Tuesday, 11 October 2011

"Top" legal tweeters...oh dear.

Oh dear.

Oh dear, oh dear.

Last Friday I did a blogpost for The Lawyer on the difficulties of identifying the top legal tweeters. You can read it here.

It was not intended to be taken too seriously. It was a personal view by a single blogger. After a paragraph explaining why follower counts are not important, I mention nine tweeters with relatively high follower counts and show what a diverse bunch they are.

Nowhere did I say these were the top nine. That is why I did not tabulate them. It wasn't intended to be a chart of any kind.

And once I showed the diversity of the nine I selected, I moved on to other "top" tweeters with far lower follower counts, and gave up on the follower count criterion completely.

There was one glaring omission (my own account) which really should have implied to anyone with an interest in legal tweeting (and a sense of humour) that my selection of nine was not complete.

So altogether: it was not meant not to be taken too seriously, it was not scientific, and it did not purport to be comprehensive. It was - I thought - a playful and partly ironic post by someone with a high follower count trying to show why there really is no good way to rank legal tweeters.

And it certainly was not on "behalf of" The Lawyer.


Oh dear...

At least one blogger has taken exception to my exercise - see here.

I am criticised in that post for things I did not do and did not intend to do.

Furthermore that post - wrongly - says my thing was on behalf of The Lawyer, instead of it just being a blogpost by a blogger. I am even criticised - by implication - for not placing myself on top of the (non-existent) table! (That I didn't should have been a hint that the post was not to be taken too seriously...)

So there we are - my response to a critical post.

But the fact remains: my post was merely a personal attempt to show why lists of tweeters by follower counts have limitations, even if they are revealing, and by missing my own account out I was hoping to show that it was not a terribly earnest exercise of any kind.

Never mind.

I am sorry to anyone who felt they should have been listed in my post (I understand some are upset), and please be assured I am hoping to write about more legal bloggers and tweeters soon.

And, oh dear.


Ibrahim Hasan said...

David when you do blog about others a mention for mine would be good as it is one of the only blog which is a podcast on freedom of information (

Fiona Hanley said...

Hahahahaha lads it's only Twitter.

jezhop said...

Nice post, David. The only criticism I have is that you only say "oh dear" five times, when a scenario which creates the need for such a post really warrants so many more. Really. Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear ....

Oh. By the way, if you could mention me in your next top bloggers/tweeters piece for all of the following reasonzzzzzzzzz....

Original Mama K said...

Such a lawyer (takes one to know one!), of all the things you take offence at, it's that you were not blogging on behalf of The Lawyer. Twitter Wars!

Jules said...

> Nowhere did I say these were the top nine.

Not in as many words, but you did say this: "And a look at the current leading UK individual legal tweeters – the nine or so with more than 3,500 followers – reveals a rather interesting diversity... "
I can certainly see how people got that impression.

Titling the post "The UK’s Top Legal Tweeters" (whoever did that), will not have helped, either.

Simon Cooke said...

Some of us are SO much better at criticising you!

Brian Inkster said...

You seem to make two main points David:-

1. Nowhere did I say these were the top nine

Hmm… Nowhere did you say that there may be others (not mentioned by you) that had as many followers as the 9 you listed. The headline was ‘The UK’s Top Legal Tweeters in October 2011’ although I note that since my post was published The Lawyer has edited this to ‘The UK’s Top Legal Tweeters in October 2011: A personal view’! You also refer to “a look at the current leading UK individual legal tweeters – the nine or so with more than 3,500 followers”. You then go on to say “The UK legal tweeters currently with the most followers turn out to be a mixed bunch”. You do not qualify this in any way. Looks very much like a reference to a top 9 to me.

You say: “There was one glaring omission (my own account) which really should have implied to anyone with an interest in legal tweeting (and a sense of humour) that my selection of nine was not complete.” Perhaps it would have implied the tenth in ten. However, most readers of The Lawyer are probably not even on Twitter and would not have known that you had a high follower count. This would have been lost on them as would the fact that other individual lawyers may have existed who also had follower counts in excess of the 3,500 figure that you decided to draw your analysis from. This is where your article was particularly misleading (i.e. to readers who are novices or know little or nothing about Twitter). Those in the know would on the whole have simply dismissed the article as being erroneous.

2. Your article was not written on behalf of the Lawyer

I understand that it was your first article as “media correspondent of The Lawyer”. This title is given to you in the credits and appears in your Twitter Bio. Surely that means you are writing for The Lawyer! To suggest otherwise appears bizarre.

The person who really should be saying “oh dear. oh dear” is Editor of The Lawyer, Catrin Griffiths, as she sees The Lawyer put its foot in it yet again with a ‘Top Legal’ Twitter article. Perhaps she has already, given that the headline to the article was hastily amended to “a personal view”. Is this The Lawyer distancing itself from the article I wonder.

Jack of Kent said...


I stand by my post.

Jimmy Mac said...

chuckle. I love lawyers. Actually I'm jealous of the linguistic skills and the ability to debate with such fever. Referencing cases, and evidence not just grasping at populist nonsense. It's great.

I'm a statistician and not sure how I stumbled upon this blog but I enjoy stopping by once in a while. The following extract is what you should concentrate on: or indeed anyone with an interest in the law, who wants to take the time to explain the law and legal matters with expertise and clarity, Twitter offers a means to not only become popular but also a way to promote the public understanding of law.
Good work JoK et al