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February 19, 2016


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(1) Have a Twitter account. Tweet sparingly. Compose a single tweet for each article you publish. Good descriptions are better than full titles. Be funny and vivid when you can, but not at the cost of obscuring what an article argues. Tweet about major coups for your articles (e.g. significant citations by courts) and retweet people discussing the articles when they have something to add (i.e. not just authors tweeting their own pieces). Don't use your law review's twitter handle in the tweets; that's redundant. But do include authors' Twitters handles when they're on Twitter.

(2) All other social media presence should be subsidiary to keeping your website up to date and well maintained. Push new issues out promptly, keep your archive organized (and don't lose it when you upgade your site's CMS), and have symposium programs and videos clearly linked (and ultimately linked to the symposium issues themselves). A Facebook page is better for local events primarily affecting your members (like note/comment deadlines, slating processes, and softball games).

(3) Have an RSS feed, one that includes the title, author, citation, abstract, and PDF link for everything you publish. Yale's is an example of what not to do; Michigan's is almost perfect, except that it doesn't include citations.

Al Brophy

Couple of thoughts here.

1. Put your content on the web and tweet about each article/note/book review separately. I'm surprised by how difficult it is to find content of many journals on-line.

2. Encourage authors to post their articles on ssrn.

3. Ask authors to blog and tweet about their work.


Thanks Al for creating an open thread. I'm waiting for Derek Muller to weigh in, as he ranks law reviews' social media presence each year and has no doubt thought more about it than most of us:

I'd echo Grimmelmann's (and Al's) comments above. A few additional observations:

As for #1 about tweeting out each articles/note/essay separately, in addition to including the author's twitter handle I'd also include the twitter handle of the author's institution. Aside from getting you more retweets and followers, it also makes sure that populations that are particularly interested in the piece will likely see the tweet (and check out the piece). A RT from the author will obviously go out to her networks; a RT from the school will hit students, alums, colleagues, etc., of that author. When tweeting about individual pieces, you can do something different/more interesting than just listing the title, citation, etc. I'd do a one-sentence summary of the piece/main argument. If the article has graphs/figures that summarize it, think about attaching one as a picture. You can also do a chain of tweets by replying to your first tweet with more about the piece (particularly effective if you've published a response as well to add that response to the chain). If you do that, make sure to put a "." before the first twitter handle or it doesn't reach your full list of followers; or better yet, just delete all the handles so you have more characters for substance.

Also completely agree that getting everything online, keeping the journal's website current, establishing an RSS feed, etc., should come before spending a lot of effort on Twitter/Facebook. But if you've already achieved those goals, some journals have had fun tweeting out about prior scholarship that touches on current events (pending Supreme Court cases, etc.). I'm surprised, for instance, that journals didn't tweet out the pieces they've published by J. Scalia. In fact, I think it could be really fun to do a "from the archives" series where you tweet out older pieces that are relevant to today's events. You could also look at which pieces you've published in the past and tweet out links to those that have been most cited (with citation counts), etc. (If you wanted to be strategic to build a bigger Twitter following you could tweet about older pieces by folks who have a strong social media presence -- again make sure to include the author's twitter handle.)

Building your social media presence: In addition to being active on twitter (and FB, I guess) as that grows your network, another great way to get more followers/interactions on Twitter is to tell people you're on Twitter. It seems like all current editors -- and editor alums -- should know the journal is on twitter and be encouraged to follow.

That's all I've got. Like Al, this isn't something I've thought too much about before, and I'm curious what others think.

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