By Nerino Petro at 8 April, 2009, 11:55 am
Twitter has been described as micro blogging and now by my friend Jim Calloway as Megatexting in his recent article Twitter: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Jim's article is a counterpoint to one from the Oklahoma Bar Association' Web Services Coordinator Morgan Estes titled The OBA’s on Twitter! which combined form To Tweet, or Not To Tweet? There are those that believe that Twitter is a fad and will soon pass, but Twitter has been around since 2006 and continues to grow in popularity. Granted it has no income producing model, but with a rumored alliance/purchase with Google, they must be doing something right.
The articles by Jim and Morgan point out many of the strengths and weaknesses of this method of communication and as with many new technologies, a whole new vocabulary has sprung up for its users. For example, when you send a message to Twitter it's called a Tweet. Someone who baits another Twitter user into a response is a Twoll. The world of Twitter is the Twittersphere or Twitterverse. Twitter quickly can become addictive if you're not careful and you end up being a Twitterholic.There are actually two Twitter dictionary's out there to help understand theTwicabulary of Twitter: twictionary and twittonary. You may also want to check out Twitterspeak: 66 Twitter Terms You Don't Need to Know on Mashable.com.
How you use Twitter is up to you: some folks Tweet about everything they are doing (I know, I know surely a case of TMI[run a Google search if you don't know what TMI means]) while otehrs only post when they believe there is something relevant like a great utility, article or something of interest. However, as Jim points out ,there are things to be cocerned about as well:
At the Twitter panel at ABA TECHSHOW someone asked about security. In my view, the only safe way for a lawyer to operate is to assume there is none and you are Tweeting to the front page of your newspaper or Website. Sure, you can use DM’s (direct messages) or lock down who can follow you. But there’s no guarantee someone won’t RT (Retweet) your message on to others because that’s part of the Twitter culture. And in fact, being RT’d is how others learn of you and start following you. Anyone can visit your Twitter profile page whether they follow you or not. (e.g. http://twitter.com/jimcalloway.)
Do to its very nature, Twitter is not a private communication medium and you can easily find yourself having the equivalent experience of appearing on the front page of the newspaper as Jim explains happened to two Tweeters:
But what about the ugly? Well, here’s a cautionary tale on how Twitter can get you fired in 140 characters or less.And then here’s one about insulting the firm’s biggest client.
You can follow me on Twitter @nerinopetro or visit my Twitter profile page here.