What I Learned About the Wired World on Jury Duty


Last week was the first time I'd ever been called for jury duty. I put it on the RWW team calendar weeks in advance. I figured I'd miss one day at my desk. I'd spend it sitting in a waiting room, voraciously reading Twitter and shouting from the sidelines. I was wrong. I was chosen for a jury trial that lasted all week. I sat in the voir dire session, answered questions honestly, and before I knew it, I was in the booth.

Before long, I could tell why I was chosen. It was a civil case, and practically all the character evidence was in the form of email, Facebook and Myspace posts. That's all we had to juxtapose with the in-person testimony and figure out who was telling the truth. It was a bit embarrassing at first. What did this have to do with justice? But that became clear. There are lots of new lessons to learn about being civil in an online society, and judges and juries are how we common-law countries work that stuff out.

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