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Sunday, April 19, 2015

When blogging (and bloggers) get old

Let me try to pick up on some of the issues that Paul, Dave, Rick, and Kate raise in their symposium posts.

I explained in my first symposium entry how I have used blogging in my time here. Although I have not gone back to review  seven years of posts, I do not believe my writing here has changed all that much either in quantity or in content (law v. life, serious legal issues v. pop-culture asides).* This may be because I have not taken on as many administrative responsibilities as Rick and Paul have (I have never served as an associate dean, for example), so I have not lost the time to devote to writing here. And since I wrote less about legal education and law schools than Paul did, I probably became less disillusioned than he by the tenor of the discussion.

* Although to be frank, I have written so many posts here that I do not remember a lot of what I have written. I have on occasion reviewed old posts and thought, "Did I write this? And did I really mean that at the time?"

I am happy that blogging has developed into a "serious" forum and form of writing, both in terms of content and perception. That seriousness can be traced to the early waves of bloggers who started ten years ago as junior faculty. By doing a lot of good writing on a range of subjects on a lot of blogs that people were reading, it seems inevitable that some of it would come to be seen as somewhat serious and worth paying attention to. It also makes sense that law students and rising future and junior prawfs, raised on these fora, would view them as serious and also (hopefully) want to join in (exemplified by Richard's initial solo blogging and then his work here, as well as some of the junior and about-to-enter guests we have welcomed the past few years). And finally, in something of a feedback loop, as we have moved to the more senior ranks on our respective faculties, we are in position to both encourage and reward junior colleagues who take on blogging.

Perhaps Dave is right that what I just described also made it inevitable that posts on Tallahassee, pop culture, and Notre Dame football might fall by the wayside. After all, if I want a hiring or P&T committee to look on this as at least a somewhat worthwhile endeavor, I may not want to dilute the perception with too many frivolous posts about non-legal/non-serious subjects.

I am not on Facebook, although I probably should be. I think Rick gets the connection between blogs and Facebook about right--they are serving different roles, with Facebook somewhat taking over the light-short-and-fun posts as blog posts have gotten longer and more serious. Facebook is not necessarily the space for long posts or for working through scholarly ideas. Although perhaps the divide is not that sharp--when Dan was incubating the idea for what became Catalyzing Fans and this Atlantic essay, he initially went to Facebook rather than Prawfs.**

** When Dan called to pitch me on joining the project, he explained his idea and told me to read his initial musings. Since I was not on Facebook, my wife friended Dan, which then allowed me to read his initial discussions. Yeah, I probably should join already.

I will close with one question for consideration ten years in: Why haven't faculty blogs caught on or lasted? Dave mentioned the Chicago faculty blog, which I previously read regularly, but there has not been a post there for almost a year. Marquette and Loyola-LA both are thriving and Illinois just finished its first year. But that's basically it. Why hasn't that form of blogging worked as well as sites such as this one?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 19, 2015 at 09:59 AM in 10th Anniversary, Blogging, Howard Wasserman | Permalink

Comments

"Although to be frank, I have written so many posts here that I do not remember a lot of what I have written. I have on occasion reviewed old posts and thought, 'Did I write this? And did I really mean that at the time?'"

I look back at some old posts and totally think that. Indeed, I look back at some old articles and wonder the same thing sometimes.

As for your final question, I think the diversity of any group blog answers the question. Blogging is hard and blogging regularly is harder. It's not for everyone. It's for maybe a couple or three people on a faculty, but even then the subjects can be wildly different. Some of my colleague blog regularly. You would not want to read a blog of only their posts and my posts. And getting us all to row in the same direction would be even harder.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Apr 19, 2015 11:23:08 AM

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