Monday, March 16, 2009

GeekLawyer's Blawg Review and Twitter

GeekLawyer has written the latest Blawg Review #203, which is a weekly roundup of what is being mentioned on the law blogs. GeekLawyer is an intellectual property lawyer so there is an emphasis on IP. There is also an enterprising use of out of copyright images to illustrate a bacchanalian theme to the review. You are warned.

GeekLawyer ruminates on Twitter. This social networking tool has the capacity to obsess its users without knowing why. But if you can pack a message into 140 characters, then it's for you. GeekLawyer can be followed at @geeklawyer.

Twitter is getting considerable adoption among the legal fraternities and sororities. For example, Dan Harris of China Law Blog now tweets; Charon QC of Insite Law Magazine is also on Twitter. I admit to tweeting for around a month now (@johnaflood) and love it. But why? Well, in part it's instant and it's one to many. Whereas IM is one to one, you know with Twitter it is public. And there are ways of targeting questions to audiences, for example. Whereas Facebook desperately tries to sell itself as a total lifestyle package, Twitter lets you get on with the business in hand--communication. You don't have to worry about how many "friends" you have.

The problem for most early Twitter users is: What is this for? Can it be monetized? What's its value? And so on. The best way to treat it is to use it and see what happens. Search out others and link to them and before you know it, you are engaged in a series of conversations both serious and stupid.

There's a huge array of Twitter tools now. (If you can't answer the why part, why on earth are people out there making these things?) For tweeting you can just go to twitter.com and tweet from within your browser, but a separate application like the free TweetDeck is better. With other tools you can combine twittering with blogging and the like. Richard Herring likes to use his iPhone to tweet on his tour. You can even now consolidate your social networking activities in one place with tools like OnePoke.com.

News organizations are tweeting--BBC and CNN as well as less formal commentators like Guido Fawkes. Both Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross have large twitter followings.

Law schools are now tweeting in addition to running their own blogs, eg. Harvard and Chicago. I'm not aware of any UK law schools using these yet. Mind you most UK law schools think having a website is cool! They may yet migrate into the 21st century.
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