One of the shows I loved as a kid was Inspector Gadget. That guy had a special invention for everything. His spring shoes and giant retractable punching fist were just a part of him. They often back-fired, but he didn’t hold it against the technology. He didn’t think of the gadgets as technology but as an extension of himself.
For me and other lawyers of a younger generation, we have a similar perspective about LinkedIn and Twitter, these aren’t software to us, they are tools that help us communicate better.
For a huge segment of the lawyer population, they will never see social media that way. Social networks will always be strange and unknowable, and it doesn’t matter how much you prod and pry, they won’t ever see these tools as an extension of self.
I don’t think I understood this when I started out speaking to lawyers about social media five years ago. My thinking was, social media makes sense- it makes lawyers more efficient and better business developers, so eventually everybody will learn to use it.
The error in my thinking was that I didn’t realize that some people will never want to use social media technology to communicate—at least not in its current form. Maybe once it is integrated into their normal routines or seamlessly integrated into other technologies. Until then, stop trying to force a round peg into a square whole. Build a coalition of the willing in your organization for those comfortable with technology and help the technophobes make small incremental improvements knowing that they may never be ready to fully embrace social media.