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Bloggership: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger . A. Michael Froomkin University of Miami School of Law April 28, 2006. Framing. I do three types of blogging Activist: (1999) “Personal”: (2003) Teacher: several classroom blogs at (2004)

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Bloggership the role of the law professor blogger l.jpg

Bloggership: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger

A. Michael Froomkin

University of Miami School of Law

April 28, 2006

Framing l.jpg

  • I do three types of blogging

    • Activist: (1999)

    • “Personal”: (2003)

    • Teacher: several classroom blogs at (2004)

  • They each taught me something

But first a warning l.jpg

But First, A Warning

“The plural of anecdote is ‘Blog’”-- Alex Harrowell,

This medium is not a message l.jpg
This Medium is Not a Message

  • ‘Blog’ is about easy packaging of existing tools

    • Part of an ecology of tools

      • Listservers are not dead

      • Very dependant on underlying layers

    • Vulnerable to comment & trackback spam

  • Is It Even a Medium?

    • Are blogs more like magazines ?

    • Or, to use, TV metaphor, a form like a sitcom or the local news

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The Case for Blogs as Special

  • Tools do shape content

    • ‘Power corrupts – and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely’

  • Blogs are popular – and that matters:

    • ‘Quantity has a quality all its own’

  • Technoquirks

    • Orin’s “RCO” – reverse chronological order

    • Links

    • Comments

    • Trackbacks

    • Google rankings, TLB Ecosystem, Technorati

    • The long tail, the ‘A’ List, ‘B’ list, etc.

      • Not so new, but never so evident (cf. Caron) – is this what we value now?

      • How different is the hierarchy (as evidenced by this event) from the one that we had before?

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Is There a Blog ‘Voice’?

  • Blogging vs. law review articles

    • Blog discipline

      • Informal

      • No editors

      • Links instead of footnotes

      • Continual feedback (hits, links vs. placement)

    • Not ‘undisciplined’ but very different from the law journals, books, treatises world

  • I write differently in each type of blog (and again in law review articles)

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What Are Blogs Good For (I)

  • Activism

    • Making Visible (“Bully pulpit”)

      • Mau-mauing the MSM

    • Specialist

      • ICANNWatch

    • Organizing

      • Campaign tools

    • Bearing Witness

  • “Public Intellectual”

  • Out-of-sub-discipline scholarship

    • Torture memos

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What Are Blogs Good For (II)

  • Awareness

    • Bashman, Solum

    • In-field

      • Lots of tech blogs, IP blogs

      • Where are the adlaw blogs?

    • Out of field

      • Mirror of Justice

  • Error detection

    • E.g. Eric Muller & Greg Robinson on Malkin's In Defense of Internment

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What Blogs Are Not So Good For

  • This event is not being conducted on a blog

  • Traditional Treatises

    • (but see wikis)

    • Heriot disagrees ??

  • Details

    • Footnotes do have value

    • Footnotes may even be the key to lawyers’ claim to belonging in universities instead of trade schools.

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Is Something Missing?

  • Things that work

    • Activist? √

    • Recent development awareness (cases, crises) √

    • Hot newsy topical discussion √

  • But filtering of academic writing is still uneven,

    • What’s new in the law reviews? What should I read?

      • SRRN is only very lightly filtered

      • And, there’s Larry Solum

        • But Larry reads too much

    • So none of this is exactly the filtering I want…

What i plan to do about it jotwell l.jpg

What I Plan to Do About It: JOTWELL

“The Journal of What We Like (Lots)”

Jotwell com l.jpg

  • Short (2-4pp) reviews of academic work

    • Explaining why it’s worth reading

    • Appreciations of new contributions, maybe situating them in a literature

    • An intermediary between readers and the torrent of SSRN / BePress & journals

      • Maybe the occasional re-appreciation of a classic

  • Bloggy: Room for comments and discussion

  • Not bloggy: will not publish too often

  • Organizational issue: general interest or some topical division?

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What It Is Not

  • Not the legal version of the Journal of Economic Literature

  • Not review articles of a topic

  • Not about what is in other blogs

    • Not even their scholarly contributions

    • …at least in version 1.0

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Why Write for Jotwell?

  • You read the article

  • You loved the article

  • You want to draw attention to the article

  • Law reviews don’t publish “book reviews” of articles

  • Our profession over-values “critique” and under-celebrates what deserves praise

  • By calling attention to interesting new scholarship, you can help promote interesting discussions, in the best traditions of the academy

Thank you l.jpg

Thank you

[email protected]

… and, soon,