Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can We Lawyers Just Shut Up About Twitter And Tweet?

I think I've read one too many blog posts about how to behave on twitter.

I read this one today on how to get "unfollowed."

Twitter is like a big cocktail party. There's different people, having different conversations, some more interesting than others, and some that cause people to run for the bar, or the door.

I tweet. I tweet about law, wine, Miami, current events, and whatever else comes up that may be interesting to me.

The newness of twitter has created an environment where everyone has an opinion as to how it should be used. I'm growing tired of it all.

As a lawyer, I am a member of several e-mail lists. I get e-mails that make my skin crawl, I see the same people that cannot understand how to "respond off line," I read personal stories that have no business on the list, yet I remain. I remain because overall, these lists provide good information, and allow for the back-and-forth that lawyers need to bounce information off each other.

I know that the lawyers on twitter are lawyers. I'm not really interested in a 24/7 tweetfest about law. I don't mind learning the personal side of these lawyers. Let's face it, most people think lawyers are a bunch of boring assholes that charge too much. We know (for the most part) that this is not the case.

I have no interest in what any lawyer is having for dinner, or that their kid won't sleep, or that their flight is delayed. But these "tweets" don't change or ruin my life.

I also don't care if someone disagrees with me. It amazes me that a lawyer, seemingly committed to the constitution, will "unfollow" someone because they have differing political views. I am connected with a serious right-wing conservative lawyer on twitter, and we have nice debates on our differing views. It's America, we're lawyers, it's shameful that a difference of opinion would cause us to "unfollow" each other. Are you truly a lawyer if you cannot take someone publically disagreeing with you and debating your beliefs?

I'm also tired of the preaching about what lawyers should do on twitter. It does not belong to us, or the marketers, the SEO people, or any other faction. Let's lose the arrogance and criticism of those who are just so beneath us. You want to tweet about law all day, go. Just go.

I have my own peeves on twitter. I've unfollowed one person, someone who couldn't take a joke and loudly unfollowed me. He's now realized I was kidding, so he's following me again, although with no apology for his ridiculous personal attacks.

Some people though, are trying to make twitter their own personal conversation. They spend more time trying to avoid the "noise," then they do participating in a good discussion.

Twitter is like an expressway. There's traffic. There's good drivers, and idiots. Some of the good drivers are sometimes idiots. Good drivers have accidents. Sometimes people pull their pants down and stick their ass out of the window. To some it's funny, to others, it destroys their moral well-being.

We all need to lighten up a bit.

So as lawyers, I ask that we just be tolerable. That we tweet about law, music, culture, family, dinner (but not too much) and whatever else makes us interesting.

Again, it's a cocktail party. If you don't like it, quietly grab your date and go have dinner. That's what professionals do.

Oh, and if this post offends you and you must unfollow, I'm MIAMICRIMLAW on twitter.

Have at it.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Harold Goldner said...

Brian, you read my mind.

Thanks for posting this.


David V. Lorenzo said...


Jonathan said...

"I have no interest in what any lawyer is having for dinner, or that their kid won't sleep, or that their flight is delayed. But these "tweets" don't change or ruin my life."

The same goes for status updates on Facebook....I DON'T CARE if you are doing the laundry.

These people who update this stuff all the time are sad people who have no life.