Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Twitter Can Help You Avoid Information Overload.

The progress of technology seems to be rapidly accelerating, with new options for accessing information frequently becoming available. With print resources, emails, RSS feeds, listservs, Facebook, and Twitter all to choose from, it can be overwhelming. Information overload can lead to passivity and indecisiveness about which information sources to pursue. I recall when I was a law student, I regularly processed so much new legal information in my studies that the idea of "keeping up" with current legal developments that weren't directly tied to academic pursuits sometimes seemed unrealistic.

Twitter can help! With a bit of time and care to pick some of the best key sources, your Twitter feed can be tailored to provide you with a quick way of keeping up to date with important legal information.

I have only recently come around to using Twitter. If you haven't gotten on board yourself, I encourage you to give it a try. Here are some reasons I've recently signed on for Twitter:

1. The information is already vetted - The best thing about Twitter is that other users are doing the work of considering the source before they tweet it to you. It's crowdsourcing at its best.

2. No more overload - Scrolling through a Twitter feed is a little like browsing newspaper headlines. The maximum character allowance is only 140, which is enough space to share a link to something interesting with brief commentary, but not so much that you don't have time to take note at all. If something is compelling, you can read further.

3. There is networking potential - You can share bits of information with others in your field and respond to things you find interesting and useful. It's a large open forum that allows you to expand your professional network. You may never meet them in person, but you can keep abreast of what they're doing.  

4. There is more of a conversation on Twitter than you might think! Twitter feeds are very up to date, and any current event is bound to light up the feed with discussion. For example, when the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, Twitter was rife with commentary. It can be very interesting to see real time interactions to current issues in your feed.

Below are a few of my favorite legal information Twitter accounts. For those of you who have been tweeting for a while, what other legal information Twitter accounts do you enjoy following? (A blog devoted to comprehensively covering the Supreme Court of the United States.) (Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times.) (NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent) (Legal Information Institute (LII): making your laws available online, for free, since 1992.) (Main Justice covers insider news about the U.S. Department of Justice.)

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