How Not to Get Addicted to Social Media

I recently came across an insightful article that can apply to any of us in this information (overload) age. The original location of the article in on the Longhorn Leads  website on July 16th.

In a world that seems to be saturated with social media use, it can be difficult to recognize the very blurry line between normal usage and dependence. Much like drugs or alcohol, social media can become a real addiction for those that are prone to compulsive behavior. Maintaining a normal level of connectivity with the people on your friends list without becoming so fixated on those sites that you begin to miss out on face-to-face interaction is possible, but it requires a certain level of discipline and the ability to objectively appraise your own level of social media usage.

While a social media addiction isn’t likely to cause the physical destruction that comes with substance abuse or alcoholism, it can very easily become an impediment to living a normal, productive life. There are very real repercussions stemming from behavioral addictions which can dramatically impact the life of not only an addict, but also those around them. These tips can help you spot a budding addiction and cut it off at the pass, as well as address the issue with loved ones that are becoming unhealthily fixated on the Internet and social networking sites, in particular.

Keep Your Network Manageable

When you see the number next to your list of friends growing, it can be a very exciting and fulfilling affirmation of your popularity and desirability. After all, if so many people have sent or favorably responded to friend requests, you must be a sought-after person. Still, a cumbersome friends list means that you’ll eventually be bogged down with updates, and simply staying abreast of the changes documented in your newsfeed can become  a full-time job. The first step to staving off a social media dependency is to keep your friends list at a realistic, manageable level. You can’t possibly stay on top of the big events and random thoughts of a thousand people while remaining productive and active in real life. Don’t approve every friend request you get, and don’t send requests out to people that you don’t have an actual, real-life connection to. This will help ensure you’re not spending valuable time congratulating the engagement of a relative stranger or liking the updates of a celebrity you’ll never meet.

Learn How Filtering Lists Work, and Use Them

If you use your social media account as a professional networking tool, you’ll have to add people that you don’t have a personal relationship with in order to expand your reach. There are filtering options built in to all the major social networking sites that will allow you to separate your contacts into more manageable lists. In addition to saving you time and limiting the amount of energy you pour into a social networking site, these lists can also help you ensure that the content you share is visible only to relevant contacts. Your business acquaintances won’t be looking at your family vacation photos, and  your parents won’t be reading your work interactions.

Pare Your Networking Site List Down

There are a plethora of social networking sites on the Internet, all with what seems to be a specific purpose. You can easily spend hours between four or five sites with which you have an account, feeding the beginnings of a social media addiction. Instead of maintaining profiles all over the web, try to limit the number of sites you use. When you can check all of your updates and interact in a reasonable amount of time, you won’t be roped in to spending hours on separate sites. It’s also easy to lose track of just how much time you’re spending on social media collectively when the usage is broken up between several sites. If you spend two hours a day using four separate sites, you’re effectively putting in a full day’s work, just browsing your social networks! You may not notice hours spent on several sites like you would if you spent six straight hours on Facebook alone.

Use Blocking Apps and Timers

If you run an Internet browser that allows apps, plugins and extensions, peruse the Productivity section for functions that will periodically block “time wasting” websites. When you’re forced to disable a plugin before logging on to your Twitter account, you’re more likely to think twice about how much time you’re investing in your online social life that could be spent on a real, in-the-flesh interaction or two.

Be Realistic and Objective

It’s never easy to be honest with yourself about destructive habits, especially those that have become compulsive. Still, it pays to be realistic about the level of dependency you have on social media and networking sites, especially if your friends and loved ones have commented on your excessive usage. While it can be difficult to notice a gradually growing dependence, it’s wise to know the signs of behavioral addiction and to be able to recognize them, both in yourself and in those around you.

Law Firm Marketing: Facebook is Top Spot for Display

online social networking, law firm marketing, legal marketingFrom

Facebook has clinched the top place for online advertising as the social media giant has captured 23 percent of all Internet display ads, resulting in 297 billion ad impressions, which is higher than the total of all display ads on Google, Microsoft, Fox and Yahoo sites combined.

The astounding numbers, wallet-friendly prices and Facebook’s ability to target specific audiences have catapulted Facebook to the number 1 position for display ads. Yahoo came in second with 140 billion display ad impressions, followed by Microsoft at 64 billion and Fox Interactive Media at 48 billion. Google came in last at 35 billion ad impressions, according to the ComScore third quarter report.

So what sets Facebook apart from the other Internet publishing sites? Three things: socializing, price and Facebook’s ability to target its audiences. People spend an average of 700 billion minutes a month on the social networking site, and with over 500 million active users, the potential consumer impressions can be tremendous.

“Facebook’s increasing share of the display ad market probably resulted from the company’s fast-growing audience size, an increase in the number of ads per page that Facebook delivers and an increase in the amount of time that users spend on its website. The more people in your social network that are online, the more value it creates to you as a user, the more you are likely to engage and contribute,” stated comScore’s Andrew Lipsman.

Facebook online display ads sell at a big discount when compared to sites like Yahoo and Microsoft. The CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for Facebook’s U.S. display ads runs at about $1, compared to a $3 CPM for display ads on U.S. Yahoo sites. The discounted pricing is appealing for people who are looking to make a big impression on a small budget.

Facebook also has a unique feature that allows the social network to target the exact demographic they are looking for. The age, sex and interests all factor into what ads will appear on user’s Facebook pages, which ensures your ad will be seen by the right audience.

Facebook is an ideal place for law firms who are looking to get more “bang for their advertising buck.” Not only can your law firm save a little bit of cash while still achieving a high dollar audience reach. But, remember, keep the ads engaging and “worth the look” for consumers; generation Y are heavy users of Facebook and your attorney’s potential clients.


"Martindale Connected" Social Network Grows 10X in One Year

Martindale Connected, an online social network for lawyers, has grown from 3,000 lawyers when it was launched one year ago to 30,000 members, including members from more than half of the Fortune 500, lawyers from 98 of the Am Law 100, and 10 Alliance Partners from prominent legal organizations and associations.

To date, almost 700 active groups have formed within the community, where members collaborate and share ideas on a number of legal issues, and 2,500 members have participated in community-hosted webinars.

From my own personal experience I can tell you it's a lively group of people led by energetic community leaders. LinkedIn may be 100 times bigger, but the discussions don't go anywhere.  In contrast, the discussions on the more intimate Connected are 100 times more active.

Among other things, Connected has led me to:

  • Have a live video interview using Skype with community leader Mike Mintz, who was 5,000 miles away in Jerusalem.
  • Get the opportunity to lead a live online discussion of virtual law firms on Twitter.
  • Met the wonderful people in the Virtual Law Firms group, including Richard Granat, Stephanie L. Kimbro, Joseph Walsh, Alan Wernick, whom I knew "IRL" (in real life), Donna Seyle and many others.

Martindale Connected 

Supercharge Your Referrals with Technology

Steve Matthews, online social networkingAccording to Steve Matthews and Reid F. Trautz, social networking sites are free services to connect to others through your existing relationships in order to obtain business referrals and build new alliances for future business.

"Know that every time you participate in your network you make small deposits into relationships in order to maintain them and have them grow," they said.

Reid Trautz"Becoming involved in social networks helps us manage our existing relationships and build new ones. Spending time through social networks is an investment in future business. Increasing communication is an important aspect of social networking -- more frequent, more varied to deepen your relationships. However, like so many marketing activities, many lawyers are loath to invest that time, preferring to “just be a lawyer.” Social networking is more fun and less drudgery, especially if you are not comfortable in face-to-face interactions."

  • Illustration: An often untapped source of quality referrals is an individual's past, and sometimes distant past: childhood friends, elementary and secondary school classmates. While most people will think to reconnect with University peers from their past, one of frequently told benefits of social networking is 'the excuse' to re-connect with people we've known in the early part of our lives. Interestingly, these bonds can be exceptionally strong; and can be especially beneficial when an individual comes from affluent background.
  • Illustration: If you represent businesses, use your social network connections to add more to your client roster. As part of your overall marketing efforts, identify businesses that you would like to represent and find the names of their top decision-makers. Then search for those names across social network websites (all of them provide this simple service), then find people in your own social network to help you get an introduction to the decision-makers.

Visit the LawMarketing Portal to read the 7 benefits of online social networking, and their take on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Legal OnRamp and Plaxo.