I just shared on Twitter a story in the National Law Journal by Karen Sloan entitled ‘What is law school for anyway?’

As is my habit, I wanted to attribute the story to Sloan in my tweet. I also wanted to let Sloan know of my interest in the subject of the story and who I am. If I blog about Sloan’s story, I want to include her Twitter handle as well.

It only makes sense that reporters want to know who is amplifying their stories and who in the business has an interest in the subjects the reporter writes on. After all, they’d be good sources for future stories.

The best way for me to give Sloan the attribute and let her know I am out here is to list her Twitter handle in my tweet, ie, “What is law school for anyway? – @Karen Sloan.” The problem is that I couldn’t find a Twitter handle for sloan. Googled her. Checked in her LinkedIn profile. Nothing.

Many reporters at major publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian include their Twitter handle in their byline. The reporters know Twitter is a more effective means of engaging readers than email.

Think about the impact of a Tweet of mine which includes a legal reporter’s Twitter handle. The reporter is identified for 12,000 plus of my followers. Many of my followers will retweet what I shared with their trusted followers, again identifying the reporter. My Tweet will be indexed by Google and Twitter Search so that the reporters name can be identified in searches ad infinitum.

Forget the ego part as a a reporter. That’s not the point.

Having a Twitter handle is being polite to those who publish via social media like me. It also gets your name out there among readers and people in the know that you cover topics they’re interested in.

Reporting is two way today. Having a Twitter handle is needed to enable the two way engagement.

  • I agree wholeheartedly and had a similar conversation with a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He shared with me that his employer has a policy against reporters following attorneys, and does not want them to be followed by the attorneys either, so the reporters are discouraged from using Twitter professionally.