Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tweetlaw. New Application for Twittering Legal Professionals

Methinks I Doth Protest Too Much In an earlier post entitled "The Musings of a Cranky Old Twit", I bemoaned the fact that so many attorneys have begun using twitter. To be honest, I viewed the practice akin to Jr. High students texting gossip about each other in 140 characters or less. With so little space to write, I thought using the service was a waste of time. Did I really need to follow your boring daily life? Do I care that you went to Starbucks today or that your goldfish died or anything else about your mundane schedule? Nevertheless, I am always open to try new things. (i.e. see 1980s parachute pants and the Flow-Bee vacuum hair cutting system) I signed up for twitter to see what it was all about. Much to my surprise, I had a few people join as followers. Were my dreams of founding a cult finally coming true? With followers, I felt the need to post something. I decided to inform them of new posts on my blog. Strangely enough, I started noticing an influx of readers of my site. I received a phone call from a reporter in Maryland and a reporter in Connecticut asking me for information on two of my posts. Attorneys started joining my twitter page and we started exchanging advice. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Even Seattle personal injury lawyer Bill Marler who has stated that he will donate $25,000 to charity if he gets 25,000 Twitter followers by the end of the month. Twittering has led to client inquiries for me. I have seen the light. I am now twittering. So here are the basics. You sign up on twitter.com and create your user name. I chose lawbaron. As an attorney with the last name Baron, you can probably deduce how I came up with this brilliant moniker. Within seconds, you can post short messages called "tweets" that appear on Twitter's web site, mobile phones and other applications. Once you join twitter, you have the ability to follow other members’ messages. Find someone interesting? Hit follow and you will get their updates. (I suggest following Becky. She has the best updates on Hannah Montana)

So how can this help your practice? The first advantage I see is building up your network. In just a few days, I made contacts with attorneys throughout the world. By reading their tweets, I was directed to a plethora of information regarding my practice areas. Twittering also gives you the opportunity to mold your image. Are your posts relevant to your practice area (I am preparing an appellate brief) ? Or are they primarily about your cat (Having a birthday party for Mr. Snuggles today) ?

Although the "tweets" are limited to 140 characters, they do give you the ability to post website links. I have noticed an increasing number of law firms who have used the service for press releases and other firm announcements. It is an easy way to drive traffic to your site. Tweets can also be private. You can tweet an associate with information. Some courts have even launched a twitter feed of news. As interesting as this service is, please remember that many eyes may read your posts. Consider ethics rules, client confidentiality and common sense. So you think you may want to twitter? You may want to consider joining tweetlaw.com TweetLaw is a Twitter application designed specifically for legal professionals. It ties right into your regular account. Released in late March, the service is quickly attracting legal professionals. It allows you to post a much more detailed profile of yourself than twitter allows. According to their press release "TweetLaw.com will allow Twitter users to network and follow attorneys, paralegals, legal librarians, court reporters, legal journalists and more. Many categories of users, such as attorneys, are broken down into specific areas of the law such as cyber law, family law and contract law. The user has the ability to read tweets by legal specialty, or read all legal tweets at once".

No comments: