Earlier this week, Tech Vibes reported that as worldwide Twitter subscribership crossed the half-billion mark, Canadian accounts were shown to account for 2% of that total, placing Canada at 8th spot among all countries in total Twitter subscriber numbers. Canadians, of course, were also among the early adopters of Facebook and routinely top the rankings of ComScore and similar reports for such things as time spent online, so our collective Twitter presence is not actually all that surprising.
The surprise comes courtesy of some recently completed but not-yet-released research conducted by CanLII. Over a 6 week period in June and July, CanLII ran its largest-ever survey of users. This particular survey was directed solely to Quebec notaries as well as lawyers from all Canadian jurisdictions and asked, among other things, about social media use. From the over 4000 responses received we learned that 22% of those surveyed have a personal Twitter account.
When you stack that 22% number up against the Canadian total, it leads to the unmistakable conclusion that the Canadian legal profession is much closer to the leading than the trailing edge of the Twitter revolution. Consider the math:
2% of 500,000,000 = 10,000,000 Twitter accounts which, when divided by 34,000,000 million of us occupying this space, equates to roughly 29% of Canadians with an account. But when you consider the number of Twitter spambots, parody accounts, corporate Twitter accounts, and multiple automated Twitter accounts managed by a single person (Slaw.ca, for example is responsible for over 10 Twitter accounts), the actual percentage of individual Canadians with a Twitter account would be well below 29%. By some estimates, fake/spam accounts represent at least 10% of all Twitter accounts – this alone would remove over 1 million from the Canadian total.
But the 22% of notaries and lawyers with Twitter accounts is a true number that does not lend itself to overstatement or understatement as each survey participant was presented with a simple yes/no question as to whether they had a personal Twitter account.
I should mention that the 2012 ABA Tech survey provides another point of reference. In that report (available for a fee), 11% of respondents reported that they used “Twitter or similar microblogging services for professional purposes” and 21% reported use of the services for “personal, non-professional purposes”. In the spirit of the Olympics, where victory can be measured by 1/100th units, I hope our American friends will forgive me for awarding Canadian lawyers the gold.
So if Canadian lawyers are in fact leading adopters of this particular technology, what does it mean? I’ve previously offered suggestions, but I’m curious to know what you think.