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Internet Social Networking for Paralegals: Step Out to Step In

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Almost every paralegal today knows and recognizes the importance of professional and social networking on the Internet. However, paralegals are conscious and scared (justifiably) about Internet social and professional networks due to concerns over data privacy and slips of the pen which might become subject to e-discovery. As they say, fear is the mind killer – and in a profession where confidentiality and professional misconduct are part of common vocabulary, unknown risks can freeze you into inaction. However, the most certain way of getting rid of fear is to know and learn about the subject and be able to estimate actual risks. This article is written for paralegals interested to do internet social networking for professional and social gain.

How paralegals can use internet social networks

 
Internet social networking for paralegals

Relations bring work and work builds relations, but things need to be approached very carefully – distrust is common and expected, trust is difficult to come by on Internet social networks.

To use internet social networks and other online professional networks to your best advantage you need to understand two things – first, no conversation on networks is private and it can be used later on either to your advantage or disadvantage; second, you need to have a thorough understanding of the laws of libel and professional misconduct. Once, you are aware of what to say and what not, online professional networks become an asset to you as a paralegal.

Some general tips to follow on online social networks include the following:

What paralegals should not do on internet social networks
 
  • Do not reveal confidential information or identifying information about work assigned by your employer or client
  • Do not criticize the characters or professional capabilities of other professionals in your network
  • Do not try to hijack discussions of people
  • Do not spam
  • Do not get into quarrels or public shows of impolite behavior – even if you get into a tussle, or somebody makes a pungent remark at you, accept things politely

What paralegals should do on internet social networks
 
  • Keep your opinions and discussions focused on learning and discussions on general problems of the trade
  • If you discuss specific work problems, never do it in a manner where the assignment can be identified
  • Use networks to learn more than trying to earn – networks and relations online fail dismally when you try to seek work up front, and you end up losing important connections who are veritable storehouses of knowledge
  • Duly fill in your online profile and keep updating the same with new skills and achievements
  • Seek to place recommendations on your online profile – there are many who would not provide you with any work or other assistance, but would be free to recommend you
  • Use social networking tools to search engine optimize your profile for particular keywords related with work opportunities

Keep in mind that even if you feel your efforts at networking on internet social networks are not paying off in relation to increasing streams of revenue, it would pay off with time. Consistency and presence is the key. Without consistent presence at particular social networks you'd not get visibility, and trust comes with continued visibility over a period of time. Nothing happens overnight.

Even if you are not interested in relying on internet social networks to get you work, they do get you work in both direct and indirect fashions. First, your profile remains on a highly ranked webpage, something any potential employer would chance upon while making a background check. And second, your conversations remain as proof of your intellect and the way you are able to handle topics and apply your mind.

Being accessible to all – your online conversations remain as proof of the kind of person you are. It is difficult to place such proof within the short span of a job interview, and your continuing online conversations in internet social networks allow employers to have a glimpse into your mind. By making it easy for potential employers to understand you, you make it easy for yourself to get a job or work, or find opportunities to develop your career.


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Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

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