Laurence Eastham surveys things, and recommends that members who are reluctant tweeters enter the Twitter age
Survey and More
The recent SCL survey of members has thrown up some interesting views, and looking at the responses has been rewarding. There is still time to contribute your views – you can click through to the survey from the SCL web site home page. The more responses we get the more soundly based decisions about the future will be so it is still worth taking time to complete the survey of just 18 questions.
One reason I am keen to see more responses is that the survey includes questions on the magazine and its future. If you care what you get within these pages, and indeed if you care about getting pages, you might like to add your views. We have, by way of example, been considering the continuing need for a printed magazine for many years. Ten years ago, I for one thought that we would have moved on from paper by now, even though I expected to shed tears when it went. But the reality is that printed works like the magazine are still much used and appreciated. Questions in the survey cover the appeal of apps allowing access to SCL content and the relative appeal of printed and electronic versions of articles.
Of course, we have now begun to produce an epub version of the magazine, albeit as an experiment to gauge interest. You can access the April/May and June/July issues in epub (members only) via the SCL web site. I would be delighted to get feedback from those who have accessed it and read the magazine using it (and indeed from tablet users who have found some barrier to using it). If you have yet to use it, note that the epub version includes 'bonus tracks' and is available at no charge to SCL members.
One message that does arise from the survey is that the appetite for articles on lawyers use of IT remains strong. I struggle to satisfy that appetite. Too many articles on such matters stem from suppliers and are thinly disguised adverts. I would encourage those who find new software or gadgets of use to their practice of the law to share their experiences in short articles. Please.
One small shock arising from the survey responses to date was the relatively low take-up of Twitter among SCL members. Only 1 respondent in 5 follows the SCL twitter feed (@computersandlaw) and half do not use Twitter at all. As one who long avoided Twitter because of its reputation as a source of celebrity trivia (what Jodie Marsh's cat had for breakfast) and malicious twaddle, I am now a convert insofar as I recognise that it is a brilliant source of news and views on serious matters too. That is provided that the selection of persons to follow is considered and limited. Richard Susskind sings Twitter's praises as a resource too. If you don't believe me, you might believe him.
It is somewhat frustrating to see that the majority of the followers of the SCL feed are not SCL members and I would encourage those SCL members who have not joined Twitter to do so. I have a painless suggestion for your first foray on Twitter. Bearing in mind that even respected experts on IT law, e-disclosure and IT in the law office can lapse into tweets that tell us what they think of the Olympics or even what their cat had for breakfast, you could just follow the SCL feed and your own firm's Twitter feed and leave it at that. SCL will retweet the things of real value to you as an IT law professional, and leave out the dross (no matter how intriguing and diverting), and you can thus enter the Twitter age without being overwhelmed by Twitter distraction.
What's that you say? Your firm doesn't have a Twitter feed? Oh dear.