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The Future of Law Blogging:
Over at PrawfsBlawg, Matt Bodie is considering the future of law blogging:
  We still seem to be in the early stages of the blogosphere. But I'm wondering, particularly with respect to law blogs, what the future holds. Here are a few possibilities as to directions we'll take in the future.
1. We're in the "Far and Away" land rush phase, and pretty soon the continent will be filled up.
2. We're in the early Internet Boom phase, and a big shakeup is coming down the pike.
3. Blogging is a transitional technology that will lead to new forms of connectivity and creativity. Current bloggers will lead the way to these new formats.
  It's hard to predict these things, of course, but I would suggest a fourth future: A continued increase in the overall amount of law blogging until we reach a natural equilibirum, and then a roughly constant amount of blogging with frequent turnover among active law bloggers. Here's my thinking. Right now law blogs are pretty new, and the number of law bloggers is increasing. But it's much easier to start a blog than to keep it up. A typical post might take an hour or so to research, write, and edit. And the better and more thoughtful the post, the more time it takes. Only so many people are willing to put in those hours on a regular basis, and members of that twisted elite group presumably will change over time, too.

  Among law professor blogs, the big variable would seem to be whether blogs eventually will be taken more seriously in the scholarly community than they are now. Right now most lawprof bloggers do it for fun, but don't consider blogging "real work." If this changes, I think it will transform the nature of law blogs considerably. Whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing is an open question.
Noah Snyder (mail):
I think that in the long run academia will be better off if we start considering some internet work "real work." For example, in Mathematics, I think we should start thinking of Wikipedia edits in mathematics as "real work." After 10 years of mathematicians taking Wikipedia seriously, the working life of a mathematician would be much better. On settled topics you could just look on Wikipedia rather than have to trace through dozens of obscure references to find the definition or result that you are looking for.

Is there a similar argument to be made for law blogging? If law Profs were encouraged to keep blogs would that make the discipline significantly stronger?
10.6.2005 4:34pm
ken (mail) (www):
1. We are not in a "land rush" phase. That's what's going on in podcasting and videocasting. If you look around, the "best land" has already been grabbed. Think of a legal area (one with some significant amount of interest) - you'll most likely be able to name the top blawgs in that area or quickly find out which one is the top blawg.

2. I think that generally we are past the boom phase. New blogs start all the time but the number which remain seem somewhat stable and in many areas the top blogs are already in place and stable.

3. Transitioning is possible but (as someone who does them) podcasts and videocasts just aren't the same. If you think a quality blog entry takes time you should try doing a quality podcast or video cast. I always end up somewhat unhappy with mine because I have sacrificed some quality just to get it done - and still it takes many more hours.

However, let me add the caveat that the above might not apply to Law Professor blawgs. Of late more and more of them seem to be surfacing. I guess this is a recognition in academia that blawgs are a serious medium, if not quite at the level of law reviews. I'll be interested to see if this leads to dilution, as readers split between the many, or if there will develop a hierarchy of first and second class professor blogs. Arguably this hierarchy already exists but competition seems to be increasing as schools back blawgs and even independent professor blawgs become more of a quality product.
10.6.2005 5:01pm
TomFromMD (mail):
What's a land rush when there's unlimited land to rush to?

Anyone who wants a blog can have one. It's just a lot of work.I put together a blog, put in a couple of posts, got busy at work, and never touched it again. I don't have the time. Now if I could only get a cushy prof job...

I'm guessing that you'll see the numbers rise somewhat, especially amongst academia. Eventually, you'll probably see retired academia as well. But I'm guessing that there will always be a big 5 or so that people look to. Reading blogs takes time too...
10.6.2005 5:52pm
JayJ:
I think it is important to emphasize the point (a point that others have made in this thread) that the time that can be devoted to reading blogs is by definition limited. Presuming that the group of bloggers under discussion here are those bloggers who have the intention of being read, there might reach a point (and that point perhaps has already been reached) when young law professors will blog privately at first with the sole purpose of attempting to move up to the major leagues (VC, PrawfsBlawg, etc.). Another possibility is that blogging will simply be subsidized by the universities the professors are at and thus partially serve as a way to promote the university itself. In any event, it is likely that significant law professor blogging will continue its institutionalization process one way or another, with blogs either being connected to the preexisting university structure, or bloggers creating some sort of informal law professor blog farm system.
10.6.2005 6:20pm