The State of the Blogosphere
With 2007 drawing to a close, I've noticed a couple of posts on the "state of the blogosphere" and predictions about the future. At Volokh, Orin Kerr remarks that 2007, for the most part "was a year of little growth or even a slight decline among law blogs." Kerr cites David Lat's Above the Law as the year's biggest success, but other than that, he senses that "there hasn't been a lot of growth in overall law blog postings and readership." Kerr offers two possibilities: Either blogging has hit a saturation point, or blogger enthusiasm is declining as some begin realize that blogging involves "a lot of hard work."
Daniel Solove picks up the conversation at Concurring Opinions. To some degree, Solove agrees with Kerr that blogging may have reached a saturation point. Solove explains:
Many blogs have very small audiences. Only a few law blogs have more than 1000 readers per day. My guess is that the number of law blogs with more than 1000 readers has not increased dramatically over the past few years. There are so many blogs that a person can read, and many folks have found their favorites now and are content.
Solove also offers some interesting predictions about the future of blogging. These include:
- Popular blogs will continue to grow their audience, and only a few new blogs will break into the upper echelons;
- More law professors and lawyers will blog, some temporarily as guest bloggers;
- More new and/or younger law professors will blog to advance their careers;
- Blog readership will grow steadily, albeit not exponentially, and most new readers will gravitate to established blogs.
Kerr and Solove raise some sound points, but I think that there's much that they've overlooked. Here are my predictions:
- We'll see many more lawyers, particularly those at small and midsize law firms, growing their business by starting blogs directed at local niche markets.
- With 2008 as an election year, we'll see a resurgence of blogs like Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog. Also expect added media attention on blogs like Doug Berman's Sentencing Law Blog, which covers sentencing issues such as capital punishment that may be potential fodder for presidential debates. SCOTUS Blog may also figure more prominently, as candidates are questioned about their views on potential Supreme Court nominees.
- 2008 will be a banner year for single-issue blogging, like David Rossmiller's coverage of "everything Richard Scruggs," Above the Law's coverage of Aaron Charney's lawsuit against Sullivan & Cromwell or Durham in Wonderland, covering the Duke lacrosse team rape case. Lawyers looking to write a "break-out blog" ought to identify a hot issue and run with it.
- With the increased availability of wireless Internet access, we can expect more live blogging of important trials and appellate arguments.
- Law firms will continue to flounder when it comes to PR in the blogosphere, as did Nixon Peabody with its response to the release of its theme song or Cohen Grigsby's troubles following a YouTube video featuring CG lawyers' immigration advice on how not to hire Americans or those firms that lobbed heavy-handed cease-and-desist letters. This year will be a learning year for law firms on how to protect their own reputation as well as that of their clients in the blogosphere. I predict that by the end of the year, law firms will surmount the learning curve, and we'll see more law firms using blogs in a more proactive way to promote their reputations.
- Finally, more lawyers will add video commentary to their blogs to add personality and differentiate them from the pack.
Now that my predictions are committed to writing, you can hold me to them at the end of next year. In the meantime, readers, what do you think lies ahead for blogging in 2008?
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 20, 2007 at 04:03 PM | Permalink
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