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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

Bloggership: The Role of the Law Professor Blogger

A. Michael Froomkin

University of Miami School of Law

April 28, 2006

  • 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

But First, A Warning

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

this medium is not a message
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
the case for blogs as special
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?
is there a blog voice
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)
what are blogs good for i
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
what are blogs good for ii
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
what blogs are not so good for
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.
is something missing
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

What I Plan to Do About It: JOTWELL

“The Journal of What We Like (Lots)”

jotwell com
  • 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?
what it is not
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
why write for jotwell
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

Thank you

… and, soon,