The power of social media in court reporting: when the influence extends beyond courtrooms
We have heard ad nauseam about how court reporting jobs do not blend well with social media. What happens when a court reporter decides to forego his or her social exile and open a Facebook account? Is the social media presence of a transcriptionist or a certified court reporter a deal breaker? Should you risk hiring a legal professional with an active account on Twitter or Snapchat?
Why should every court reporter consider leveraging social media?
It looks like social media is a critical tool for survival for many professionals. Several freelance writers, authors, editors and media managers get new leads from their social networks. Why should the court reporters and transcriptionists remain deprived? Instances show that social media presence can open the doors to a unique opportunity for those, who know how to manage their reputation and spread their network. Facebook and Twitter are not the limits of networking for most professionals. Several dedicated systems host professional accounts including legal ones and serve new job leads on a regular basis.
Sticking with a mainstream platform helps in multiple ways –
- They are easier to use and control.
- They have standardized privacy regulations.
- Popular platforms and applications have dedicated users.
- Building a new network of professionals is straightforward due to standard practices.
- People from all walks of life use the popular social media platforms.
- Finding new people and meeting new employees is easier on popular media than obscure niche ones.
Which are the different social media platforms ideal for legal professionals?
There might be many niche networking apps and platforms that cater exclusively to legal professionals, but finding potential job leads on them is difficult. The competition on them is too high, and the penetration of potential employees from out of the legal field is next to nil. The court reporters, real-time videographers, and transcriptionists should try the more popular networking sites including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to work on their reputation and build a professional profile.
LinkedIn – there is no excuse for professionals not to try LinkedIn. It is a social networking platform that exclusively caters to people from the different walks of life. You will find IT specialists, doctors, nurses, artists, teachers and lawyers on this site. You can build your profile, garner endorsements from other professionals who have worked with you and find new links in your network. On LinkedIn, your only responsibility is to boost your network and establish new connections. Open dialogs with fellow reporters and approach potential employers directly. LinkedIn gives you a chance to explore your potential as a transcriptionist.
Twitter–we can understand if you are apprehensive about being active on Twitter. A lot of scandals and controversies begin on this platform. However, while revisiting your decision, do remember that it is not the network by the content on the web that matters. On the same note, multiple US presidents and members of the parliament use Twitter, but not all of them spark controversy. You can leverage this platform to build your reputation as a responsible and aware professional of the field. Join the right groups, retweet the correct messages and remain visible for your future job to find you.
Facebook – this is indeed more of a “social” experience for everyone, and it is more casual than the other platforms we have mentioned here. You can use it sparingly to connect with fellow reporters and transcriptionists. Staying in touch with your colleagues or competitors will give you a direct look into their progress. You will also get to know when they are jumping jobs, so you can take a try in filling the vacancy. At this moment, there are hundreds of Seattle Washington law professionals, reporters, and transcriptionists sharing referrals, endorsements, tips and job postings on Facebook. You need to find the right group and interact with the relevant people to stay on top of the most recent trends.
While you are busy building your profile for social media sites, do not forget to visit the National Court Reporters Association and your state court reporters association. These websites may not be as glitzy and glamorous as Facebook or Twitter, but the member list of the dedicated sites is more relevant to the nature of your job. Additionally, you will get genuine information from the users of these sites, and you can verify the details of the same with your close peers.
Do social media really disrupt the court?
The implications of social media on litigations can be profound. There have been dramatic cases where the attorney built his argument based on social media evidence. Defendants have used their social media posts as alibis of their innocence and judges have given verdicts on the Facebook activity of the accused. Therefore, there is plenty of evidence and reason for people to be skeptic about court reporters, who have active Facebook or Twitter presences.
Influencing people’s opinions on social media does not demand effort. Maintaining a social network involves regular interaction with people, including members of the opponent’s team and, sometimes, the client(s). Posting from the court or writing about the progress of a trial can not only harm the reputation of the lawyer but also the outcome of it.
In case, court reporters take part in the discussions about current trials on social media. Their opinions will receive more gravitas due to their roles at the courthouse. Journalists already take advantage of live posting that creates bias or agenda among their followers. We have already seen how that can impact the future of sentences and bills. The severe repercussion of real-time posting on social media has made people question the role of social media in the court.
How can a reporter create an apt social media profile?
A court reporter should always consider the pros and cons of using social media before going online. The content of their profile and the nature of their account will determine future referrals. Here’s how you can do it –
- Creating a professional page–while most users have an active Facebook profile that contains everything from the picture of their high school sweetheart to their retirement retreat. As a professional court reporter, you cannot make that mistake. To connect with the professional world, set up a professional page. It is different from a user profile since it provides more control and imparts commercial attributes to the presence. It will show your office location, address, website link, hours of operation and your resume. Link it to your business name, so people looking for professional court reporting services can directly find you. Keep your page separate and hidden from the general Facebook user. It is more comfortable with LinkedIn since it is a network for professionals. The filtering process is straightforward since you can modulate content and contacts with single clicks. LinkedIn poses a lesser risk to the social network fresher that Facebook or Twitter.
- Choose a formal picture – your professional profile picture should be something official and genuine. Research shows that people respond better to the original images of people than they do to business logos and abstract art. If necessary, get the number of your local photographer and get a few professional headshots. Upload only your picture and maybe a picture of your team. Do not include photos of your clients or family just because you want to fill your album. Do not tag photographs of random people or colleagues. Keep your relations formal. Disable tagging on your profile picture and enable protection.
- Pick your audience – it is not enough to modulate content on social media, it is also imperative to audit your audience. Make sure you are not adding clients, witnesses or defendants to your friend lists. Facebook is a dicey place for those, who are not vigilant. You must never speak with your clients or witnesses over social media, irrespective of the urgency or content. You would not like it if your attorney communicated about a case on Facebook, so you cannot expect them to do so either! Also, remember to not get into an altercation with other attorneys or clients no matter how “private” that conversation is. The pressure is significantly lesser in the case of LinkedIn. You can write and post blogs, while you stay away from personal communications. People can connect with you directly or follow your penmanship on this network.
You must always remember that nothing is ever a secret on social media. However, that does not mean you should shy away from the opportunity to grow bigger and expand your horizon. Social media platforms bring forth an opportunity for court reporters to take new chances, try new jobs and explore more possibilities. Whether you choose to go online on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you will need the first couple of months to acquaint yourself with the options. Once you have everything under control, you will be able to make friends, gain new insights and weigh your chances of getting the lucrative job you have been awaiting.