Fractured Market, Common Ground: The Value of Community
Have you heard of Life magazine? Famed for its photography and presentation of a wholesome American lifestyle, it was enormously popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
In the subsequent decades, the publishing industry became more and more specialized. Titles with niche audiences ate away at Life’s general-interest readership, and it eventually went out of business. These days, you’re lucky to find a copy or two in a used bookstore.
The social media field bears some similarities to what happened in magazine publishing. Platforms are finding success appealing to smaller slices of users (Yik Yak for college students, for example, and ello for graphic designers). Facebook and Twitter aren’t in any danger of meeting the same fate as Life, but each has purchased smaller platforms (WhatsApp and Periscope, respectively) to keep up with the fracturing marketplace.
Part of the reason for fragmentation in these mediums is that people find benefit in speaking to and with others in similar circumstances.
This is why Thomson Reuters created the Legal Community, a private online network for solo attorneys and lawyers at small law firms. Platforms like LinkedIn are excellent at serving their purpose, but the conversations they foster can be too broad to be meaningful for these types of lawyers – and none of us has time to devote to a less-effective option when more-effective choices are available.
Arguably the chief value of this platform is that it has been created specifically for FindLaw clients. All members work at small law firms – 40 percent of our members are solo attorneys and 20 percent work at firms of 2-3 lawyers – and dedicated FindLaw professionals curate and moderate discussions to parcel relevant content into sensible, effective conversations. Community was designed to help members:
- Bolster a practice: Sharing insights and pointers helps Community members establish their reputations, priming the market for referrals.
- Boost efficiency: Interacting with fellow lawyers who perform similar tasks means Community members can learn from one another. Every minute saved is a minute that can be spent doing what you want to do – practice law.
- Form new connections: Not everybody faces the same issues a Community member does when it comes to practicing law, building a business or working with clients. Interacting with like-minded people provides a sense of unity.