More than 1,300 followers of Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) see a daily stream of photos, personal factoids, political commentary, legal news, sports trash talk and miscellaneous links. Willett also frequently interacts with other “Tweeps,” or Twitter “peeps.”
Willett shared his top advice about Twitter in a direct message (DM) to Texas Lawyer reporter Angela Morris (@AMorrisReports): “Key: follow interesting people & have a purpose. For me it’s mainly a political comm medium 2 stay connected, a byproduct of elected judges.”
Although some other justices have profiles, none come close to Willett’s activity on Twitter. For example, from Jan. 21 to 27, Willett published 75 posts: 20 interactions with Tweeps, 17 political comments, 13 personal notes, 12 legal-oriented posts, six sports comments — his alma mater, Baylor University, is a popular topic — and seven miscellaneous links.
Many of Willett’s posts reveal his sense of humor.
For example, on Jan. 22, Willett responded to another Twitter user in a modified tweet (MT). Willett wrote:
“I favor trap doors. MT ‘@appealsattorney: Wish TX appellate arguments were more like X Factor w/ judges voting w/ giant Xs after you argue.’”
Willett frequently shares tidbits from his personal life. Many of his tweets during the week in late January discussed his trip to Las Vegas to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday.
Texas Lawyer sent questions to Willett through DMs on Twitter and he agreed to limit his answers to 140 characters. Should we call it a Tweeterview?
@AMorrisReports: When and why did you get started on Twitter?
@JusticeWillett: About 3 yrs ago, mostly b/c of re-election. Voters increasingly consume info online, esp political info. & cands must harness s-m potency.
@AMorrisReports: Describe your activities, or how you spend your time, on Twitter?
@JusticeWillett: Haphazard — nothing regimented or unduly time-intensive. Mostly random scrolling if I have a few secs/mins to spare. I try to post daily.
@AMorrisReports: What’s your goal, or what do you seek to accomplish, with your profile?
@JusticeWillett: Keeping abreast of news & staying plugged in. But 4 having to campaign, I doubt I’d tweet much (but I’d still follow incisive people).
@AMorrisReports: What should lawyers or judges understand about Twitter to really “get it”?
@JusticeWillett: There’s a slew of helpful legal news & info in the Twitterverse. Separate wheat from chaff. Master Twitter; don’t let it master you.
@AMorrisReports: What are your ethical considerations, if any, when posting on judicial and legal topics?
@JusticeWillett: I post links to U.S. legal news but never give $0.02 on disputed legal issues or pending cases. Advice: use common sense & self-censor.