It’s fair to say Twitter has taken the social media world by storm. In less than five years, Twitter has become one of the go-to media outlets for bloggers, newspapers, companies, and the everyday Internet user. I won’t go into a long discourse on what Twitter is, what it can do, or how it works. Other people have done a much better job at describing it than I could have. (Consider checking out About.com’s “What is Twitter” article or viewing Common Craft’s “Twitter in Plain English” video. Also, Twitter has its own about page.)
I’ve discovered through casual conversations (with law school classmates, lawyers, businesspeople, and family and friends) that there are three basic reactions to Twitter. A) “I don’t get it. What’s the point?”, B) “That would never work for me,” or C) “Awesome. Sign me up.” The links in the previous paragraph address the first reaction, and the third reaction needs no additional encouragement, so my message today is directed at the second: don’t be afraid of Twitter. As law students, lawyers, or professors, Twitter offers something for each of us.
The basic benefit of Twitter as a lawyer (either as a solo practitioner or a member of a law firm) is in providing information to current or potential clients and to other lawyers. But it’s about more than just “tweet”ing firm news releases or updates. Indeed, as an individual lawyer, any specific updates you could provide would likely breach attorney-client confidentiality or violate state ethics codes. Twitter is, instead, a useful tool in keeping your followers up-to-date about legal news. That news could be about important decisions in courts around the country, news about legislation, or a story about how the law operates in practice.