News broke on Twitter last week that the publisher of New York Times didn’t want the Times’ reporters using Twitter.

My response was that this was absolutely nuts – and I was not alone. The reason? The Times’ reporters develop trust with their readers through the online engagement which Twitter enables.

It’s trust which develops a loyal following of readers, and, more importantly, readers who share the reporters’ articles across social media – especially on Facebook and Twitter.

It turned out that the Times was not asking reporters to refrain from using Twitter. The Times was merely asking reporters to refrain from expressing strong political views, something which could call their impartiality into question and turn off some readers.

The reporters’ use of Twitter, generally, is critical in building a following and driving distribution.

  • People sharing a reporter’s articles on Twitter can include the reporter’s Twitter handle.
  • Reporters seeing people share their articles on Twitter like the Tweet.
  • It’s the “like” which engages the person sharing the article. This quick engagement is where the trust starts.
  • Those sharing items like this tend to be intelligence agents and influencers on niches with an awful lot or followers. Building a community of influencers sharing your content is critical today where social media drives distribution.
  • The engagement results in more people following the reporters on Twitter, and in turn sharing items the reporter shares on Twitter.
  • The ensuing relationship between readers using Twitter and the reporter makes it more likely that these readers will read the reporter’s stories in the Times. It’s only natural, when you come to “know” reporters and columnists, that you start to read their stuff.

As a blogging lawyer, you’re in the same shoes as reporters. You need to build trust with influencers online. It’s the influencers who’ll share your blog posts with people who’ve come to trust the influencers as sharing items of interest.

Without a Twitter handle, it’s impossible for you to know who is sharing your blog posts on Twitter. When someone atrrributes your post to you by including your Twitter handle, you’re notified by email and Twitter.

By giving an atta girl or atta boy by liking such a Tweet you begin to build the trust, the relationship. Sure it’s a loose relationship, you’ve likely never met before. But the relationship leads to the person sharing more of your posts, others sharing your posts. more people reading your blog, and more people recognizing you as a trusted authority.

In many cases this engagement leads to connecting on LinkedIn, and, in some cases, face to face meetings.

Understand, as a blogger, Twitter is not a one way street. You need to be sharing others content, blog posts and articles. Doing so builds trust, grows followers and gets more people. who see you as a giver, sharing your blog posts.

Back to the New York Times’ reporters. They were all but ordered to start using Twitter and other social media in the New York Times Innovation Report 2014. I don’t think you’ll see them stop using Twitter anytime soon.