Or Social Media 101: Follow Blogs for Professional Development
I presented Networking and Career Building with Social Media at the Los Angeles Paralegal Associations 33rd Annual October Conference. As part of my usual recommendations for using social media for professional development, I strongly urged paralegals to follow reputable professional blogs (and not just because Im a blogger).
- Print magazines often have months old news; blogs have minutes old news from some of the best legal minds in the country.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest legal, technology and specialty area news.
- Join the conversations in the comment sections of blog posts to network, ask questions and share your own expertise.
- Set up a free RSS reader to keep up with your favorite blogs.
I hear too many paralegals say they dont utilize various types of social media because they dont have time. I agree that checking in with a half dozen or so of your favorite blogs can be time-consuming if youve just saved them as favorites in your browser, and separately visit each site when you want updates.
Utilizing a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed reader, such as Google Reader, is an incredible time saver for a busy professional. An RSS reader provides posts and articles from your favorite blogs and news sites as they are updated, in an easy web feed format. You select, add or subscribe to the web pages that you want to follow, and your RSS reader does the rest for you.
There are many RSS readers to choose from, but heres a list of Top 10 Free Windows RSS Feed Readers/News Aggregators from About.com for a quick overview.
Find a free RSS reader that you like and start small, with a half dozen or so legal, technology and practice blogs (including at least one in your specialty area). If youre understandably overwhelmed by the thousands of legal professional blogs currently available, ask for recommendations or check out the blog directories at ABA Journalor USLaw.com.
Whats in my RSS reader? Here’s a sampling of the blogs I follow:
- Legal Blog Watch
- The Paralegal Mentor
- Social Media Law Student
- Above the Law
Now, whats in your RSS reader?
Addendum: I wrote this post this weekend, but in a not unusual fit of insecurity, asked my husband, “The King of Technology”, if it was a silly topic, “’cause you know, everybody knows what a RSS Reader is, right?”
I mean, I kind of got the impression from some of the blank looks I received during that part of my social media presentation that maybe everyone in the room had not discovered the wonders of their own RSS feed, but then I usually get a lot of blank looks when I’m singing the praises of social media.
My husband said, “It’s great, they’ll love it,” but you know, he’s married to me and somewhere in the vows it might’ve said he has to tell me I’m a genius once a day.
But when I saw this post from Social Media Law Student, “Google: The Mightier Gets Mighty,” in my RSS reader today – with the following quote – I knew that I was singing the right tune:
Despite the plethora of law-related software, blogs, and newsfeeds that exist online, too many students and professionals have no clue what an RSS feed is or about its immense potential.
And this is how much I treasure my Google Reader: I love it so much and it keeps me so entertained, and up-to-date, that I gave up my 25-year subscription to Peoplemagazine. There were periods in my life when I ate Ramen noodles to keep that particular over-priced and sort of embarrassing print vice coming.
Really. ‘Sides, it was old news by the time I received it, anyway.