As a blogger, user of twitter and Facebook I am used to social media and use it…a lot. I author two blogs; I have two twitter accounts and two Facebook accounts! Social media has become part of everyday life for many of my generation, and I don’t see that as bad thing. We’ve grown up with technology advancing at quite a significant rate. We use it for organising our social lives, for keeping in touch with friends who have moved away and such like.
In some professions social media is being used quite radically. Mark Glencorse of the North East Ambulance Service and Justin Schorr of the San Francisco Fire Department have been using Social media to try and bring about massive change in the way Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a profession operates. The purpose of this is to bring about better care and treatment for those that need to access the services offered by EMS providers around the world. This is social media being used in a cutting edge way to bring about real change . They call it EMS 2.0.
I have been following this use of social media very closely and I am truly excited and shocked at how much of an impact it has already had and how big it has become in such a short space of time. I love it and I admire both Mark and Justin for the passion and determination they have to change things in their profession.
This begs the question of what exactly the legal profession can do with social media. Can we use social media in a way to effect change within the legal system and profession? Can we make the profession much more accessible and human like through the use of social media? As more and more people engage in the virtual world through the likes of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can we not use it as a way to close the gap between the profession and the lay people we represent – a gap that has alienated people.
We’re not stupid. The profession has been using the internet for advertising for many years. However, there is so much potential that has yet to be utilised by the profession and that potential can be found in social media. For example, YouTube channels can be used for advertising or for giving an insight into the legal profession and what actually happens.
There are many student blogs out there written by aspiring young lawyers, mine is among them, and I think that as this group of young people become practicing Solicitors and Barristers/Advocates then we may well see the use of social media within the profession increasing.