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Bar News - December 13, 2013

Book Review: Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers, By Jared Correia


American Bar Association (2012)

This book is part of a series published by the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section. (iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers... You get the idea.) So, this book’s aim is to guide lawyers in the wise use of 21st century social media and technology.

As promised in the title, Massachusetts attorney Jared Correia explains in fine detail the mechanics of exactly how to create and use a Twitter account. Based on his own extensive experience, he describes the best practices about user names, biographies, photo avatars, security, and the general set-up.

Of course, what happens after that “one hour” in the title is where things get interesting. From the first chapter, reading Correia’s breezy but comprehensive style, filled with illustrations and examples, I had no doubt that he would thoroughly explain the “who, what, when and where” of Twitter. My concern was whether he could tackle the “why?” And he did.

Correia does not present Twitter as a shiny new toy, with his book as an enthusiastic owner’s manual. Instead, he is a lawyer writing for lawyers, so he digs into the advantages and concerns surrounding this communication tool invented only seven years ago.

The essential use of Twitter, as a quick public broadcasting service, is the same as a megaphone – you can tell your thoughts to crowds, and listen as others do so. When used properly in a business-like manner, Twitter can lead to professional collaboration, to client referrals, to a network of opportunities. Or to disaster.

Correia explains how Twitter can be a marketing tool, but he also goes into some depth about measuring effectiveness and cost. He discusses in detail how to engage other Twitter users, both directly and indirectly, and the reasons for doing so. He even explains how to avoid constant interruptions from incoming messages and the value of sending out tweets on a regular schedule. Like all lawyers, the author has a healthy wariness about the dangers of seemingly off-the-cuff communication. He devotes the last part of the book to concerns about ethics, confidentiality, privacy and security.

For such a simple procedure – input 140 characters, hit SEND – Twitter has a complex flow of information and reactions. Correia explains not only the meanings of tweets, retweets, favorites, following, lists, etc., etc., he also explains how each action might be used by a lawyer seeking fame and fortune. Far beyond the simple mechanics of how to do these things on a smartphone keypad, Correia provides a primer on how to win friends and influence people, how to build a circle of confidants who you trust and who trust you in return.

In short, Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers reminds lawyers why they should seek out and provide counsel to each other, how to do so effectively, and the professional advantages of having such a network. Correia explains how to do all this with a novel communication system that is increasingly popular with the next generation of decision-makers. Such a network may even survive the future time when Twitter itself is abandoned in favor of the next big thing.

Martin Jenkins

Martin Jenkins has been an attorney in New Hampshire for 35 years. He has served as an assistant NH attorney general and as president of the NH Association for Justice. Currently, he is legal counsel for the NH Department of Labor.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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