Twitter has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent times. But amongst the endless selfies and aerial shots of food, past the worryingly casual misogyny of certain users, and beyond the timelines of trolls and Piers Morgan there is hope for Twitter and social media.
When someone enquired about how I got involved in one particular opportunity earlier this year I told them it all came about through someone I knew via Twitter. They chuckled, perfectly capturing the consensus that Twitter is no place for, in my case at least, an aspiring hot-shot lawyer. I don’t think that consensus could be any more wrong.
Read any career advice article and it will warn you of the dangers of your social media presence. Button down the hatches of your profile and ensure only the very select few can see your content. For the most part Twitter is the enemy and it will stop you from landing that job you’re chasing. I see Twitter however as a valuable tool in your career development.
It goes without saying that plastering your Twitter feed with nightclub photos (that pose you pulled suddenly doesn’t look quite as flattering as you first thought) or having spats with your ex (usually this will take the form on the social media phenomenon known as indirect tweeting) is not the best idea.
No matter what stage you are at in your career it is vital that you’re following the right people and organisations. This gets easier as time goes by and the more people that feature on your timeline. Twitter’s retweet feature is extremely powerful in allowing you to discover more people who tweet in your area of work. It is social media’s version of the snowball effect in a way.
Following is only half the story in most cases. It might give you a unique insight into a topic for example. Being proactive and interacting with the people you follow is just as important. This certainly doesn’t mean asking for a job or anything like that. It is about building a rapport. There’s no definitive guide to building up a rapport. It can vary depending on the person and the situation. In most cases it is about showing a genuine interest in what they tweet about. One of the best ways I found to create dialogue with people in the sports law sector is to ask questions. A lot of the people I follow write blogs, articles and posts on topics involving sports law. I always go out of my way to read these and then I try to ask the author some follow-up questions. Engagement is crucial but you need to have a genuine interest in your area of work. Tweeting a few well known scholars a message of well done isn’t going to get you very far. If you do get talking to someone and they ask about your plans casually mention what you are looking for but never expressly ask.
Getting involved in the community is a great way of not only meeting others in your industry but also expanding your knowledge. The sports law community on Twitter is a fantastic one because it spans right across the world. Perhaps one of the most useful community initiatives is the fortnightly sports law chat that is held on Twitter. Hosted by Claire Zovko the sports law community comes together to discuss important issues using the hashtag #SLChat. Getting involved in this initiative has led me to meeting individuals as far as America, Australia and almost everything in between. It’s also a great outlet to put across your opinions on issues while also learning a lot about the legal problems that plague other sports throughout the world.
As I have mentioned before, the sports law community is extremely supportive and enthusiastic. Take advantage of it.