Barbara Hamilton Bruce (@bhamiltonbruce) in-house lawyer on why she tweets (WIT#25)

Barbara Hamilton Bruce (@bhamiltonbruce) is an in-house lawyer, who also blogs her own version of the truth.


Getting started

Quite some time ago I was asked by Neil Rose (of Legal Futures fame) to contribute to an article in the CILEx Journal (subscription service for Chartered Legal Executives) on the subject of social media.

At the time I was on Facebook and LinkedIn but was Face-bored and bemused by the LinkedIn offering.

I was interested by the other contributors who wrote about Twitter.  It appeared to be a natural progression but it made me rather nervous! I started off tentatively by following some people that I knew in real life and looking at their follow lists for ideas.

Married to the Job

Once I got more comfortable with Twitter I started to blog.  Initially it was about my home life.

My first ‘proper’ blog ‘Married to the Job’ was completed as a guest blog for somebody else.  It focused on life married to a Detective Sergeant. Some time later, after hubby moved onto the Gemini Team (serious sex offences), I updated the blog for my own site.

On telling my youngest brother that I had set up a blog he responded with a link to a t-shirt that read ‘More People Will Read this T-Shirt Than Your Blog’.  My siblings are known for their support; shortly after this he unfollowed me because of my ‘endless boring law tweets’.

I now blog on a variety of subjects and tweet in the same manner; sometimes it will be law related but often it’s not.  My shoe desires are a repeat feature as are the quips and quotes of my two beautiful children.

Knowledge management

As a in-house lawyer (a term used to refer to lawyers who do not work in traditional law firms) in a team of one I am not confined to one ‘type’ of law and span a few specialities ranging from employment law to compliance and regulation.  Twitter has been a revelation when it comes to knowledge management.

It is a fantastic way to keep on top of topical issues and if I miss something I can guarantee that somebody will be wise enough to retweet it back onto my timeline.  There are also few questions that if asked don’t get an answer or a tip as to where to go next. Twitter is crowd-sourcing at its best!

Down the rabbit-hole

To add to my ‘in-houseness’ I also work from home for the majority of the week so can go for hours without seeing people.  Twitter is great for a bit of time-out, a natter over a cup of coffee or the chance to read somebody else’s views on current issues.  If there is a downside to Twitter, from my point of view, it’s the subjects that tempt me down the rabbit-hole and steal time or the inevitable twitterstorms that kick off over subjects that seem to pull people in, even people who know they shouldn’t be going there.

It just takes a moment to tweet with consequences; it’s easy to get carried away in the moment.  I’ve tried to condition myself to look away and have ended up unfollowing some people  who have a strongly held view on absolutely everything and a seemingly endless amount of time to argue with the rest of the world!

If I’m tweeting within office hours I’m also followed by some who might be inclined to check what I’m doing with my time…however I have a typing speed in excess of 100wpm so 140 characters is a doddle.  Well, that’s my excuse…

Superhero serendipity

I tweet in my own name although I am willing to confess that my avatar is not actually me.

Tweeting in my own name moderates my behaviour.

As head of Human Resources there is plenty that I could say that might amuse others or work projects that might be interesting but I can’t discuss them.  Not just because the issues could very well be confidential but because my tweets could identify somebody who might rather not to be identified; it’s a question of playing fair and respecting that just because I choose to tweet it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

The avatar came about because I wanted an image that played on the fact that I rather wish I was a super hero.  Finding a cartoon image that also had red hair and glasses was simply serendipity.

Twitter flattens the universe

When I am pitching people to join Twitter I do it based on my positive experience that the social media site has genuinely expanded my horizons.  Twitter flattens the universe and allows you to engage with people from all works of life in all manner of circumstances.

I’ll never cease to be amazed by the people who will make time to share their experiences and the benefit of their knowledge. Through Twitter I have made some excellent contacts, found myself a business mentor and discovered some fabulous friends.

Time taken out to meet people IRL (in real life) has really been worth it (although take care kids, tell your loved ones where you are going and only meet in public places).

I often find myself at business ‘dos’ hunting out people I have chatted with online or tweeting observations under hashtags.

It adds another dimension to networking and has been a great way to share the law and legal experiences.


This is the 25th post in the criminal justice/legal Why I tweet series. Read the others here.

Next week: Sam Chapman, @topofthecopscom,  lawyer, police officer, community safety partnership manager and Police & Crime Commissioner expert, on why he tweets.

Get Russell’s free guide to Twitterfectiveness.


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