Everywhere you look, well-known members of the blawgisphere (lawyers who have weblogs) are all atwitter, chirping excitedly about Twitter — the free web-based application that let’s you answer, in 140 characters or less, the ultimate question of the new millennium “What are you doing?“, and to monitor the answers of lots of “followers” or “followees” with common interests. [E.g., Monica Bay, Bob Ambrogi, Nicole Black, Kevin O'Keefe, Walter Olson; and see "Lawyers Flocking to Twitter for Marketing," Lawyers USA (Nov. 7, 2008, where the distracted Justin Rebello says you get "140 words."]
At risk of being called a twit (or a thwowback), the f/k/a Gang is pre-emptively opting out. This shouldn’t be a surprise coming from a Proud Podcaste Pariah. We can’t help but think that the traditional definition of twitter nails it (American Heritage Dictionary):
twitter: n. The light chirping sound made by certain birds. b. A similar sound, especially light, tremulous speech or laughter. 2. Agitation or excitement; flutter.
Things might have improved a bit (or at least gotten a patina of adult and professional participation) since Time Magazine told us last year that “more often than not” Twitter’s members “are simply killing time.” But, we’ve seen how often fellow blawgers jump on new technologies and crazes that end up creating an unmanageable and unjustifiable torrent of information and distraction. So, I’m going to keep in mind Time‘s admonition:
“. . . I know, it’s totally silly and shallow, but that’s precisely why Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app.”
If you think that constant marketing or attracting blawg visitors is at the core of your law practice (or your cyber-business), joining the Twitter revolution might make sense, as you follow dozens, scores, or maybe hundreds of other Tweeters throughout the day or hope they follow you. But, I sure hope you’re not my lawyer (or my employee), adding yet another wave of cyber-distractions to your workday, instead of focusing on efficiently providing quality services. For us, maintaining multiple levels of unessential multitasking is not a virtue.
Granted, the f/k/a Gang is not part of the gotta-be-constantly-in-touch generation, nor among the first-wavers clamoring to jump on every new techno- or cybercraze. That might be because the Editor is only 13 months from his 60th birthday. That needn’t be a bad thing. When it comes to prioritizing one’s time or activities, getting older might actually mean getting wiser. It has hopefully meant acquiring enough self-awareness to know a time-sink when I see one.
Of course, it also means that I can only speak for myself. Please don’t let this grumpy apologia stop you from Twittering to your heart’s content. Just don’t expect Prof. Yabut or myself to be waiting for your next Tweet.
update (Nov. 16, 2008): In our comment section, you will find some rather defensive reactions to this little piece of fluff, especially by Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog. Click to see his similar weblog response to this post. If you don’t want Kevin to hurl his poison pixels at you, don’t gore his pet oxen or cash cows — not even with rubber spears. [Kevin says he's "sorry" in a new Comment left Monday morning, Nov. 17, thanks in great part to Scott Greenfield's efforts to keep the issues in perspective; see the next paragraph. However, Kevin has refused to amend his post, telling me in a comment at Simple Justice to "grow up" and stop worrying about "ruffled feathers."] For a more balanced response from a Twitter fan, see blawger Susan Cartier Liebel’s comment below.
As often happens, Scott Greenfield sees through all the Twitter glitter, with wry, balanced insights about his experience using the Killer App. as a lawyer. See “The Great Twitter Wars Begin,” Simple Justice, Nov. 16, 2008). Go read every word of the post (including many Comments from lawyers telling their experiences with Twitter), which concludes, “But I don’t begrudge those who are clearly enjoying it, finding it useful and beneficial and chose to spend their day tweeting away. Tweet on, Garth.” As for himself, Scott says:
“I expect to tweet again, but only when I have absolutely nothing better to do and too much time on my hands. No matter how sweet the marketing pitch is made, whether by Kevin or any of the other fans of twitter, it’s just not that useful, and to establish one’s twitter bones requires that one spend an awful lot of time tweeting, even if you have nothing to tweet about or no one cares to tweet you back.”
afterwords (Jan. 4, 2008): Well, now I know why Kevin O’Keefe was so upset with me for failing to bow at the Twitter Altar. I sure hope lawyers don’t discount their hourly billing for time spent on LexTweet.
Bob Ambrogi [who writes a summary of the controversy started by this posting, here] says “The difference between Twitter and a blog is akin to the difference between a haiku and a ballad.” That’s a good enough excuse to get off our Twitter Tirade and move to the haiku portion of this posting. For us, of course, haiku is an extracurricular activity, meant to be taken in small quantities of high quality, at our own pace and on our own schedule.
two chickadees . . .
playing hooky –
the village square
dessert menu –
watching the carp school
spring jacket —
a haiku fragment
I summarize my life
for a stranger
waiting for you
the restaurant noren
parts in the breeze
her garden blooms
with flowers whose names
she no longer recalls
… photo haiga: by dagosan …