You now have the most widely read lawyer probably ever, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at Tennessee, telling you blogs establish trust. The public trusts lawyers less than any other profession than the media. Lawyers and the power brokers at the ABA, state bar associations and Martindale always talk a good game about improving the image of our profession but do not do a gosh darn thing that improves our image.
What are we waiting for as lawyers? If we are waiting for the ABA, state bars, Martindale or FindLaw to give you a good blogging tool, teach you how to use it and show you how to communicate on the Internet so as to improve the image of lawyers and grow your business, forget it. They have had their chance – it’s time you seize the opportunity presented you by blogs.
Explaining that his speach really ought not be entitled ‘Bloggers: The New Power Brokers,’ Reynolds said:
What bloggers really are is not power brokers, so much, though there are a few who aspire to that role – they are ‘power breakers.’ What bloggers have done is cut back on the power of gate-keepers, of middlemen, of agenda setters, by allowing the end run, that sort of thing. And that has opened up communications vertically, horizontally, and in all sorts of ways.
One the trust factor:
The other interesting thing that blogs do is they establish trust. They establish trust with strangers, and I have this phenomenon every time I come to events like this: I meet people that I’ve never met in the flesh before, and that I know only through their blogs, and I feel like I already know them, and I’m usually right, that I know them pretty well. And I’ve come, many times, to rely on people based on what I’ve read on their blogs. Um, some of you may remember one example, the Iraqi blogger, who reported on war crimes by U.S. troops…a lot of people doubted him…I was inclined to trust him, because I’d read his blog for quite a while, and I felt like his other stuff was accurate, and this was in character…turned out to be true, alas.
On the value of people sharing opinions from one person to another (my example is knowing which lawyer to hire)
My own theory is that we’re actually evolutionarily ‘hard-wired’ to share our opinions, back to when we lived in tribes, and it was important that you told somebody next to you, ‘You know, there might be tigers in that cave.’ You had a powerful desire to share these views. …We like to share our opinions, it’s built-in, and now, lots of people can do it. You don’t have to find some corporate sponsor who will spring for $50 million dollars worth of equipment to film you, and distribute your image around, you can do it yourself now. And people are doing it.
Great stuff Glenn.