Time on my Hands

Today’s postal flurry is explained by my whereabouts, the Continental Airlines Presidents’ Lounge at Newark International Airport.  Take a six-hour layover between our flight from Boston and our flight to Milan (Continental cancelled our original afternoon flight, leaving us one Boston-Newark option), mix with free wi-fi and bucketloads of free crackers and cheese, add a virtual stack of unread articles and half-formed ideas, and this is the result.

Sobering Words

After graduating from Army Officer Candidate School Josh spent two weeks at home, assigned to a local recruitment office.  “Recruiting” did not require that he break a sweat, a nice break after six months of Basic Combat Training and OCS.  He left for Fort Gordon, GA yesterday.  He has six more months of training and then the Army will deploy him somewhere.

I’ve heard Josh recite the Soldier’s Creed with fellow graduates a few times.  With each hearing it hits me differently.   These words have stayed with me from the OCS ceremony:

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

Hearing your child utter these words is profoundly different emotionally than reading them on the page.

Touche

I was talking with my wife about our oldest son’s post-clerkship job search.  He has an offer from a firm and is pursuing an offer for another position that he would prefer.  The legal market is quite tough, to state the obvious, and we don’t want him to let the good offer he has slip through his fingers.  Judy said “I wish he listened more to our advice.”  I replied “I didn’t listen to my parents’ advice when I was that age–or to anyone’s advice.”  She looked straight at me and said “you still don’t.”

That explains a lot.

Twitter Me Not

The other day a former student sent me a message. More accurately, I received the message that “[name of student] wants to keep up with you on Twitter.”  I deleted it.  I have nothing against the smart, hard-working student who caused the message to be sent.  I have zero interest–I have negative interest–in keeping up with anyone or anyone keeping up with me on Twitter.   This is not my inner Luddite emerging.   No one I know and no one I want to know is so interesting that I care to consume their intermittant tweets.  This spring  I asked my Internet law students whether they used Twitter.  Perhaps a quarter raised their hands.  Most of them use it to keep up with news stories.  I get that, but see no value in adding 140-character Twitter snippets to the stream of email alerts, RSS feeds, and other info sources I receive now.  I understand why marketers embrace Twitter’s ability to connect them immediately to a dedicated and interested audience.  I understand why celebrities tweet to their fawning fans.  I do not see Twitter every being part of my communications arsenal.  I don’t see the there there.

I’m not alone.  I posted snarkily about Twitter’s mediocre retention rates–6 of every 10 new users stop using it after 30 days.  I read yesterday “the median number of messages a Twitter user sends–ever– is one.”  (emphasis original)  Ten percent of Twitter users send 90% of the messages.  The Harvard Business School study responsible for these findings concludes Twitter “resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.”  Twitter is great for consumer companies, politicians, celebrities, content providers, or others with something to sell.   It is not a revolutionary tool for communication by plain old folks.