Chris Brogan

What are you doing to build your Community?

by Fred Abramson on February 22, 2010 · 0 comments

One of the great problems of the information age has been the disruption of  local communities.  During the last generation, people were able to rely on their local community to help them sustain their businesses.   Accountants were able to order a pint of Guinness at their local Irish pub and pick up a new tax client before the time the beer has settled.  The local butcher could rely on his buddy’s from his softball team to pick up osso buco at his store.

Now the local accountant has been replaced by H&R Block and you buy your meat in shrink wrapped plastic on environmentally unfriendly styrofoam at Stop and Shop. Even the local watering hole has been replaced by a TGI Fridays.  In the process, our local communities are being destroyed.

You may be paying a bit less in the short term, but there is a price. Our lives are missing the interaction of oral conversations that last more than a couple of minutes.  These conversations are important not only financially, but socially. If you are a financially planner, the local accountant would naturally refer you business.  The butcher probably knows about the best poker night in town.

Now that our local communities have been upended, many of us are turning to socially networking to re-build our communities. Unfortunately, social networking sites such as Twitter do not allow for many deep meaningful interactions that lead to building communities very quickly.

A community looks to each other to grow the relationship and to interact.  According to Chris Brogan, community happens when you feel that you are among like-minded people and when you feel that your contributions matter.? Communities empower users of products or services, or people with like-minded interests to interact.

You may not realize it, but who you buy from really matters.   Spend a few moments and think about the impact of what you purchase.

Yesterday I bought a gift for a for a two year old girl at the Dolphin Bookshop, in my hometown of Port Washington, New York rather than Barnes and Noble. The purchase supports a local independent bookstore in the community. I love technology, but don’t expect Kindle stores showing up on Main Street anytime soon.

The next time you are wondering why someone from your community hasn’t bought something from you, you should think what have you done lately to build our community.

What do you think? What are you doing to help build your community? Have you been able to use social networking sites to build a community?

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If you are not on Chris Brogan’s mailing list, you don’t know what your missing.  Here’s the link….

If you have 50 minutes, watch this video of Chris Brogan speaking about his book Trust Agents. Enjoy!

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Social Media is an ongoing experiment.  Both people and companies are using this new tool to connect with people that they have never met in person.  The main goal of all of this activity is to generate new business.  The million dollar question is how to convert your Twitter followers and Facebook friends into paying customers.

The answer, according to members of the panel convened on October 23, 2009, at the Trust Summit, is to build trust. In front of a packed room of tweeps at the Harvard Club in NYC, social media rockstars Chris Brogan, Julien Smith, David Maister and Charles H. Green, discussed the issue of trust and how it relates to social networking.

According to Chris Brogan, the relationship economy will move the future. The goal of using social media is to create sustainable relationships over time.

In his book Trust Agents, Chris explains that on the web, groups of highly motivated people within every circle have already joined together, helping each other reach a higher ground. I asked Chris, through Twitter,  how professional service businesses (ie law) can harness this group to become clients. I am skeptical that lawyers and other service businesses can use social media to achieve this goal. Chris responded that you need to be a priest and build a church. What he means is that you should use social media to be part of multiple groups that will help your access each group.  Your goal is to be in the center and be the priest.

The trust paradigm is not new. Charles H. Green lectured that you shouldn’t view business through the lens of competition.  The purpose of companies is to serve society.  He argued that competitors should work together to serve the public.  Cooperation between competitors serves everyone interests.

David Sax, writing in Save the Deli observed this spirit of cooperation in the thriving Los Angeles Jewish Deli scene.  Throughout the country, Jewish Delicatessen is an institution that is in decline.  The pastrami is expensive and people are worried about the impact of schmaltz on their cholesterol.  But in LA, the Jewish Deli is thriving because deli owners cooperate.  If Nate N’ Al’s is out of stuffed derma, they call over to Greenblatt’s  for help.   You should do the same when using social media.

As Julien Smith eloquently put it:  “Social media is still an experiment. Be curious of other people when using social media. Only by risking can we create greater things for everyone.”

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I will be speaking tomorrow about Blogging at Social Media for Lawyers II tomorrow at New York Law School.

Here is an outline of the topics I will be discussing:

  1. Chris Anderson, Free and it relation to legal blogs;
  2. Chris Brogan, Trust Agents and how it relates to how lawyers write on the web.
  3. Why blogs are powerful;
  4. How to get started with your blog;
  5. Discussion of WordPress, themes and widgets;
  6. Thoughts on what to write on your blog;
  7. Ideas on how to draw traffic.

For more:

Social Media:

Social Media for Lawyers II (CLE)

October 14, 2009





Social media has become a part of the legal landscape. An understanding of Twitter, Face Book, Linkedin and blogs have become critical for understanding clients and their issues as well as emerging as a potent form of marketing and valuable research tools. These sessions will offer a unique and highly target look at social media. A panel of legal experts who have become leaders in the social media arena will offer hands on sessions as well as leading sessions on the inherent risks, limitations and potential vulnerabilities and liabilities of these social media tools.

Session 2: Blogs, Facebook, Linkedin For Lawyers

Registration is available for one or both sessions, and a total of 6 CLE credits will be available, pending accreditation by the CLE Board of the NYS Bar. Financial assistance for these seminars is available upon request.

Registration: For Day 2 Only: $75


Frederic Abramson, Esq. Attorney, Blogger, Social Media Practioner

Deena Burgess, Esq. An attorney specializing in issues relating to social media and technology as well as the representation of entrepreneurs

T.C. Coleman, Esq. Lawyer, Marketing Strategist, Blogger, CEO Upward Action LLC

Roman Fichman, Esq.Frederic Abramson, Esq. Attorney, Blogger, Social Media Practioner

Michael Grygiel, Esq. Chair, Media and First Amendment Law Practice, Hiscock & Barclay; Chairman, NYS Bar Association’s Committee on Media Law

Ronald Minkoff, Esq. Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, LP; In 2009, he was named a New York-area “Super Lawyer” for Professional Liability

Eric Robinson, Esq. Staff Attorney, Media Law Resource Center; Blogger, Citizen Media Law Project

Cameron Stracher, Esq. Professor of Legal Writing and Publisher, Law Review, New York Law School; Author; Fmr. Litigation Counsel, CBS

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