Thursday, 30 May 2013

Brian Inkster on the State of Legal Tweeting

The verbally voluminous Brian inkster gives his view on the state of legal tweeting and other social media pursuits:
It is often tweeted these days, by those of us who have been there since the early days, that the fun has been taken out of Twitter. This does, at times, appear to be the case but let’s put it back when we can.
In late 2012 I was scolded for Inksters taking breaks from Twitter. Apparently Inksters “had undoubtedly been for some time a steward of the industry showing others how to do it”. However a 16 day episode of non-Tweeting “was ostensibly a dereliction of that Twitter client and industry duty”. On the contrary my view is that solicitors can and should take breaks from Twitter. My views are set out in two posts: Why lawyers can take breaks from Twitter and prior to that Tweeting less but meeting more.
As Veep tweeted on New Year’s Day:
Veep is correct in that there are too many people telling us how we should or should not tweet. Let people find their own way. As Charon QC says there are “no rules”. With that policy he notched up 100,000 Legal Tweets on 3 April 2012. To some social media Gurus he will have completely missed the ‘sweet spot’ of tweeting! 
There may, however, be an argument that a little guidance to the uninitiated might not go amiss and “no rules” could land some lawyers in trouble as indeed happened to @GeekLawyer. I blogged about this last January: Lawyers cannot hide on Twitter. 
Law firms, in particular, perhaps need a little nudge that being social on social media should involve at least some interaction and not just broadcasting or retweeting yourself/your other accounts or autotweeting tweets or the like. Having mentioned I had promised a follow up in 2012 to my 2011 post on Should lawyers have their own Sorry I didn’t get around to that in 2012 but perhaps I will manage it in 2013. I do have some thoughts to share. 
Law firms and lawyers are certainly at times receiving the wrong messages from marketers. One such marketer who compiles a monthly list of the top 100 lawyers to follow on Twitter had his top tweeter in July 2012 being a lawyer who had hardly tweeted in over two years: Top Lawyer to Follow has only tweeted three times in two and a half years! Despite my post that Top Lawyer to Follow has only fallen to Number 2 in the marketer’s December 2012 list! 
2012 saw a number of successful Twegals Tweetups (my preferred term to what is alternatively known as Tweeting Legals Tweetups). Linda Cheung and I hosted the #Lex2012Tweetup – The First Anniversary Twegals Tweetup in April and other well attended ones were organised by Shireen Smith, Jonathan Lea, Jon Harman and David Allison. This included a change in format as David Allison introduced the comedy Trial to proceedings. I mention the two ‘Trials’ in my post Charon QC’s UK law tour (in a jag rouge) and his impending trial and the second ‘Trial’ in Tweeting less but meeting more. Adding an extra dimension to Tweetups is also something that Michelle Rodger did in Glasgow in 2012 with #themeet140 (Tweetups for all Tweeps and not just Twegals). Her innovation was to introduce a chat show format (“Question Time meets Top Gear”) to the Tweetup with a social media related topic. I was on the panel of the first one in May: Social Media and Legal Action: themeet140 Debate. Perhaps this is a format we could see at a future Twegals Tweetup? 
And more:
I would like to think we will see less debate about Twitter and Lawyers in 2013 but unfortunately I reckon there will be even more. I will no doubt add to that here at The Time Blawg!   
Perhaps we will see more debate about lawyers using social media platforms other than Twitter: Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn or even Facebook anyone?   
I would also like to think that Lawyers will start to realise that social media is a networking tool and accept it for what it is rather than believing there are a mass of potential clients eager to follow or friend them (there may be a few).   
An acceptance that social media is not some magical answer to business development would also be nice. There are many other basics that most law firms need to sort out first (e.g. websites) before energy is expended on social media. 
Use by lawyers of social media tools designed to help them manage their social media presence will perhaps get more attention. I plan to blog about cubesocial in 2013.
 Read Brian's comments in full here.

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