Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When is a Law Blog Just a Newsletter?

Blogs are the new black for law firms, right? Ok, well let me throw out a scenario. Firm management wants to get into the blogosphere because they hear it's the next great thing. So they hire a web design firm, and fire up Wordpress with all the standard features enabled - comments, permalinks, RSS, trackbacks, pings, etc. But then, things go horribly wrong.

How wrong? Well, imagine a blog with no identified bloggers -- "because it's a firm effort... and we don't want any stars, do we?". Then imagine that *nothing* is written in first person -- I mean nothing. A blogroll? "Why would we want to send people away from our blog? that's crazy". The standard fare that typically went into the firm's newsletter is now transferred into the blog.

So... is it a blog? Nope, not even close. Here's my take... If you're not prepared to put your picture on it, tell me about the 'person or people' writing it, or give some of your thoughts on a subject, it's not a blog. I'm not trying to put up a barrier to entry here, but if you don't want to be a blogger, why are you putting one up? Let's just call a spade a spade, and a newsletter a newsletter, shall we? I like newsletters. I find them very informative.

Why does this happen then?

A couple of reasons come to mind. First of all, very likely not one of the lawyers involved has ever read a blog. They've simply been told they should be on this bandwagon. Second reason, zero effort has been made to train those involved. Some kind of blogging coach, a crash course, or 'something' would have been appropriate. And lastly, there should have been a discussion on 'why blogging is different' and the social side of this technology.

For some lawyers, blogging comes easy. Others... are going to need some help. Nothing wrong with that. And for those wondering, the answer is 'yes', I did have a certain law blog in mind when writing this post, and 'no' I'm not going to call them on it. Perhaps the better question is, could it be yours?

5 Comments:

Blogger Jim Milles said...

Oh, come on, you can tell us! We won't tell anybody

12:30 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Shucha said...

I can't say that this has ever/would ever bother me. In fact, when I speak to groups about blogs, I've recommended that people consider blogging technology for newsletter content. They are easy to set up, post articles, and readers can subscribe via RSS.

Does this "so called" blog actually have the word "blog" in the title? I'd recommend that if authors are using it for newsletter content, then perhaps the word "blog" should be omitted from the title. My 2 cents.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

Or the other alternative: they have hired professional writers to create the posts on their behalf.

*cringe*

Firms considering blogging should run out right now and read Naked Conversations !!

3:31 PM  
Blogger Michael Lines said...

Great post, Steven. Snappy, cheeky, and entirely right.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Steve Matthews said...

Bonnie, yes they do use the word 'blog', and that's my problem. Blogging software, to me, is essentially a CMS, nothing more. And you're correct that it's great for newsletters!

10:37 AM  

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