Hello? Is anyone out there? I think that’s a legitimate question for the first blog post – don’t you? We are working on momentum-gathering for our blog, and considering that we will receive posts from a number of different folks, it should be an interesting force to manage. Instant, global self-publishing. By a diverse group of people under one blog. I’d rather not get into the whole “crowdsourcemanagement” issue right now because, well, it’s like talking about practice management when you don’t have any clients … !
I’ll start with something a bit more basic. Perhaps some ideas extrapolated from the article “Why I Blog” by Andrew Sullivan in the November 2008 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. (Yes, I cut articles out of my old magazines for later use, what a digital immigrant habit!) I mean no disrespect to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 issues over the last several years. (I’ve torn some of those out too.) Sullivan’s article looks at the fundamental reason-for-being of the blog, and here’s the first idea that I’ll latch onto:
1. The blog is all about collective movement. Sullivan explores the history of the term “log” (remember “blog comes from putting together “web” and “log”) from our nautical past. The ship’s log was the small, weighted wooden board attached to a line thrown over the stern. Like an anchor, it stayed in one place while the ship moved away, and the length of line used was measured (according to “knots”) and noted in a book that came to be known as the log. Sullivan takes off on a very interesting riff about time travel (like measuring where we’re going by where we’ve been), but I won’t go into that now. The bigger question for me now is – are you (the reader) going to travel with us for a bit? Will you occasionally look up from your usual perch to note the blog’s progress and offer encouragement (by way of comments)? I hope so!
2. The second idea I liked in Sullivan’s article was the reminder he got from (blog guru) Matt Drudge back in 2001 that “the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.” Okay, I like the idea behind that message. The message is cautionary and at this point in the journey I think it is a bit scary … But there it is. In order to have our “crowdsourcing resource” and our “brainstorming opportunities” we have to communicate with each other using this blog. This brings me to the last and favorite idea of mine from Sullivan’s article.
3. The blog is a win-win enterprise. As a fan of integrative negotiation and interest-based mediation techniques, the win-win aspect is compelling to me. How is a blog a win-win game? This might be a bit harder for some of us lawyers who tend to think of blogs as more representative of the commercial speech-end (read advertising/client development) of our Internet reach, but there is the other end of the spectrum (close to the First Amendment) which has lots of adherents in the form of blawgs (SCOTUS being the blog that first comes to mind). Regarding the win-win aspect – it’s about sharing information, and linking to other sites of interest and usefulness to other blog readers. It is taking the Solo/Small Firm Section’s collective resource we have enjoyed for several years now – our listserve – to the next level. I look forward to working with old friends and making new acquaintances in our collective enterprise.Barbara Cashman Hahn is chair of the SSF blog committee and SSF newsletter editor.