I recently gave a new media presentation (similar to the one I gave at the Nevada Interactive Media Summit) to several groups at the annual Nevada State Bar Family Law Conference in Ely, Nev. There are a number of industries and professionals that are coming around to new forms of communication - including some lawyers. With new and social media used effectively, lawyers can better establish themselves as thought leaders, individuals and show their passion for their craft. Sounds great, right? Well, during the conference there was some heated discussion as to whether the State Bar allows such interaction - specifically blogging. Apparently the Nevada State Bar has specific rules surrounding "advertising." And for many in the group, blogging was considered advertising.
I should note, however, that I would never encourage anybody to use their blog as another platform for advertising. It certainly is not one. A blog is a medium that allows you to log your thoughts, experiences and opinions and share them with others. It is a place for a conversation, not an advertising message. Treating the connection you make with people from blogging as a new opportunity to push your standardized advertising message will quickly result in failure.
So here is the debate: is blogging advertising?
Some in the group debated that any outbound messaging is considered advertising. Some in the group distinguished the difference between advertising and blogging in the presence of a call to action (ie - call me today for...). Sometimes, communication and technology move faster than the law, and we have to adapt rules and regulations. I tried to contact the Nevada State Bar for their take on blogging, but I was met, rather coldly, with a refusal to discuss it. Instead, those practicing law are encouraged to contact the State Bar's ethics hotline, should they have a question about advertising regulations.
So - what do you think? Is blogging (even for lawyers) considered advertising?