delay in replying but as anticipated in my post I have been somewhat distracted by Christmas Hats!:-
There is I think a distinction between letting your phone ring off the hook and taking a break from tweeting. You can take a break from constant tweeting but still ‘answer the phone’ when someone tweets you. Notifications can be set up to alert you to the fact that someone has tweeted you enabling you to tweet back in response. Lawyers cannot spend all day on the phone, they have to take time away from the phone to do day to day work. If the phone rings and they are busy someone will (should) be there to answer it, take a message and facilitate a return call. Likewise Lawyers cannot spend all day on social media but can have mechanisms in place to respond when contacted via social media.
Social media should not be ignored but it should not be seen as the be all and end all.
I am afraid I am not convinced by content diaries for social media. Perhaps for blogging but the social media aspect will spin off from that. It is ‘social’ and should be a social exercise (with potential business benefits) to be carried out when you are feeling like and have the time to be social. This will inevitably result in bursts of activity from time to time and also periods of silence. Nothing wrong with that in my book.
Ha, loved the hats. Sorry for the delay in posting. Had a million and one white chocolate Toblerones to eat ;-P
We live in a world without order now. Thats a natural state of the universe. I dont think things can be put in boxes or pidgeon holes anymore i.e this is business development time, this is social time, this is client time, this is family time. It often all happens at once now.
Audiences have an expectation. We all live and work in the intangible services sector whereby expectations are driven principally by the perceptions of the user audience. Thats tough on people like you and me because we are subject to the ‘subjectivity’ and the complexities of human behaviour and its inconsistencies.
Its because of this, I think – what does the user audience expect from me? Not the other way round. And thats largely subjective – what does your audience expect from you? If you disappeared for a week or two – what does that mean, what is that saying? Im not going to preach to the converted but just have a think about it from the perceptions and expectations of others as solely opposed to your own capabilities or opinion as to the order of things.
But if you come up with the same answer. Thats cool. It will be different for everyone. I know that when I stop tweeting, stop blogging, stop guest posting and stop sharing articles – my web traffic hits rock bottom and my phone doesnt ring. Thats my world. So I maintain the flow. People expect it of me.
There used to be a time when business development was all about networking, coffees, tele-sales, spam, events – its much easier now providing we are social and maintain the social presence.
I always advise firms I help to try and bring ‘order’ to the chaos and disorder – planning, content diaries, social media planning, communication objectives, messaging, planning for disruption et al.