On Friday, I had the opportunity to speak at the ABA National Symposium on Technology in Labor & Employment Law in New York.  In the presentation, I talked about the importance of social media tools like Twitter is having in the workplace and legal profession.

I noted how I have used Twitter to get my news and I suspected that employees of companies were using it in that fashion too.  Twitter, I said Friday, was a force that could be ignored no longer. There were obviously big implications for workplaces as well such as how to monitor employee usage or provide guidelines for use as well.

Before I spoke, I couldn’t help but look at the window from the conference. It was held at NYU Law School, had a spectacular view of the Empire State Building. Ever since 9/11, it has reclaimed its iconic place on the New York skyline and I’m reminded of that fateful day nearly 10 years ago every time I see that building now. 

I took a picture of that view which is what you see here on the website. 

So, it is somewhat fateful that I learned of the news of Osama Bin Laden’s demise through Twitter last night.  Indeed, when the news crawl came up on the television screen, my wife asked a simple question to me: "What was Twitter saying?" as if that were the most routine question in the world.

And indeed, within a few seconds of looking at my iPad — well before the networks or cable news announced it — there it was: Bin Laden was dead. 

To be sure, there was some rampant speculation going on too. Libya? Nuclear issues? (Heck, someone even joked about an alien invasion).  But Twitter, as the New York Times reports, got it first and got it right.  

That story is no doubt being repeated around the United States (and world) today and it is an important one not only for society but for employers as well.  Twitter is here to stay as are other social media tools.  While there may be other types of social media to follow, it can be ignored no longer.

It emphasizes once again that information is moving instantaneously and without a policy and procedure in place at the workplace to manage social media use, employers remain at risk without seriously thinking about how address this. 

That said, the concern about Twitter is also the thing that makes it so useful. Information can spread in an instant.  Its utility is like nothing we’ve seen. 

A lot has changed since 9/11. Facebook and Twitter weren’t even created back then.  If you’re policies and procedures are as old as that anniversary, you yet again,

have your notice that it’s time to change.