Don’t call me commentator!

I’ve been miffy since seeing myself described as a ‘legal commentator’ earlier this week. It’s almost as bad as being called a pundit.

I don’t aspire to be a ‘legal commentator’. I aspire to be a sh*t hot lawyer and a good person. In truth, I’m just a girl who knows law, and who has some opinions. And I write them down. Sometimes they are quite sensible, other times not so much. I’m just someone who thinks its quite important to talk about and reflect on a job that has a big impact on other people, and who thinks we can all learn from talking to one another.

Every so often a colleague will make some snarky comment about me being a ‘celebrity’ after I’ve been on the radio or been mentioned in a newspaper – occasionally its been as direct as calling me a media whore or (faux joking – har flippin har.). Of course it’s exciting occasionally to go on the telly or be interviewed live, but frankly I could do without the pant wetting experience of maybe saying something stupid to a massive audience for no pay. I do it because I sort of feel that it’s quite important that people who know their stuff can help explain things in an accurate and balanced way (which I hope I do) to the public.

Others take the view it’s safer or easier not to have a public opinion, and that’s fine. I feel my responsibility differently. But never think I’m in it for the likes, the follows or the fame (though of course those likes and RTs can be intoxicating if you don’t watch it). In fact I’ve noticed recently that I must have hit some tipping point on twitter where I post some mundane drivel about my day and find that the volume of retweets or comments is increasingly uncomfortable (don’t get me wrong I’m not exactly the Donald Trump of legal twitter, I’ve got just shy of 13,000 followers so not even Z list celebrity – but I have noticed a shift). Why do all these people care what the heck I say? I like the camaraderie and sociability of twitter (when it’s not being toxic). I learn and I laugh. But sometimes its hard to be myself when I feel that large audience scrutinising every fart and trip. I could, of course, give less of myself on social media, but that would take away the joy and I’ve resolved for now to just do it the way I’ve always done it.

I’m feeling more visible that I would like to be right now, both on twitter and blog. I’m often trying to start a conversation with a particular audience rather than shouting to the whole world, but of course the internet doesn’t know the difference and once it’s out there it’s out of your control. When nobody follows you then you can shout rot into the void in comparative safety. But as my audience has grown (why?) I’ve felt my general caution edging up towards anxiety.

So, as a result it has recently been quite hard to hit publish, because I feel more exposed than I would want to be (objectively I’m not but I am more conscious of it, it seems). I just want to get something off of my chest and get on with my week. But… I still feel driven to say what I think, albeit often after sleeping on it and hopefully in a thought through way. And I don’t plan to change that. I sometimes think if I didn’t shape my thoughts and get them on to the page I’d explode. And I don’t think I’d still be doing this job without that release.

So, when you see my next post (which I promise won’t be about me, me, me!) please give me your constructive feedback, but please don’t call me a legal commentator!

That’s it. Wibble over.


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