Reports of the Death of Blogging Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Thoughts Prompted by Making the Blawg 100 Again

I heard yesterday that this blog has been included in the ABA Journal’s 2013 Blawg 100—its list of the hundred best law blogs. (Go here for the complete list.) I celebrated by ordering a room-service sandwich at the Hilton Abu Dhabi.

“Best of” lists are generally silly, but the Blawg 100 is a bit less silly than most. It’s to the ABA Journal’s credit that they evidently devote time and attention to compiling the list.

Making the list again—for the fourth time in five years—caused me to ponder briefly my seven years of blogging, and the following came to mind.

“Ed,” the anonymous editor of the Blawg Review, died recently. (Go here for the ABA Journal’s account.) The Blawg Review, which ran from 2005 to 2012, was a weekly compilation of links to a selection of that week’s blog posts. Each week it was hosted by a different blogger. Some tributes to Ed emphasized how the Blawg Review was associated with the “golden age” of blogging, before it became overrun with self promoters.

In a similar vein, a few months ago Carolyn Elefant tweeted about how blogging has become less conversational, and I said on Twitter that I agreed with her.

But here’s my perhaps slightly contrarian take on this. The “golden age” of blogging might have been a function of blogging’s relative novelty. When an activity is still new, you tend to focus a fair amount of attention on the fact that you’re engaging in the activity at all. Look, Ma, I’m blogging! And you tend to gravitate toward those who engage in the activity. But over time, the activity loses its novelty, and you focus more on your own contribution and your own needs.

So these days, I read blogs much less than I used to. That’s because only a couple focus on contracts, and only occasionally does some other blogger write about something relevant to contract drafting. As regards the blogosphere generally, on Feedly I subscribe to around seventy blogs, and reading them consists mostly of skimming the titles of posts and ignoring about 19 out of 20. It follows that I also comment less. And if Blawg Review were still around, I probably wouldn’t read it.

That doesn’t mean that the Blawg Review belonged to some blogging prelapsarian idyll, and it doesn’t mean that I’m a self-promoting huckster. It just means that blogging has grown up.

Incidentally, I hadn’t expected that I’d still be blogging after seven years. I had thought that I’d have run out of things to say, but instead I’m still exploring topics that are plenty interesting to me and, I hope, others. Think of a blog as a rocket. It might be that if it goes high enough—if your subject is novel enough and interesting enough, and if you write well enough—then when it falls, the arc of its trajectory will be parallel to the surface of the earth, and you fall into orbit around the earth, and you keep on orbiting.

Of course at some time we all burn up on reentry into the atmosphere, but I don’t expect that will happen to this blog for a good while yet.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.