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Friday, January 06, 2006

Taking another turn ...

Many thanks to Dan and PrawfsBlawg for inviting me back for another guest stint. I write just having returned from a panel at the AALS conference on blogging, sponsored by the section on scholarship. Very interesting, if for any reason to see in person many of the heavyweight legal academic-bloggers whose work I have enjoyed reading. The panel – Prof. Randy Barnett from the Volokh Conspiracy, Prof. Lawrence Solum of the Legal Theory Blog, and Prof. Victor Fleischer from the Conglomerate – offered great insight on blogging. The panelists and some audience members also issued important cautionary advice about blogging, particularly blogging by junior academics ... like me. And, some interesting questions were raised about blogger demographics. I think we were told that the panel discussion, as well as the active Q&A session, will be available as a podcast. If so, I would recommend it.

Update: At the TaxProf Blog, Paul Caron provides a detailed account of the blogging panel at the AALS conference.

Posted by Brooks Holland on January 6, 2006 at 04:48 PM in Blogging | Permalink


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Oops -- I didn't see that Dan already had answered your question. I'll look forward to any additional takes on the panel session ...

Posted by: Brooks | Jan 6, 2006 6:22:19 PM

Hey Ethan,
Sorry I didn't get to see you here. Prof. Barnett spoke a bit about problems junior faculty members may encounter by blogging -- although he also embraced several exceptions to his words of caution. He expressed concern over younger faculty members perhaps alienating senior colleagues with intemperate or controversial commentary. I think his concern may have focused more on open-topic blogs that range into current events and politics than blogs that have a focused doctrinal topic. Prof. Barnett also discussed the need for junior faculty to exercise discipline over how much to blog, since it can distract from traditional and still-important long-form scholarship. One audience member offered a very candid personal story of how blogging had interfered substantially with his productivity as a scholar. Group blogs – like this blog! – were suggested as one way to ease this temptation to over-blog. But, value also was identified in blogging for junior faculty – it gets your name out there to a degree that previously was difficult, if not impossible, for junior faculty, and it allows us to run our ideas by a wide audience, ideas that can develop into scholarship or just keep the creative juices flowing in general. The vibe was very positive. Just informative about both the ups and potential downs.

Posted by: Brooks | Jan 6, 2006 6:04:41 PM

Ethan, it was Randy Barnett who, I think quite fortunately, wanted to give people a heads up about the dangers of blogging from a junior perspective. But I think he did it in the spirit of forewarned is forearmed and not to try to silence or chill people. I'll probably try to blog a bit more about the discussion later on, but a handful of us were there and I think it'll be interesting to have a meta-conversation. It was fascinating for a host of reasons.

Posted by: Dan Markel | Jan 6, 2006 5:54:42 PM

Tell us why we are going to ruin our careers by doing this. And do tell us who issued these "cautions." I'd be curious to know who is responsible for the chilling effects of being untenured.


Posted by: Ethan Leib | Jan 6, 2006 5:43:30 PM

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