I know they're out there
Your average trial lawyer isn't spending much time in the world of Web 2.0. I know, because I was the same way when I started. I'd heard there were all these brilliant blogs out there, scooping mainstream journalists and opening the windows in scholarship's ivory tower. But when I looked for them, running regular searches and trying to figure out blog search engines like Technorati, I couldn't find them among the thousands of navelgazers and crazies. It was like trying to find a new town with an old map.
They're out there, though, and they're worth finding. I learned the territory one or two blogs at a time, first coming to like and trust a few blogs (and bloggers) and then following their links and blogrolls to others.
That's still a good way to find good blogs, but it's slow. You can speed up the process with good directories and guides. The main ones are:
- Blawg Review, the weekly law blog carnival. Each week a different legal blogger writes a review of the week's posts in other law blogs, usually trying to outdo all who have come before in creativity and style. (I was privileged to host Blawg Review last September, and stayed up half the night.) If you read Blawg Review over even a few weeks, you'll see who shows up regularly; if you read it regularly, you'll learn of good blogs you might never have seen otherwise. Blawg Review is itself a blog, whose posts point you to the current host and lots of other things.
- The ABA Journal's Blawg Directory and Blawg 100 list. The Blawg 100 was controversial when it came out because it omitted some wonderful blogs, and I'm not a neutral source because I'm in it. That said, I'm a faithful follower of some blogs I first learned of because they were in the Blawg 100.
- Kevin O'Keefe's Real Lawyers Have Blogs. It's a blog, not a guide, and since Kevin's company LexBlog sells a software platform and support for blogging lawyers, you'd think it might be a little provincial, but it isn't. Kevin covers pretty much anything that has to do with legal blogging, and I've learned about many good blogs from his posts.
- The law page at Alltop.com, a brand new directory from marketing guru Guy Kawasaki. I wish I'd had this when I first started. It's a "single-page aggregation," with "the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page." (Even Alltop finds this hard to explain: "You can think of an Alltop site as a 'dashboard,' 'table of contents,' or even a 'digital magazine rack' of the Internet.") The sites and the order they're in keep shifting, and if you want to go beyond law, there are dozens of other pages and new ones coming all the time. Note to the Francophiles at What About Clients?: the France page debuted today, en Français.
- If you're going to follow more than a few blogs, you need an RSS feed reader, also called a feed aggregator. If you don't know what that is, a few searches will educate you. I use Google Reader -- it's fast, free, and works nicely with the rest of Google's products.
- Full disclosure: I think I move up in Alltop's algorithm by linking to them, but really, it's good.
- While I'm off topic and talking about maps (and good blogs), check out the cool mindmaps in Vickie Pynchon's posts this week at Settle It Now Negotiation Blog (here and here), and her wise words on what they have to do with negotiation.
- Guy Kawasaki and I share a birthday, so if there's anything to astrology, I should be famous and wildly successful sometime soon.
- Related content here: A Trial Lawyer's Guide To Social Networking Sites. Some nonlawyers have told me they found it useful as well.
(Image from Library of Congress via pingnews at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pingnews/2122158366/; license details there.)