How to Use Twitter to Gain Practice Area Knowledge

Twitter is a great platform for sharing your thoughts, links to useful information and your own writing. It facilitates the opportunity to create and nurture relationships across a broad spectrum. It’s also a terrific tool for monitoring targeted practice areas in the legal profession and gaining valuable insight.

Follow

It starts with who you choose to follow. If you’re a family law attorney, follow other family law attorneys, related associations and legal and news accounts [See: How To Find Lawyers And Legal Professionals To Follow On Twitter]. Check out what they’re talking about and the links they’re sharing. Join the conversation. After you’ve amassed a number of follows, check the “Who to Follow” section in the left column on Twitter.com. More family law related suggestions will pop up since the recommendations are based on who you already follow. Check each potential follow since Twitter maddingly includes dated accounts. It’s not terribly useful following someone who hasn’t tweeted in two years. Go to your profile page and you’ll find a “Similar to Me” link, another good source to find family law related accounts to follow.

Lists

Of course you’ll also be following a wider swath of Twitterers. To avoid useful information from being drowned out in a noisy Twitter stream, create a list. Go to twitter.com/yourtwitterhandle/lists and click on “create list”. Add your family law related follows to the newly created “family law” list. You can also follow other curated lists by searching on Listorious for family law lists. Access the list via the pull-down menu on the Twitter toolbar across the top of the page. If you’re using third party clients like HootSuite or TweetDeck, create a column for the list and you’ll see activity from that list in real time.

Search

Using the search box on Twitter.com, run a search for “family law” or whatever narrower scope you wish to use. You’ll have the option to save the search on the results page. Along with your lists, this is a great place to start your Twitter experience every morning. Access your lists of saved searches by clicking in the search box. Like the lists feature above, third party clients allow for a separate column to house the search results.

#Hashtags

There are many conversations going on at any given moment on Twitter, including live-tweeting a webinar or conference (did you know that Twitter has a Live-tweeting Best Practices?) and #twitterchats. You can go to the hashtag wiki and perform a search, but I’ve found that a simple Twitter search is more effective. Search for #familylaw and save the search. As you come across other related hashtags, save them, especially Twitter chats as they tend to occur on a regular basis. So let’s say #familylawchat is a weekly Twitter session that you’re monitoring — you’ll be able to view the conversation stream and engage when it occurs.

Happy Tweeting (or is it Twittering?).

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