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Is a Twitter Handle a 'Must-Have' for Today's Lawyer? Not Yet

Kevin O'Keefe kicked off an interesting discussion about Twitter this week in a post on his blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs. O'Keefe argued that "your identity of record for now is your Twitter handle," and gave numerous examples of how he uses people's Twitter handles to identify them in his own blog posts, give credit to authors and otherwise acknowledge them online. O'Keefe says that this is important to him because he is trying to build relationships with people, not just have a "one-way street" where he is doing only the talking or only the listening. 

O'Keefe specifically urged lawyers to "get your Twitter handle out there. It’s how I and many others will identify you when we want to cite you, on or off Twitter. It’s also how your target audience can get to know you and begin to trust you.... You’ve got to have one."

On the Futurelawyer blog, Richard Georges agreed with O'Keefe's post and took it even further:

If you aren't engaged, as a lawyer, with Social Media; especially Twitter and Google+, you are like a lawyer in 1980 without a telephone number. I am @rickgeorges on Twitter and +Richard Georges on Google+. Just as a GMail address is essential ([email protected]), engagement in Social Media makes you a part of the global discussion. It is how you get noticed on the Internet; but, more than that, it is how you become part of the coming revolution in communications. 

I am a fan of Twitter (@brucecarton), and I definitely agree with Kevin that it is important to have a Twitter handle if you want to be identified, acknowledged or engaged by others online. But I think the Futurelawyer post pushes the argument too far, as the benefit of a Twitter handle today is a far cry from the benefit of being a lawyer in the 1980s who can actually communicate by telephone with his or her actual clients, colleagues, courts, etc.  

Particularly with respect to the "big law firm" world that I used to work in and that I still interact with daily, I just don't believe that having (or not having) a Twitter handle really has much of an impact yet. It may be different in the world of the solo practitioner, which I'm not very familiar with, but I seriously doubt even the "best" individual lawyer-Twitterers from big law firms would suffer too much if they walked away from Twitter tomorrow.

And don't even get me started on Google+ as a supposed "must-have" presence for lawyers in 2013. I'm not buying that at all!

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 15, 2013 at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)


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