Like Utah’s federal court opinion explaining Facebook, I will begin by explaining what Twitter is. Twitter is “an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called ‘tweets’. Registered users can read and post tweets, but those who are unregistered can only read them.” People use Twitter for different things. They use it to communicate and keep in touch with others. They use it to keep up with breaking news. They use it to promote their businesses. And, unfortunately, people use it to ruin their careers.
There are many reasons that lawyers should be on Twitter, but the main reason is that it is a great news filter. If you still only get the news from the morning paper, you will likely be the last to find out about almost every important event. Twitter allows news outlets such as The New York Times (@NYTimes) and CNN (@CNN) to break news literally the second it happens and to send the news directly to people’s phones instantaneously. No paper or TV necessary. The Twitter user has the opportunity to select which news outlets he or she wants to follow, and you can even follow your favorite individual journalists. If you lean to the left, and you only want to follow left-leaning news outlets, you can. If you lean to the right, and you only want to follow right-leaning news outlets, you can. Or, if you want to follow the opposite side to get your blood pressure going, you can do that too!
For lawyers, the best thing about Twitter as a news feed is that you can keep up to date on developments all over the country, and all over the world, as they happen. Judicial opinions and jury verdicts neglected by mainstream news agencies will be covered by legal news outlets such as Law360 (@Law360). Other lawyers are also great sources of information. Lawyers from around the country share information and commentary that you would miss if you were not on Twitter.
The best part about Twitter as a news outlet is that Twitter forces the person tweeting to limit the tweet to 144 characters. So, instead of having to read a long, drawn out article on a subject, you can get the gist of a story in a matter of seconds. You can then dig deeper if you want to, but the short tweet at least makes you quickly aware of the story or issue.
We also promised a list of who you should be following. The following is a nonexclusive list of who we think you should be following, but there are other lists out there such as this one and this one. Without further ado, we recommend the following accounts.
Above the Law (@ATLBlog)
Lowering the Bar (@LoweringTheBar)
Gallivan, White, & Boyd, P.A. (@GWBLawFirm)
Jim Dedman (@JimDedman)
Jeena Cho (@Jeena_Cho)
Stacy Linn Moon (@StacyMoon02)
Kyle White (@Kyle_J_White)
Nick Farr (@NAFarr)
Judge Dillard (@JudgeDillard)
John E. Cuttino (@SCLitigator)
Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly)
Gray Culbreath (@GrayCulbreath)
Marc Williams (@MarcWVA)
Walter Olson (@WalterOlson)
Ron Tate (@SCCounsel)
Stuart Mauney (@StuartMauney)
This list is in no particular order and is by no means complete, but it is a good start!