COMPLEX TECH: The Complex Litigator is giving Twitter a test-drive

TwitterThe Complex Litigator is giving Twitter a test-drive.  I have been examining the craze that is Twitter for many months.  Apparently, the world is divided into two camps: the Twitter-crazed and "What-the-heck-is-Twit-What-Huh?"  Both the Obama and Clinton campaigns used Twitter to interact with supporters.  In short, and in keeping with the concept of Twitter, Twitter is a tool for posting 140 character or less messages that anyone following your posts can read.  Now for the longer version...

What Twitter does is relatively simple to explain.  How you use Twitter is much harder to define, because of its flexibility:

Giving you a finite definition of Twitter is tricky. It’s use varies greatly, and depends a lot on the individual user. Technically, Twitter is considered a micro-blogging tool. It’s just like regular blogging, but with one significant rule change. After logging in, you are faced with the question “What are you doing?”, and just like a blog you can share exactly what you’re doing, feeling, thinking, reading - but all in less than 140 characters of entry space.

In terms of the options available for legal web marketing, Twitter - or micro-blogging tools generally - is the shortest method of discourse we’ve seen to date. If e-books & web-distribution of publications are at the longer discourse level, and regular blogs are sitting somewhere in the middle, then Twitter obviously at the far end (short-end?) of our continuum.

So what can you do in such a short space? Actually, quite a bit. Think: chat & discussion, link exchanges, debate, endorsement, or public critique. It’s a big dinner table conversation with peers that you get to choose. The format is also mobile friendly, which in my view, has had a substantial impact on the site’s growth.

(Steve Matthews, Lawyer Marketing with Twitter (May 5, 2008)  Because you can include links in a "Tweet" (Twitter post), and because lets you make short links out of giant links (like permalinks on blogs), you can include quite a bit of information in a Twitter post.

So what with The Complex Litigator do with Twitter?  For now, I will post links to new blog entries and, if anyone decides to follow me on Twitter (hsleviant), I may use Twitter to collect information.  You can actually subscribe to a Twitter "feed" with any RSS reader.

Of interest to lawyers is the fact that Twitter provides a new platform for (1) marketing, (2) collaborative communication with other lawyers, and (3) interaction with clients.  Lawyers using Twitter (effectively - what that means is still being discovered) have reported an increase in website traffic and resulting business.  Twitter is on the bleeding edge of technology-meets-marketing, and pioneering lawyers may stake prime territory in this new frontier.  Or they may end up dead next to a watering hole filled with poisonous toxins.  One or the other.

The over-arching question is whether Twitter can support its own success.  The infrastructure for handling the message traffic through Twitter is probably just short of crazy.  It has suffered a number of outages in recent months, probably due to traffic.  However, the success of Twitter is generating investment revenue for Twitter; the infusion of cash may help Twitter scale up to handle the load.  Of course, as Leo Laporte (tech industry pundit) recently noted, if Paris Hilton ever gets interested in Twitter, it will implode in a day, killing everyone in Silicon Valley (because hundreds of thousands of teens with text-capable phones will "follow" her and then realize they can chat on Twitter).

You can find me on Twitter as "hsleviant" (thecomplexlitigator was too long - Twitter is all about short).