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February 1, 2013
How Tweet it is to be Liked by you

Bar launches Facebook page, Twitter feed

The Florida Bar is reaching out to members using online social net-working services.

Mary Ann Morgan The Bar, in accordance with a plan developed by the Communications Committee and approved by the Board of Governors, now has a presence with the online social media services Facebook and Twitter.

Bar Communications Committee Chair Mary Ann Morgan said using the services is a way to get information to members rather than them having to search for it on the Bar’s website.

“We’re very excited about the Facebook presence because we will be able to push information out to members,” she said. “If positions become available, positions on Bar committees or for judicial appointments, we’ll be able to push those out to members.”

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a service that sends brief messages — a maximum of 140 characters — to subscribing followers. While most Twitter accounts allow those subscribers to post reply “tweets,” the Bar’s Twitter service does not. Twitter works on all computers and mobile devices, but it is particularly adapted to cell phones.

Facebook allows users to establish a page, or “wall,” and exchange messages with selected other persons or entities. A Facebook user can post a picture or message which then will be seen by those selected “friends” and likewise the user will see content posted by those “friends.”

The Bar’s Facebook page works a little differently from the typical personal account. Those interested do not get access from sending a friend request, but rather by “liking” the page. After selecting that option, messages from the Bar will be displayed regularly on that user’s Facebook page.

Another difference is while “friends” can post information on each others’ Facebook walls, the Bar does not allow such posts. Viewers can leave comments. However, the Bar’s messages are monitored and inappropriate messages will be removed. All messages, in accordance with public records laws, will be archived.

Emilie Rietow, a public information coordinator with the Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services office, oversees the Facebook and Twitter operations. She said the Facebook page, after some experimentation, went “live” on January 2, and in less than two weeks had more than 500 “likes” or followers.

As the Bar navigates its way through social networking, postings so far — mostly on Facebook — have been items that are posted in the “What’s New” section of the Bar’s website.

Morgan said that will expand as the Bar gains experience.

“It’s rather experimental now, but we’re excited about what the future holds. The whole practice is going to change because information is going to be much more available,” Morgan said. “I want the Bar to be a benefit to members. What the Communications Committee is trying to accomplish is make The Florida Bar relevant and make our programs available for members.

“It really fits well within the strategic plan because one of the big issues is making members aware of what’s available to them, and letting them know what’s going on within the Bar. It will also help the community know what’s going on with the Bar.”

The Bar’s Twitter service can be found at @theflabar and its Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/thefloridabar. Links to both can be found on the Bar’s website homepage.

[Revised: 03-02-2014]