twitter makes you a better lawyerThe Washington Post’s Emma Brown (@emmersbrown), reports this morning that Twitter enables teachers to improve their craft. Twitter’s become a community of mentors offering inspiration, commiseration and classroom-tested lesson plans.

“Twitter essentially prepared me to go into my second year and not give up,” said [Jamie] Josephson, now in her third year at Woodrow Wilson High in Northwest Washington. “I never would have imagined that it would have been the place to find support.”

Josephson (known to fellow tweeters by her handle, (@dontworryteach) is one of a small but growing number of teachers who are delving into the world of hashtags and retweets, using Twitter to improve their craft by reaching beyond the boundaries of their schools to connect with colleagues across the country and around the world.

They say the camaraderie and free, instantaneous help they find through Twitter — and its steady stream of pithy messages, maximum 140 characters each — is far more useful than traditional school training programs, which often feature fixed agendas, airless rooms and canned speeches by hired experts.

“I always tell people the the most valuable 15 minutes I spend, in terms of my professional growth, is when I jump on Twitter at night and see what’s going on,” said Greg Kulowiec, a virtual colleague of Josephson’s who teaches in Plymouth, Mass.

I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see the same camaraderie, collaboration, and learning taking place among attorneys using Twitter.

Classifying Twitter as solely a social media tool for marketing is shortsighted. Twitter immediately connects you to relevant information and people. That’s a coup for lawyers looking to become better lawyers.

We’re always looking to learn via conferences and trade publications. That comes with time and expense. Not to dismiss face to face interaction and edited publications, but Twitter provides an immediate resource nearly 24 hours a day.

I’ve gone on Twitter and asked if anyone had a resource on this or that and received any number of responses within minutes. In addition, people following me on Twitter asked people following them for help in responding to my Twitter inquiries.

Practicing law, even in a large law firm, can be a lonely job. It’s nice to connect with other lawyers with similar interests, concerns, and rewards.

Twitter provides lawyers a lift similar to that which you get at bar and industry conferences. When you do attend such events, you’ll feel like you know as friends the lawyers you’ve been interacting with on Twitter. Relationships grow.

You’ll find on Twitter that the attorneys you’ll be interacting with will have similar interests — whether they be in the law, social, or in sports. The reason being is that the news, information, and commentary that you and others share on Twitter attracts like minded people.

In addition, attorneys are finding it only natural to follow fellow attorneys they want to get to know better. The twitter handles for attorneys are readily available at websites, LinkedIn, blogs, and Google+.

Don’t dismiss Twitter as only a business development tool. Don’t defer to marketing professionals when it comes to Twitter.

Twitter is a gift that keeps on giving when it comes to learning, camaraderie, and growing your network — all roads that lead to you being a better lawyer.