This week’s ‘Engaging Reads’ feature brings you the hottest insights we gained from Twitter during last week’s heat wave, from the pornification of our high streets to the legal sector’s brand identity crisis and LinkedIn’s effort to get visual. Sweating yet?!

Kids being exposed to explicit content – it’s not just the internet we need to worry about!

Despite the Government today announcing new measures to block pornographic content on the internet in our homes, an article I picked up on via @mumsnettowers last week showed by it’s not just the internet that we need to worry about. Zoe Williams’ Guardian Culture article about the lack of censorship of inappropriate content in shop windows, newsagents and even on men’s t-shirts really struck a chord with me as a mum of two very young children. Before having kids, all that images of scantily-clad women provoked in me was the odd flippant eye-roll, but with little people around it becomes apparent that it’s EVERYWHERE! I’m appalled at the thought of my daughter growing up to think of this as the norm or my son presuming that this is what women do/look like but how do I prevent it? As Zoe makes the point: “In the end, it’s not about which age group is the most vulnerable, it’s not really about x-rating or baby-proofing the world so that we ring fence what is and what isn’t suitable for under-18s. It often takes explaining it to a four-year-old to wake you up to how toxic it is, but this is still about straight sexism – what is the presentation of a woman in this image?”

‘Brand differentiation’ – the single biggest challenge facing the UK’s top law firms

As experts in the legal sector we found this article about brand differentiation by Lucy Burton in The Lawyer fascinating. Referring to a recent survey by reputation agency Eulogy, Burton says that the industry is facing a mid-market identity crisis as a result of the influx of non-legal providers to the already saturated marketplace and predicts that firms will start to bring in sector specialists to compete. She also highlights the increased focus on reputation management over traditional branding: “If someone goes on Twitter and says you’re a wally, that’s far more damaging than having a logo that’s 3mm too far to the right. You can’t control your brand anymore because it’s a combination of what everyone else thinks – it’s about curation, not control.”

We think that now is the perfect time for smaller, more niche firms to stand out using social media and there are an increasing number who are realising this.

Telling your professional story on LinkedIn

Finally, we do a lot of one-on-one training with clients to help them get the most out of LinkedIn as a business development tool and, in most cases, professionals who could potentially use it to generate serious business have no more than a simple CV-style profile. We received an email from LinkedIn this week introducing a ‘new way to tell your professional story’ by encouraging users to go beyond words and use multi-media content to showcase their expertise and bring their profiles and company pages to life. When it comes to ‘expert power’ (see Helen’s recent blog on this), this is a fantastic personal branding tool. LinkedIn is often seen as the ‘boring’ social network but in the fast moving, high volume world of social media there is an increasing need to present everything in bitesize chunks and the more visual the better, so it’s good to see its keeping pace.