Sometimes, I see Twitter as an assembly line -- and on many days I see myself as Lucille Ball, hysterically falling ever further behind in an effort to keep pace with the extraordinary amount of material that comes churning through. Sometimes, Twitter reminds me of the synapses of the mind -- sparking connections that allow people to better comprehend and adapt to the world around them. Sometimes, especially during major sporting events or other breaking news, it reminds me of a pesky town crier. Sometimes it reminds me of high school. And sometimes it even reminds me of "The View." You can find wisdom and grace and propriety in those 140 characters. And you can find a whole lot of junk, too, oh ye of little faith.
I started Tweeting in February 2009. Ten thousand Tweets in 22 months averages out to 455 per month or roughly 15 each day -- approximately one for each waking hour. When I break it down like that, it feels like an obsession. And on some days, laden with news, it is. But I am a positive mute (a Twute?) when compared with some of my colleagues on the law or politics or media beats, the ones who churn out tens of thousands of Tweets each year. How they muster the energy and devotion to perpetually communicate with such relentlessness escapes me. Maybe for them Twitter draws out the longing of Tolkien's ring, or the Siren's song, or maybe, more plausibly, their bosses are simply pleased with and encourage the additional editorial output. For what is Twitter but an ever-ready sound-byte machine for pundits and politicians, correspondents and analysts, quacks and rubes alike?
Speaking of which, on some days, I'll send out 30 Tweets that I think offer value. On some days, it'll be five or six. That's my humble aim: adding as much value as I can muster to Twitter's scattered, virtual conversation, either by posting my own original work, by adding a comment to the work of others, or simply by passing along links that have touched me in one way or another. There is so much good work posted online these days -- so many thoughtful, earnest pieces by writers and journalists all over the world -- that it is sometimes hard to know when to stop re-Tweeting. And I only follow 50 or less. I can only imagine what the Twitter stream feels like to those who follow thousands. So many voices. So many views. So much cognitive dissonance. Lord, how does anyone ever hear any single prayer?
Because it's my beat, the vast majority of my messages have been about the law. I have Tweeted on breaking legal stories and national trends, on Supreme Court nominations and seminal decisions, on judicial scandals and interesting trials. I have Tweeted pure legal analysis about rulings and pure commentary about the politicization of the law (or the legalization of politics). My goal in these Tweets is to offer my gracious followers (or anyone else who cares to drop by) my honest opinions about the events of the day. That's my goal. But I do not accomplish it nearly as often as I would like. Sometimes I do not turn the other cheek. Sometimes I commit the sin of vanity. Sometimes the sin of pride. Sometimes I fall prey to the curse of insecurity and pettiness. As Matthew 7:5 put it: "Thou Hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." I don't know what a mote is but you get my point. Mea culpa.