Twitter As A Listening Tool

Good day from Seattle. We’re continuing our legal blogging chapters in 45 chapters. We’re up to chapter 21 today.

On Friday, we talked about using Feedly as a listening tool for blogging. With listening being critically important today, we’re going to be talking about Twitter as a listening tool. The reason we’re talking about listening is because you can’t blog in a vacuum. You have to blog within the concept of being in a room. Find the influencers; engage in that conversation. They’re going to hear you, they’re going to see you, they’re going to cite you. And your influence is going to grow as a result, not only by virtue of people beginning to cite and share what you blog about (those are the influencers with the greatest following), but also because people that are doing research in your background are going to see you because they’re going to see that you’re cited by these people and that you’re a part of this conversation. It’s no different than if you were invited to a leading conference on a particular niche subject. Your potential clients could see that you spoke there by googling your name. It’s the same thing here. 

So, trying to blog by putting up eloquent content that demonstrates that you’re brilliant, and brilliance tends to be a commodity in professional fields. Just demonstrating your own brilliance is going down the highway, separate from where people are gathering. They’re gathering and listening in this room where the busy intersection is. Going around it is not going to get you as far as if you’re listening. 

So what is Twitter as a listening tool? Some people look at Twitter, and they just follow a bunch of people and they look at it as noise after a while. “Well, what can you really get out of Twitter? And really what they’re saying is “I don’t know how to use Twitter. I haven’t been able to figure it out.” That’s a better way of putting it than to say, “It doesn’t work because it’s just a river going by.” There’s no question; it’s a river of information going by. That’s how Twitter is. You’re going to see information go by as if you’re standing on the side of a stream. And you’re only going to get that information when you fish something out of the stream when you see it go by. So you have to make constructive use of Twitter as a listening tool, at least in my opinion for it to work. If the number of people you follow is relatively small, that might be one thing; if it’s a greater number, which it tends to be after a while, you’re going to find interesting things, you’re going to have to harness that information so that you can listen a little bit. I think there’s a couple of ways you can do so. One is by having a Twitter list. Twitter lists give you the ability to say “Okay, these are the people that I’m following that have a particular expertise. They have a particular following in a field. And so I’m going to create a list of those people.” It might also be people that you haven’t followed before, and you’re going to go out and create a list of new people. Now there was one night years ago, when I said, “Can I create a Twitter list of people that are covering the law as traditional reporters?” Two and a half or three hours later, I had a heck of a list of people from coast to coast of people that were using Twitter that I could put in a list, who were all journalists covering courtrooms. It was fascinating. I did that by googling “Journalist Twitter list”. I would find people who were journalists covering the law and see who they were following because then I can say “okay, those must be the good people. I’ll look at them and I’ll put them on a Twitter list.” 

Now, what does a Twitter list do for you?

These are Twitter lists that I have. Let’s go back to the list on a myriad of subjects that I’ve tested over the years. So, if I want to see who is tweeting in the African legal community, I can create an African legal list. Now why would anybody want to do that? Well, for me, it’s interesting, because there is an opportunity for LexBlog to expand business in Africa. Africa is a long way away, especially during a pandemic. I can follow people that are sharing information regarding legal technology, legal publishing, and all of those issues, which are of interest to me and my company. By sharing some of their information because I think some of what they’re sharing is interesting, I can make sure they see me sharing. They’re going to see me, and I’m going to meet them. I have another list marked “Bar and Legal Associations”. Why do I have that? Well, that’s so that I can build relationships with bar associations across the country. So if I go in and mark somebody to add them to a Twitter list, I can tweet what they’re sharing and build relationships with those bar associations. It’s the same thing for blogging. If you have a particular interest, let’s say in cannabis law, or marks in the apparel industry, I can then reference what they’re writing because they’re going to share oftentimes, what they’re writing or what they’re seeing me blogging. So, in this, where I’m aggregating information with my blog, I’m referencing something that I read, and I’ve cited this leading source. I provided my take, and so a good blog post, not just because of the information you shared with people, but more importantly, because you’ve now entered that busy intersection where the thought leaders are located. And if you weren’t using a listening device to see what they were saying, you never would see that and otherwise. So Twitter lists are very powerful and way underutilized; you just don’t hear people talking about them. I think the reason is, oftentimes, people are mostly concerned with how to broadcast my information out to people to make sure they hear it or how to get people to come and see them via search engine optimization or other tactics related things, and those are all fine. But it’s a different approach, when you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader by engaging other thought leaders. Twitter, in this case, gives a great way to do so. So, play around with lists. All you have to do to create a list is to look at people you might be following, and add a person to a list. I can just click a button and add the person to a list. And I can just click a list, up comes my list, and they’ll be in that list from that point on. And then what it allows me to do is just scroll down whenever I want to. 

So as a blogger, think of that Twitter list in two ways. One: you’re going to get information on which to blog, that you can reference the thought leaders on. You can build an audience of relationships, so that when you blog, they’re going to share the things that you share. What I mean by that is that if I’m sharing items from Twitter, and I’m giving an attribute, or I’m commenting on a retweet with a comment, so that they see me and I fall into favor with them, they might be more likely to share the items that I’m blogging about. By me sharing other people’s items on Twitter, not my things, but things that interested me, and that I thought other people with similar interests might have an interest in, I built a nice following. That way, when I’m blogging, I see a lot of other people share my post, because I have this goodwill built up, I have this social media equity built up. So you’re getting information to blog. But you’re also building an influencer network of people that are going to share your blog posts that are in turn going to grow your audience. 

The other thing to do is to set up an alert for certain people, you know, so if I was looking at Jason who writes on social justice issues and legal technology issues, and I set up an alert for Jason, there would be a little bell to set up an alert for all tweets that he puts out. And what’s going to happen is on Twitter, across the top, I’m going to see any tweets that come out from the people I have set up an alert for. So on here, you’re seeing the New York Times,

Jack Newton, John Meyer, certain people that I want to see. Now it doesn’t bother me to see those people on an ongoing basis. It’s just an alert. During the day on my screen, something is going to bubble up. I’m going to see it. And you can easily do that. And so what you’re doing there is just saying, “Okay, these might be the real movers and shakers on something that I particularly want to follow. So this is the same thing; you’re just pointing up in a different type of way.” 

The last way that you can do it is just to follow along with Twitter, on particular subjects, and try to get smarter as to what your interests might be. So I have a section that comes up occasionally as “The Law”. I don’t use it that much. So when I do a search and it comes up for “Legal”, I don’t use it that much because it tends to be very broad. So if I’m going to use anything, I’m going to use lists; I’m going to use lists to build relationships. I’m going to use lists to get information. The alerts do come up during the day because if somebody like Jack Newton shares something, it usually tends to be pretty interesting as far as what his thoughts might be on a particular subject. He might be doing an interview with somebody; it could be anything. The New York Times is going to keep me abreast of the news. I have an interest in social justice issues, so I’ve been following Equal Justice for a long time. I’ve been following the Marshall Project on legal rights in the law and social justice issues. So those things are of interest to me. So that’s how I use Twitter.If you don’t know how to do lists, just google “How do I set lists up?” up on YouTube? Do the same thing for alerts. If you don’t know how to use them, set that up. So that’s basically it. So you’ve got your news aggregator and Feedly for listening, and you’ve got Twitter, for listening.

That’s it for today, other than mentioning Blog4Good. The Blog4Good campaign continues to go on. As I mentioned, on Friday, it’s expanded. So it’s not just pandemic and social justice issues; it’s all topics. Members of those bar associations that are participating get a 20 by LexBlog, which is a professional turnkey blog solution that provides lawyers everything that they need to be successful. For blogging, it’s the same solution that I’m using, which we’re making improvements on during the course of this week. Those lawyers in participating bars get it for free. So they’re getting everything that LexBlog offers for free, no cost. 

For those lawyers that are not a part of participating Bar Association’s, we’re offering a 20 for $39 a month. And that’s less than you could be getting a business solution for blogging at WordPress. Why are we doing this? Because there’s never been a greater need for legal insight and commentary, and it should come from lawyers. It shouldn’t come just randomly.

Iit needs to come quickly. We’re not going to have people collect articles and gather them at bar associations. No matter how well-intentioned it is, you can’t get the volume of information that’s being published by blogging lawyers in this country. Working in that type of fashion, you can’t get the amount of information from lawyers in your state by reaching out to them and saying “we’d like information on this or that.” We’ve got a fire hose coming through from blogs, and we want to aggregate and curate that by state and by locale. And for those lawyers that are blogging on old platforms, we’ll get new platforms. For those lawyers that aren’t blogging, we’ll show them how to do so, so it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do something as simple as looking at information that your state is gathering and better organize it. You can be coming up with FAQs, and that’s a good blog post. What does this mean? A great blog post for the public can be two paragraphs long. It’s not writing a somewhat long story. B logging can be very easy. And the Blog4Good campaign, which lawyers and Bar Associations from coast to coast are participating in, is a great way to be able to help the public today, whether they’re consumers, corporations, in-house counsel, government agencies, or other lawyers. So we look forward to hearing from more and more lawyers like we are everyday right now. And we’ll continue the 45 chapters of Common Sense Legal Blogging tomorrow. Have a good day.