21 Today

April 28, 2010

You can now be an SCL follower on Twitter. To be honest, it has taken off like an Easyjet flight in mid-April – we are not exactly rivalling a Maharishi, besieged with followers, and Ashton Kutcher is showing no signs of nerves. To be even more honest, we wouldn’t even have 21 if I hadn’t just registered.

No doubt though, the 21 followers we have as I write this are likely to be of the highest possible quality. You can join this elite group by simply registering to follow on the web site. I am hoping that the group won’t stay an elite for long and that numbers will swell enormously.

At present, the Twitter feed is an automatic feed which records the posting of new items on to the site. There is something strange about the fact that I am posting this particular item and then seeing its summary and link on our Twitter feed but I cannot quite put my finger on it. So, if you want an immediate alert, sign up. You will not get my account of what I had for breakfast (which would {i}normally{/i} be boring but is {i}fascinating{/i} today as we are out of any cereal that I like so I had buttered fruit teacake and a left-over doughnut – and I am ringing the paramedics shortly). Nor will you get my reflections on bigots and whether you {i}have{/i} to be one in order to be a Prime Minister.

But after some discussion at an SCL Media Board meeting this week, and musing on the {reflections on wider issues from Simon Deane-Johns: http://sdj-pragmatist.blogspot.com/2010/04/will-social-media-save-old-media.html}, I have become convinced that there is a place for Twitter in communicating developments that are not worth a web site news item. I am thinking of things like ‘There is a new EDPS Opinion on the proposal for a Council Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:101:0001:0005:EN:PDF’, which is not really interesting enough to justify a news item but which may be interesting to some SCL members, or ‘Interesting blog post on Twitter for law firms here: http://www.stemlegal.com/strategyblog/2010/twitter-for-law-firms/’. Although maybe tiny urls might help!

I don’t entirely rule out further breakfast news but there are enough shareable snippets on IT law and technology to make such bulletins very infrequent. If I am tempted by the mouldy cambozola, I might share.

Is Twitter for you? While I share the view expressed by one member of the Media Board that it is a passing fad, the tricky question is whether it is a passing fad like the SpaceHopper or a passing fad like human civilisation. The safe bet is somewhere in between, but it is worth a whirl. If your major current problem is an excess of information then your flirtation with Twitter may be short-lived – it is yet another way to spend a lot of time learning about things you did not really need to know and many tweets focus on trivialities that make my teacake seem important. You will certainly need to be disciplined when determining who to follow. If you are not already a Twitter follower, it is probably wise to try that before trying to attract followers. If you are going to commit to at least trying to tweet, I commend much of the advice given by Jordan Furlong in the post I mention above. If a few tweets impress only a handful of potential clients, and it really will be only a handful, that can still make a difference and make the effort worthwhile.