Full-time and part-time jobs in social media are plentiful in just about every aspect of law. So is contract work. Craigslist is full of help-wanted for freelance social media experts.
But just like those $20 to $35 an hour document review jobs, the social media ones could be wiped out by technology. Those in social media who are banking on their creativity to dodge the software bullet are thinking 20th century.
That's what Jacob Silverman points out in his 2015 book "Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection."
Silverman turns over social media, including the data it generates, and forces us to gaze at its ugly underbelly. He includes everything from downright fraud among supposed service providers to the misleading interpretations sold to hedge funds and corporations which have been derived from aggregating digital sentiment.
But for those providing both high end and low end social media strategy and content for the legal sector there is also a very chilling prediction. Silverman points out:
"As software gets to know the user better, the user's role would decrease to that of a rubber stamp, approving prefabricated responses. One could imagine a future version of this product taking people out of the loop entirely, offering to maintain their social-media presence in their absence."
Specialized software could be developed for each kind of niche, be it medical-malpractice defense or law enforcement against white-collar crime. The "bots" created could plan and provide the blog posts, influencers' articles on LinkedIn, tweets, Facebook commentary and what other platforms are useful to the law firm, regulatory agency or law enforcement branch. Who needs those supposed geniuses who so seamlessly merge legal insights with search engine optimization? Software could likely do the task better. And, for sure, much more cheaply.
For their next major special event, such as a seminar on a new regulation, law firms might employ social media experts to blog live and tweet all the presentations and Q & A. That approach has proved itself effective for getting the right kind of attention, as we noted in the "Pao v. Kleiner" trial. Eventually, though, the bots can handle the whole thing. Each would focus on a different angle.