President's Message

Elizabeth F. McCausland

Elizabeth F. McCausland, Esq.

The Briefs, March 2018

Face-to-Face, Facebook, and Food on a Stick

 

Have you ever noticed that it is not just businesses or products that have brands these days, but it is also people who are developing personal brands? The idea behind it is that your business, your craft, or your product is an extension of who you are and thus part of your life’s story. Personal branding weaves together your life and your work. Some very successful companies are tied to the reputation of the persons behind them. Two examples instantly come to mind: Steve Jobs / Apple and Richard Branson / Virgin. Although it seems that personal branding is a new trend, I feel it is “old hat” in the legal field. A lawyer’s reputation for professionalism in and out of the courtroom has always been his or her brand as a lawyer. However, I think what has changed the impact of branding today is social media. Online search engines and social media have impacted almost every nook and cranny of life as we know it. Where people used to give an “elevator speech” during a face-to-face meeting, they now have online profiles that are crafted to catch someone’s attention and create a specific impression. They are purposefully interesting and do not always pertain solely to business. They often mention personal interests as well. I read recently that 81% of Americans had a social media profile in 2017 and that Facebook has more than 1.5 billion accounts. That represents a lot of potential clients or consumers and a lot of people who may know your personal likes and dislikes, passions, quirks, and opinions.

Before Facebook, I am sure not many people knew of my love for: ice cream, donuts, food on a stick, Tervis tumblers, tacos, craft cocktails, and celebrations (any and all kinds). Now that I have posted many of these online, I often get messages about National Donut Day, National Ice Cream Day, Beer and Donut tastings and the like from people who know about them and share them with me. There have been both positive and negative ramifications of this. The negative ramification is the dieting dilemma this food knowledge has created, but the positive is that it has given me some common ground with so many others. It gives me an opportunity to interact without meeting face-to-face. 

This leads me back to the impact of social media. Social media, video conferencing, virtual offices, and other such modern conveniences have allowed us to become a society of people who do not always meet each other. We interact with a camera or by text. We interpret typed words and imagine the meaning or inflections behind them. We have the convenience of firing off emails or texts that are spell checked but not always emotion checked. Simply put, lacking today is the personal touch of days past. Many organizations such as the OCBA have seen a decline in membership, and one of the many reasons put forth for this is that social media and online listserves have replaced the need to network and meet people. You can now join an online forum to interact with peers or persons with like interests. My question to you is: Is it the same as meeting people in person? Is it as fulfilling? Do you really remember the social media profile of that online “friend” better than someone you met with face-to-face and perhaps dined with? I would wager that the answer is no.

While the OCBA is trying to stay relevant by giving you the convenience and online presence that everyone is seeking, we also still intend to have events that give you an opportunity to interact personally with each other. So although you can now buy your CLE online from the OCBA store and view it immediately from the comfort and convenience of your home, please be sure to attend the Bench Bar conference on April 27, where you can choose from more than 30 CLE courses and interact with both judges and your peers. There is simply no replacement for this opportunity and the learning that happens while listening to live presentations. I look forward to seeing you there – face-to-face!

Until then, please be sure to celebrate some of my favorite, lesser-known holidays in March, and let me know if you hear of any place honoring them: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (March 1); National I Want You to be Happy Day (March 3); National Frozen Food Day (March 6); International Working Women’s Day (March 8); National Chip and Dip Day (March 23); Waffle Day (March 25); and my most favorite…Food on a Stick Day (March 28)!   

 

 

Elizabeth Foshee McCausland, Esq., Liz McCausland, P.A., practices in the areas of bankruptcy, mortgage modification, and mediation. She also teaches lawyers across the U.S. on how to modify mortgages in bankruptcy. She has been a member of the OCBA since 1997.

Orange County Bar Association The Briefs, March 2018, Vol. 86, No. 3.  All rights reserved.