I’ll be honest, had it been April 1st, I might have dismissed this news as a joke, but it’s mid-March and it’s not only a very smart approach to communication, but a forward-thinking one, too. This year, for the first time in UK history, a solicitor has issued a court summons via Facebook.
Debtors, as you can well imagine, are probably slightly reluctant to delve into the legal morass of court visits and other inconveniences that come with owing people a significant amount of money. However, this also means you’re not likely to find them responding to any letters or phone-calls. However, upon proving to Hastings County Court in Essex that the slippery individual was a bit of a Facebook user, solicitor Hilary Thorpe was allowed to jump on the site and put the fear of Zuckerberg in them.
Away went the summons, and assumably they’ve either now responded or are considering finding another, similar social network with their mates on (yeah, good luck with that one). It was a tactic that was used once before in a similar cause Down Under, and that particular Australian couple found their legally binding documents served to them via the social networking site.
If anything, it proves that there really are no limits to the uses of Facebook and Twitter. Yesterday, author Adam Christopher found that using Twitter to befriend publisher Angry Robot resulted in them offering him his dream career, after many years of effort. Social media is no longer a distraction from your career, but a tool you can use to take it even further. Not to mention that if your legal career is being impeded by someone’s unresponsive nature, you can start tracking them down via their status updates.
It’ll be interesting to see what other landmarks social media sees in 2011, though don’t be surprised if people start conducting lectures or broadcasting them through Twitter. I recently saw the novel idea of tweeting a live surgery, demonstrated by the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. Other doctor’s joined in, offered suggestions and even a loan of their medical equipment during an operation that wasn’t going well. There are so many possibilities that it encourages those who’ve not joined in to join in, or so I’d like to think.
Even if you’re not going to use Twitter to talk, it might not be a bad idea to just use it to listen, considering it’s none too interested in your real name. Think of it as an RSS Reader that’s evolved into something else entirely. Social media is rapidly becoming the preferred method of communication, conducting business and even bringing lawbreakers to justice. The first two uses are pretty great. The third one is just downright cool. Now all Judge Dredd needs is a login and he’s good to go.