In this latest post of what has now become a series on law professor use of blogging and Twitter for marketing, I want to focus on why law professors might tweet. As part of this, I have some additional data about tweeting trends that bear on the question, and I'm indebted to Ryan Whalen for gathering the data for me. Note that some of the data from my prior post is incomplete, because the Twitter API cut off data for high users and did not include automatic retweets. The new data includes all this.
This post is informed with discussions I've had with my friends, both law professor and not, about Twitter, by discussions with marketing folks, by the data we've got, and by sheer speculation. At the end of the day, I believe how one views law professor tweeting will depend in large part on priors about law professors and how they are supposed to be spending their time.
It should be noted, though, that law professors may well use twitter differently than other types of professors and even other types of twitter users. I mentioned in my initial study post that I would discuss how I would expand the research design. One way would be to compare law professor users to twitter users in other fields (do we see chemists tweeting? maybe not as much) and to a random sample of twitter users (do professors tweet different information than Katy Perry or Jane Doe? probably).
But just because there is no control group doesn't mean that we can't look at how law professors use Twitter, if only to better understand law professor behavior, whatever your priors.