I readily admit that I will never read Adrian Dayton’s ground-breaking, game-changing, paradigm-shifting book, “Social Media for Lawyers:Twitter Edition”. When I joined Twitter back in the summer of 2009, it really wasn’t difficult to open a Twitter account . In about the time it takes Scott Greenfield to write a blawg post, I quickly immersed myself in the 140 character Twitterverse. I don’t recall my first tweet, but it was probably embellished with an ornately rococo flourish like “I’m eating breakfast!”. The rest, as they say, is all a rich tapestry.
Perhaps there are some lawyers who just cannot grasp the most basic of user-friendly technologies, or they may have an unfortunate genetic abnormality such as a lack of opposable thumbs.
I’ve often wondered whether my cynicism regarding all this social media crap is simply a genetic predisposition, as one passive-aggressive, part-time “attorney” recently insinuated on Twitter:
@nikiblack: Explains a lot: RT @TheJuryExpert: Born miserable – some people genetically programmed to be negative http://bit.ly/eI1pZr
Could be. Life is a box of chocolates, not a Happy Meal. Or maybe life is suffering and unlike Mark W. Bennett, I am condemned to suffer fools gladly.
Rather than ask the inane question: Got Klout? Measuring Your Law Firm Social Media Efforts, thoughtful readers may be more interested in some more scientifically credible research on the “Power of Twitter (or lack thereof)”.
The bad news for Twitter trendsetters and social media gurus: tweeting and retweeting is fun but that’s pretty much it.
In a recent paper entitled, Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay, by Sitaram Asur, Bernardo A. Huberman and Gabor Szabo (of the Social Computing Lab at Hewlett Packard at Palo Alto) and Chunyan Wang (of Stanford University – Department of Applied Physics) the authors undertake an empirical study on the impact of real-time content and creation of Twitter trends. I would have called it the “Bieberization Effect” but I don’t want a bunch of 12 year old girls cyberbullying me to death. Here’s the abstract:
Social media generates a prodigious wealth of real-time content at an incessant rate. From all the content that people create and share, only a few topics manage to attract enough attention to rise to the top and become temporal trends which are displayed to users. The question of what factors cause the formation and persistence of trends is an important one that has not been answered yet. In this paper, we conduct an intensive study of trending topics on Twitter and provide a theoretical basis for the formation, persistence and decay of trends. We also demonstrate empirically how factors such as user activity and number of followers do not contribute strongly to trend creation and its propagation. In fact, we find that the resonance of the content with the users of the social network plays a major role in causing trends.
So who are the trendsetters with the highest “domination-ratio“? Who cares. It should come as no surprise that Twitter trends are created by the main stream media outlets with Twitter accounts propagating and regurgitating their own content to drive traffic to their paywall websites. The result is not surprising, but it reinforces the general view shared by lawyers who utilize critical thinking skills.
The authors conclude:
“When we considered the impact of the users of the network, we discovered that the number of followers and tweet-rate of users are not the attributes that cause trends. What proves to be more important in determining trends is the retweets by other users, which is more related to the content that is being shared than the attributes of the users. Furthermore, we found that the content that trended was largely news from traditional media sources, which are then amplified by repeated retweets on Twitter to generate trends.”
Please tweet this post and get me into the top 20 Trendsetters. Thank you for your consideration.