Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

To Tweet or Not to Tweet; It's Not Shakespeare

Matthew Stiegler is an experienced appellate lawyer, but what's more important is that he is on Twitter.

That may be a misstatement of his career accomplishments. However, he probably knows more about using Twitter than the average appellate practitioner.

More than 1,093 followers can't be wrong, unless of course you take his advice. He says you probably don't want to be on Twitter.

Good News, Bad News

Stiegler said he started a Twitter account the day his blog crashed. In the past 14 months, he has learned that it can be a god-send in a crisis or a descent into social media hell.

"Twitter can be useful, and it can also be god-awful," he said on his blog site. The good news, he says, is:

  • It's good for breaking news
  • It's a decent way to expand your professional network
  • It's a way to participate in conversations you care about

There are other good things, but then there is the bad news. He says:

  • It's an addictive-by-design time suck
  • It probably won't get you one single case
  • It's an easy way to say something "spectacularly stupid"

For those who live by the billable hour, "time suck" is two four-letter words.

Twitter and Cocaine

Although Stiegler says Twitter is "absolutely not necessary for your career" and "could well hurt more than it helps," he apparently is addicted.

"Twitter is how I imagine cocaine: exhilarating at times, and an effective dopamine jolt, but in the long run, the more you try to get from it, the more it sucks from you," he writes.

Casey Sullivan, writing for FindLaw, says lawyers need a strategy for using social media. Twitter is like a "constant conversation," and you can jump in any time.

But before starting a Twitter account, make sure you have something to say. With 280 characters per tweet, it won't be much.

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