In case you missed it, 2010 was the year of a work-life balance battle between lawyers who go to court and have offices with paperweights and desks (“real lawyers”) and those who tweet about social media all day while sitting in Starbucks and wearing flip flops (“fake lawyers”). To summarize, the fake lawyers have tried to educate real lawyers on how they could better balance the demands of client work and … oh, fuck it.
Big Legal Brain’s Social Media Action and Reconnaissance Team (SMART) recently crowdsourced our team on this issue. We answered the question: how can Starbucks lawyers better balance the tiring demands of tweeting about social media, attending conferences, and paying student loans? After using Join.me, Mikogo, and a weekly series of GoToMeetings, we came up with the following suggestions.
Make time to disconnect
If you are a fake Starbucks lawyer, real lawyers think that all of your time is downtime. But they don’t understand how stressful it is to be thought-leadering, game-changing, and optimizing around the clock. Devise a schedule. Reserve time for downloading apps, retweeting, and interacting with colleagues at TweetUps, but also save some time for yourself to disconnect and work on your personal Facebook page or catch up on Ping.fm suggestions. The more you can schedule time to disconnect, the better you’ll find a good work-life balance.
Put your tweets on auto-tweet
No, we didn’t make this up. If you have trouble finding time to update your followers with a 140-character status message, you can write your tweets ahead of time and post them later – automagically. Apps like Future Tweets or HootSuite allow you to engage authentically on Twitter while placing a coffee order or evangelizing a personal brand at a legal technology conference.
People in India work cheap (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Most have a firm enough command of the English language to fake it through a minimum of twenty-five tweets a day. Trust us, no one will notice. Services like Elance.com make it easy to locate a ghosttweeter in a third-world country who is more than qualified to comment on and/or retweet whatever nonsensical garbage is trending that day. As to ethical concerns of ghosttweeting, you could consult an ethics expert on this, but legal ethics generally does not apply on the internet.
Outsource your kids
Once you have a family photo, kids don’t do much for your personal brand. And once they reach that awkward pre-tween stage, they are usually no longer willing to pose for twitpics. They are essentially thankless timesucks. If you can’t afford a real babysitter, a virtual nanny is a more affordable option that will give you more time to spend accumulating new followers. And if you need new or updated family pictures, try iStockPhoto or photos.net.
Break your iPhone
“Sorry I was gone yesterday, but my iPhone broke,” is the best and most genuine excuse to take an unannounced break from Twitter. Not having an iPhone for a day or two may cause withdrawal symptoms, but the experience of being disconnected can be worth it, especially if you are medicated. Also, the loss provides plenty of material to whine about on Twitter when you get back online. There are many ways to break an iPhone, but dropping it in the toilet seems to be the easiest and most common option. While tweeting from the john, “accidentally” let the phone fall in. But don’t forget to flush.