Twitter is a hot-button subject for many of us. A survey of your circle of friends or colleagues will likely yield every kind of response from enthusiasm to disgust. Of the major social media platforms, Twitter seems to have the most ardent supporters and hardened detractors; while many monitor their feeds all day, others turn up their noses at the idea of understanding how Twitter works, perhaps because it has a language all its own.
What’s undeniable is that it has quickly become the go-to service for today’s most powerful and famous personalities and companies. In any given week, important news stories are broken on Twitter, a company will cause a ruckus with a poorly constructed tweet, or a celebrity feud will errupt in 140-character outbursts. We also commonly hear about the clout a certain person has given his or her number of followers, or we see a Twitter handle included next to an interview subject’s name on CNN. The platform’s prominence and its features are firmly embedded in our culture.
The subtext of this—what many of us remain unaware of—is how powerful and influential Twitter is for those who use it well. While using it might not directly generate business for lawyers, the proper application of Twitter in a professional manner allows frequent networking with potential contacts, staying in touch with current and former contacts, recruiting employees and clients, and establishing the professional brand needed to help you stand out in a crowd. Most of us can’t and shouldn’t spend all day on it, but moderate use, or in the very least having a basic understanding, is important nowadays, even from a professional standpoint, because it is the popular tool for shaping our national obsessions of connecting with others and promoting our personal brands.
And not to put too fine a point on it, the notion that you can skip the personal branding business may ultimately be counter-productive counter conformity. As Tony Tulathimutte wrote recently on newyorker.com, whether you like it or not, “you must collapse your personal and professional life into static, pixel-perfect unity. It’s not just that you have to field work emails at home or invite coworkers to your cocktail parties; it’s that your entire personal life now factors into your employability. Your livelihood increasingly depends on being likeable and well-documented, and just like a branded product, your basic worth is assessed by the WOW-ness of its image.”
As if this wasn’t quite enough already—and if you think we’re joking around—the editors of this publication are serious enough that you can now find TYL on Twitter, so you can connect with us and with other readers, or just express your disgust with the WOW-ness of it all.