By Kevin O'Keefe

Do you have an obligation to serve on Twitter?

Twitter to serve by lawyersNineteen people started following me on Twitter in the last day. Crazy, but almost 17,000 people and organizations now receive my Tweets.

I am not saying this to impress you. Walking from the ferry into the office this morning it dawned on me that I have an obligation to serve these folks.

Not an obligation to serve like going to the peace corps or anything, but more like the obligation a radio show host would have to their audience. They’re listening each morning or evening so you better bring something of value, or at least enjoyable. Otherwise you’ll have no listeners tomorrow.

In my case, it means going through my RSS feeds feeding me news, insight, and commentary from sources (blogs and mainstream media) and subjects (terms/phrases/companies) monitored from Google News. Doing this a couple times a day, I’ll share what I think my audience would find interesting or helpful. I also add a thing or two from sports, my family, my travels and my friends.

Serving my followers also means being there to engage them when they engage me. I get questions, comments, and critique in response to my Tweets. If I were not there listening and responding in a real and authentic fashion, I’d feel a bit like a fraud.

Serving my followers finally means giving them a few attagirls or attaboys along the way. I give folks kudos for a job well done, spread items they believe important by sharing a blog post or article, and a retweet a few things. Everyone loves a little love – even lawyers.

What does having Twitter followers mean for you? If you’re like some lawyers and law firms, you’re looking at Twitter as way to broadcast information about yourself or your content at your followers.

The problem with that approach is that no one is really listening. Heck in some law firms, they have more employees than they have Twitter followers.

Some folks Tweet and run, or even have others Tweet for them. The problem with that approach is that you’re not engaging your audience when they engage you. You’re not holding up your end of the bargain on Twitter – the service to your audience part.

If having Twitter followers for you means having the opportunity to share news, insight, and commentary from others, particularly on a niche subject, and being around to engage followers, you’re serving your audience.

In return for serving your audience you’ll grow your network of relationships and your reputation. A nice win/win for you and your Twitter audience.

Do you see having Twitter followers has bringing with it an obligation to serve?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Renee Johnson.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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