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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Who are we? What are we doing here?

I just read this article in the Wall Street Journal foretelling of the demise of blogging. Well, perhaps that language is too strong. Instead, what it says is blogging is no longer a revolutionary method of communication and will never make big business -- rather, "blogging" will come to mean "a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish" it.

Referring to Technorati, the editorial points out the following figures:

- There are now 28.4 million blogs.
- The number of blogs doubles every 5.5 months
- Less than 1/2 of new blogs are still being posted to 3 months after their creation
- Less than 10% of blogs are updated at least weekly (2.7 million)

Of the 28.4 million blogs, there are "a lot of camps, all with different goals, styles and strategies," making it hard to define exactly what a blog is and what it isn't.

This has led me to some minor existential questioning regarding this blawg, as well as the ones to which I've linked on the side.

For me, as well as most of you, the most important "camp" are the bLAWgs.

There are at least three different types of blawgs, as I see:

1. Informative. Usually maintained by our professors, meant to help inform and educate us and practicing attorneys, or to keep professors connected. Some less popular informative blawgs are maintained by practitioners, and even less popular, are kept by the law students often with the biggest and most obnoxious egos. These blawgs have the potential for being blogrolled by many others. I wonder about the regularity of their visitors, however. Examples include: SCOTUSblog, WillsTrusts&Estates Prof Blog, White Collar Crime Prof Blog, and others on the Law Professor blogs network.

2. Commentary. The commentary blawgs will often incorporate some form of being informative, though skewed to the point of view of the blog's author. These can be an excellent starting point when approaching a legal issue and first attempting to decipher the finer points and develop an argument. By using Google Blog Search and typing in something like a S.Ct. case name, you can usually find more than enough individual diatribes to help inform you on how people view a particular issue. Everyone has an opinion, so there are more of these blawgs than you can count. Many times they are quite political, as well. An example, and the only one I ever read with any regularity, is the aptly-named Sonya's Gotta Scream.

3. Entertaining/Informal. Usually written by students, these (especially the good ones) can be the bane of a Law Professor's existence. For the authors, they are a distraction from class and studying. For the readers, they play the same role. These can sometimes incorporate some aspects of the "informative" and/or "commentary" blawgs. But the good ones only do so rarely and with a tongue-in-cheek, make-fun attitude. Most are begun out of boredom, and if they become even semi-popular it is a surprise to the author. For examples, just check out my blogroll.

So my question is this:

What is the future of the entertaining blawg? Do they just pop-up, exist for an average 2-3 years, then disappear to be replaced by others?

Many of my favorite -- and the best -- blawgers will be graduating in less than 3 months. What happens then?

It is one thing to be a "somewhat anonymous" law student, it is entirely different to attempt to be a "somewhat anonymous" assistant district attorney or junior associate in a large firm. We have seen from Opinionistas that blawging often doesn't work well with a career. And who is willing to trade their hard-earned JD for a blawg?

So what long-term value does even the best entertaining blog play? Few can be translated into any tangible medium. (We will see how Blachman does with turning the Anonymous Lawyer into a book). And if we play it safe and disassociate ourselves with our blawgs, and they become stale and are no longer linked-to or read, they just float there if not deleted. Do they just become another memory of our law school days?

I have been blawging for 18 months now, and in that time I have written 264 posts. That averages out to just over 3.5 posts per week. Regardless of whether anyone aside from myself is reading it, this blawg has become a major aspect of my Law School Life.

I have another year. After that, what do I do with it?


Blogger Nye! said...

yeah, uhm... that's not something i intent to think about before my one more year is up.

2/28/2006 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Thinking Fool said...

Keep it going! I didn't start blogging until the very end of my third year in law school. When you have a boring, challenging job, it's nice to be able to tap into the creative juices at night.

2/28/2006 4:14 PM  

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