You have likely already been warned about the potential impact of your social media involvement on your professional reputation. Hopefully, you already know enough to carefully tailor access to your “personal” online persona, and you stay on top of untagging yourself in too-wild party photos and the like. But cleaning up your image online can only upgrade your social media presence from negative to neutral. If your future legal career will require any marketing at all (and almost all lawyers need to market themselves), you should consider whether you can gain an early advantage by building a professional online identity and network.
Most new lawyers find that the most logical starting place for building an online persona is on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows users to build a network of professional contacts, and to be introduced to new contacts via other users’ networks. Not on LinkedIn yet and want some guidance? See our article geared specifically at students: “Essential LinkedIn dos and don’ts for law students .”
If you’re already active on LinkedIn and want to take the next step, you may want to consider creating a professional Twitter handle. Even if you’re unsure about what to tweet about at first, you can learn a great deal by following other lawyers, law firms, corporations, journalists, and others in your chosen field. (How about following us? We tweet @LAWPRO and @practicePRO.) For tips on how to stay out of trouble on Twitter, see: “Essential dos and don’ts for Twitter users.”
Go on, get social! Just remember to use your judgment.