By now I assume most readers have at least heard of Twitter, a microblogging service. (If not, you definitely need to read this post).
Twitter allows anyone to create an account or home page – mine is http://twitter.com/ronfriedmann. You can then post, from a PC or mobile phone, an unlimited number of “microposts”, that is messages of up to 140 characters. You can follow an unlimited number of other “Tweeters” and likewise, be followed. As of now, I am following 51, 94 are following me, and I have posted 87 updates since Oct 29, 2008 (almost all purely professional rather than personal).
Before anyone rolls their eyes, think back to e-mail, the web, and blogging. Lawyers resisted each much longer than most; today, however, e-mail is indispensable, it’s hard to imagine a law firm without a website, and blawging is mainstream. Be prepared to add Tweeter to that list.
That said, I am not yet 100% persuaded its value. Yes, there are law firms, legal publications, and mainstream media (MSM) that Tweet. So Tweeter is a good way to keep up with developments. Here are the challenges I’ve found so far for use as a professional tool:
– Too many people to follow
– Too many people posting uninteresting personal information
– Hard to filter types of posts
– Competition for my share of attention
Enumerating the above, I risk the wrath of the Twitter cognoscenti, who will tell me that I can use third party services such as Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid to “enhance my Tweeter experience.” Precisely the problem. I’m busy enough that I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time learning a whole another ecosystem. I know many will argue that doing so is easy, not time-consuming, and worth the effort. But we all need to make trade-offs with how we spend our time.
I’ve also created a Facebook profile, I blog (here and at my employer’s blog), I maintain two websites (this one and my employer’s), I subscribe to ~100 RSS feeds, I participate in Legal Onramp, and I stayed connected on Linkedin. So, for the moment, I spend some time on Tweeter, viewing it as an “option” to stake my ground in the future.
One business note. It’s interesting to see a whole ecosystem develop around Tweeter, a free service that does not have a long-term obvious way to generate revenue.
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