What Is A “Blawg,” And Why Does It Matter?
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A blog is a website that contains “regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.” Blawgs are simply a subset of blogs. Webopedia defines blawg rather broadly:
Slang term used to describe an online blog that is written by lawyers, or one that is focused on providing legal-oriented content.
Scott Greenfield, of Simple Justice, seems to suggest that a blawgs consist of posts that are “worth reading” and provide insight, a viewpoint or a clear position:
Most new blogs are doomed to death from the outset, created for the wrong reason and certain to fail to achieve their creator’s purpose. Most offer neither insight nor viewpoint, as their creators are scared to death that taking a firm and clear position might offend a reader, a potential client.
The barrier to entry into the blawgosphere has increased dramatically. It’s not one of cost, or concept, as much as one of merit, focus and purpose. If you have the desire to write, the guts to write something worth reading and the stomach to deal with the constant onslaught of stupid and crazy readers, there’s a place for you in the blawgosphere…
I am inclined to agree with Webopedia’s expansive definition and would humbly suggest that Mr. Greenfield’s definition is far too narrow.
Successful legal blogs need not necessarily provide substantive content, nor must a blawg provide either insight or a clear position.
My most popular blawg, Legal Antics, is a prime example of a “successful” blawg. It has over 1,000 subscribers, and is linked to by other blawgs more than any of my other blogs combined. And yet I never offer insight, a viewpoint, or a clear position. Rather, I simply aggregate content from across the web that focuses on legal humor. And people seem to like it.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the concept of what constitutes a “blawg” has necessarily evolved over time and will continue to do so. When I began blogging in 2005, one of my newer and more popular blawgs, Legal Tweets, was simply unfathomable at the time. Legal Tweets consists entirely of collections of “tweets” from lawyers about various law-related issues, and in 2005, Twitter was yet a gleam in its creators’ eyes.
Thus, it is important to keep in mind that the concept of a “blawg” is not concrete; rather, it is a flexible and evolving. A blawg need not contain certain elements in order to survive or be successful.
For those of you who are considering starting a blawg, do not allow the unnecessarily confining limitations of others to define your blawg. Once you’ve found a topic that interests you, learn about it, stay current and begin creating content.
However, as with any other form of social media, determine your goals before you begin blogging, keep those goals in mind as you blog, and most of all, have fun.
If you keep these suggestions in mind, you will find that you truly enjoy blawging, and success, however you choose to define it, will necessarily follow.
(photo: Claire Dancer)