On Being An Outlier in a Social Network

I am thinking about social networking. I know. You say, aren't you always thinking about social networking, Lisa? Well, no. I also think about fashion, friends and my latest celebrity crush. (BTW, did you know that there are only 4 degrees of separation between me and @aplusk??? My apologies; I digress. I wonder if he's on LinkedIn??) But all of that aside, I was wondering: can you cause a mood to pass along a social network? Like trending topics, can we start an online social swell of emotion? For, as you know, the underpinning of any good marketing campaign is the evocation of an emotion, be it fear, covetousness or admiration. Just think iPad and you get what I mean. So just how do you accomplish that feat in a social network? If what Nicholas Christakis says is true during his TedTalk, then we are highly influenced by our social network's level of happiness, anger, sadness or depression. We saw it happen when Facebook announced its new terms. Angry networks buzzed. We saw it when Michael Jackson died. Memorials were held online. So how can legal marketers manufacture a feeling over an online social network? How can I get that wave going? Say for instance, I want to impress upon my law firm clients and professional colleagues that they should call my firm when the long arm of the law reaches out for them. I must impress upon them long before that event happens that I am ever-ready and ever-vigilant to come to their aid. I want to invoke a feeling of trustworthiness and safety; in a word, Rambo (a nod to my Greek friend, Chris). So for me, it means sending a steady stream of useful information on a daily basis across all social networking channels. It means being engaged in the stream of things, writing strong copy, being responsive. It means re-tweeting info that I might think is helpful to my followers. In these small ways, I am hoping to engender positive feelings. Its not easy; law firms (and I) are natural outliers. So to inject them into a social networking setting is awkward, at best. And lawyers, by the very nature of our business, are reactive so we cannot create legally-charged situations. But as any lawyer knows, a lawyer and his firm become important when the authorities start asking hard questions. They are designed to take the heat for everyone. We can become subject matter authorities, speaking on relevant topics. So law firms may seem like the strong, silent types. But we serve a good purpose. You wouldn't want your lawyer to act like they are at the law-law-pa-loosa, would ya?

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