• Today’s sponsor is my friend, Debbie Walker, who is an outspoken blogger and podcaster.  She asked me to write about how our involvement in “social media type events” led to friendships between participants.

    Phoenix is a city known for its transplants.  It seems like everyone here moved from somewhere else.  This is also a city where it is hard to find new friends and establish a sense of community.  This was a complaint I heard all the time when I was a therapist.  My suggestion to my clients was to get involved in activities that they enjoyed and that would lead to meeting people with similar interests.   Social media has made this process even easier.

    #EVFN San Tan Brewery
    Image by sheiladeeisme via Flickr

    There are a host of events that are organized through social media that bring together people who otherwise would probably never meet.  Some of these local events are Podcamp AZ, #evfn, Ignite Phoenix, and events by Improv AZ.  Some of these events are educational and some are just for fun, but they all involve smart witty people who want to meet and converse with other smart witty people.

    One of the wonderful things about making connections through “social media type events” is that it facilitates friendship between diverse people.  For most of us, “social media type events” are what we do in our free time.  By day, we’re advertisers, teachers, writers, students, and business owners.  Most of us are people whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross if it weren’t for our shared interest in social media and volunteering at social media events.

    The best thing about these events is that they constantly bring other people into the mix.  None of these events involve an exclusive group.  We always welcome new friendly people.  It can be daunting to be the new person at an event, but the people that attend these events are always willing to talk to the new guy.  I was once the new guy and I was petrified of attending an event where I didn’t know anyone.  I started with a prank event where I met one person.  He invited me to be part of the core organizers of Improv AZ.  That led to me learning about, presenting at, and now volunteering with Ignite Phoenix.  My conversations with these fantastic people led to my interest in podcasting and blogging which led to my invovlement with PodcampAZ.  Somewhere in there I also added the Social Media Club Phoenix and #evfn.  The people who were strangers to me two years ago are now some of my closest friends.

    Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Debbie Walker. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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  • My sponsor today is Amanda Ellis, attorney recruiter and founder of Amanda Ellis Legal Search.  Her firm assists associate level attorneys in finding jobs.  She is also the author of The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job-Seeking JDs, a book that provides a detailed overview about how attorneys can use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to develop business or find a job.  She also maintains a blog on this topic with tips and her appearance schedule.  Many professionals are afraid of social networking sites.  Her book does a great job of instructing professionals on how to use these sites and tips for having a professional presence online and building relationships with others.  I’m looking forward to implementing some of her suggestions on how to use LinkedIn to find a job in my upcoming search for post-graduation employment.  When Ellis sponsored today, she asked me to share one of my success stories of being a law student and using social media.  I thought I would tell the social media history of Sponsor A Law Kid.

    One thing I’ve learned about networking through social media is that it is a process, not an event.  It’s about building relationships and seeing each connection and conversation and a potential stepping stone.

    In January 2009, I was a 1L who had just finished her first semester of law school and did not stick out in a crowd.  I attended the first Global No Pants Ride in Phoenix.  I was intrigued by the boldness of Jeff Moriarty for planning such an event and decided that I wanted to meet him.  I purposely stood next to him on the ride and struck up a conversation with him.  By the end of the day we were “friends” on Facebook.  Through Jeff, I heard about Ignite Phoenix, and presented on the legalities of participating in public pranks at Ignite Phoenix #5.  One of the other presenters at Ignite was Kade Dworkin.  Kade and I kept in contact and about a year later, he started his own podcast called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.  I was on his podcast and listened to his other shows.  One of his guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.  As I listened to Jason discuss how he makes a living by wearing shirts and creating content, I was inspired to use my blog to fund my final semester of law school.  In November 2010, I launched Sponsor A Law Kid.  This campaign has opened the door for me to connect with attorneys all over the country and opportunities to be a guest blogger for other websites.  It took almost two years and at least seven steps from participating in a prank to being mentioned on Above the Law, The Nutmeg Lawyer, Blind Drunk Justice, and ABAJournal.com.

    Twitter is my primary modality for networking.  It is how I create and maintain connections with people in the legal community.  Along with connecting online, I try to connect with as many people as I can in reality through attending events and inviting attorneys to coffee or lunch.  I have stronger connections with people that I have met in person than with people I only know online.

    Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school.  Today’s sponsor is Amanda Ellis.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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  • Twitter – The Untapped Resource for Law Students

    I joined Twitter about 16 months ago.  I originally joined to keep in touch with my friends while I was in Missouri with the U.S. Army JAG last summer.  Since then, it has become one of my primary networking tools.  It is the easiest way I know to start a conversation with someone.  I’m surprised by how few students at my law school are using it.

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    A few months ago, Twitter helped me break the ice with Sam Glover when he spoke at my school.  Recently, it helped me create a connection with Tim Eigo and Arizona Attorney Magazine.  I don’t know how he found me, but he started following me in August and said that he liked this blog.  I went on LinkedIn and the Arizona Bar Association website to confirm his identity and then started a conversation with him.  That led to a lunch and hopefully this is the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Twitter has given me the ability to connect with a vast number of people, entities, and information that I otherwise would not have the time to seek out on my own.  It is the main way that I keep up with developments in the legal profession.  It also helps me stay informed about what my friends, local businesses, and celebrities are doing.

    Online Best Colleges.com and Rasmussen College published their lists for the Top 100 Legal Twitter Feeds.  These are all wonderful people to follow.  Like them, I also want to acknowledge some of my favorite legal people and entities on Twitter who consistently post informative and entertaining content.

    I also want to give props to Erin Biencourt, a 2L at Arizona State University, who is new to Twitter.  She claims that she needs me to give her Twitter lessons because she’s still figuring out how retweets and replies work.  She’s doing better than she realizes because she’s already overcome the biggest hurdle just by becoming part of the conversation.

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