5 Tips If You Are Ever A Social Media Expert Witness
Updated: Sep 18
Being a social media practitioner allows you to utilize your skill-set in a variety of different ways. The traditional social media career used to include managing a brand account or working at a social strategy agency.
However, as social media has expanded throughout all components of business, there are a plethora of ways to implement your knowledge-base.
This can take the form of working at a university or as an online lecturer, a ghostwriter for celebrities or influencers, or even working in the judicial system as a social media expert witness. This past summer, I was retained as a Snapchat expert witness. Here are five insights that I gleaned from the experience.
Know Your Expertise Inside And Out
The lawyers hired you as an expert and are counting on you to become a valuable part of their argument. You will be questioned about the minutiae of social media and the product itself. It is imperative to be able to explain every aspect of the tool and how it relates to the case. This can be especially taxing as apps are constantly being redesigned and updated.
Make sure you do your due diligence to make sure your arguments are sound by testing out processes, using online resources like YouTube or blogs to read up on certain areas, and engaging with your community of other social media thought leaders to double-check your research -- just remember to keep the details of the case under wraps.
Understand The Law
Working in the judicial system opens you up to a new world of terms that you’ll need to know to succeed as a social media expert witness. It is prudent to truly understand each term and how they relate to the case. These can include arbitrator, opposing counsel, exhibit, deposition, errata, affidavit, and expert letter. There are many nuances to the law, and the more you comprehend them, it will be better for all parties involved.
Lawyers need you to explain and defend a compelling argument during the case whether in a deposition or at trial. Because of this, you will need to have confidence while opposing counsel is questioning your abilities. You will do deposition practice that will get you prepared, but you’ll also need to go over your argument because you never know what could be coming your way. To do your best work while under pressure -- as these depositions can go for many hours -- you can practice power poses beforehand or find an activity like meditation or yoga that will give you internal strength and calmness.
Be Clear In Your Analysis
As your words will have an impact within the trial, be clear and detailed in how you present your analysis. As social media is a new field, it is of utter importance to explain the tactics to an audience that is unfamiliar with the apps. By taking your time to explain the digital landscape and how it relates to the case, it will be beneficial for your side to win.
Communicate With Your Lawyers
You are providing value and a paid service so it is essential to be as communicative as possible. Lawyers are on a time crunch and need insights and data points as soon as possible. Make it a top priority to communicate swiftly so that the lawyers can prepare all of the information they are gathering from you. To make things easier, you can manage your email notifications so that their correspondence always pops up and gets attention, and always hop on a call if they need more explanation.
Being a social media expert witness is an incredible way to use your skill-set for the greater good. You can work on court cases that can set a precedent for alleviating sexual harassment, bullying, workplace retaliation, and more. Because social media is such a new phenomenon in the grand scheme of the court of law, it will be interesting to see how social media will be integrated into court cases. By following these five tactics, it will help you if you’re ever a social media expert witness.