Drowning in the Blogosphere
In June 2005, I wrote an
article on legal blogs, or "blawgs". In the article, I discussed how
easy it was to set up a blawg and how they could be used by practitioners.
I did not necessarily recommend that practitioners create blawgs then, and
I am not recommending it now. I have mixed feelings about whether they are
worth the time and effort. However, I do believe that they are another tool
in the legal-tech toolbox. In this article, I am going to give information
about some of the blawgs worth noting and how you can use them in your quest
In August 2005, Technorati,
the "official" blog-tracker, determined that there were 14.2 million blogs.
According to a report
from the BBC, one blog was being created every second and "on average,
the number of blogs is doubling every five months."
In the State of the Blogosphere in February, there were 27.2 million blogs,
and today (March 19, 2006), Technorati claims that it is tracking 31 million
blogs. My point: the numbers are staggering. In the time that it will take
me to write this article, there will be 200 new blogs. Many of these are just
the musings of young adults and fringe elements, but many are being done by
professionals with valuable information to share.
Before listing some valuable blogs and websites, let's discuss the difference
between a blog and website. They are similar but not the same. Both provide
information – lots of information – on the Internet. The main (but
not only) difference is that websites require some technical skill to create
and are usually designed to provide facts/information about a company, organization
or other institution. Blogs require no technical ability and are designed to
allow a person or organization to share information about particular topics.
It allows people to give opinions as well as facts. Unlike many websites, they
are updated daily and can discuss many topics, or focus on just one topic.
The value of blogs to practitioners is that many professionals are putting
out valuable information on many areas of law, technology and management and
sharing it with the rest of us. As it was with the Internet and websites, the
challenge is finding the valuable blogs and, once you find them, remembering
to go to them. Unlike websites, which do not change constantly, blogs add information
on a daily or weekly basis. The best way to get that information is to subscribe
to the blog(s) of your choice using RSS (or Really Simple Syndication).
In order to receive RSS feeds, you need an RSS reader. You then subscribe
to the website or blog from which you want to receive content, and the information
will be delivered automatically to your RSS reader. To subscribe, you need
to use a piece of software referred to as a news or RSS aggregator. These range
in cost from free to about $30; the search engine Firefox has an RSS reader
built into it.
"There are two main types of aggregators: web-based aggregators and desktop/software
according to About.com. "Web-based
aggregators (e.g., Bloglines)
allow individuals to sign up for the service and read their feeds online in
just one site. There's no need to download and install any programs. Desktop/software
aggregators require individuals to download and install a program to the computer.
This type of aggregator usually has a lot more functions available to the user."
Since this article is really about how some blogs (again, "blawgs" in the
legal community) can be valuable for practitioners, I am going to list some
that you might find helpful. As with early websites, you need to be careful
with the information that is in the blog, but they can be extremely useful
in many areas.
I will be putting links to all these blogs on the MSBA
Blog and at the Solo
and Small Firm Section Home Page; more will be added as I find them.
(If there are some that you find helpful, please forward them to me at email@example.com.)
Places to Go
Here are some individual blogs worth reviewing:
Legal Research Sites
In preparing this article, I have spent two days in the blogosphere, and
there is a lot of stuff out there – some worthwhile and some not. I am
not sure that all of these blogs will be able to maintain the daily updating,
and we could simply end up with cyberspace litter. Until then, viewing and
subscribing to blogs can be helpful to practitioners.