I was struck by Steve Matthews comment in an interview here today that one big difference between US and Canadian law bloggers is that Canadians are more social.
One aspect Canadian law bloggers do very well is the social side of blogging. We actively read and link to each other’s blogs. There are many great conversations, debates, and generally a strong web-community being developed.
It could be the fact that we’re smaller, but I also give a lot of credit to Slaw.ca, our Canadian legal blogging co-op. Simon Fodden has done a great job of expanding both the range of participants and the topics we’re discussing. There’s also a core group of us that work hard at welcoming & acknowledging new Canadian legal blogs. I think that’s important.
Steve’s point is well taken. Though there are many exceptions, lawyers in the States are slow to link to other lawyers. They’re not apt to welcome with open arms another lawyer blogging in the same area of law with a post introducing them to the blog community. There’s not many great conversations between blogs.
I think there’s some of the competitive thing going on. Americans love to compete and stay a leg ahead of others. But there may be a social side to this as well. We’re not as laid back as folks from countries.
Traveling to Canada, at least to Montreal and Vancouver, where I’ve been in the last year, I find people to be more social, more relaxed, more apt to entertain than in the States. It seems a lot like Europe that way. I’m always saying driving up to Vancouver from Seattle is like driving to Europe.
Look at the ABA TechShow. Dominic Jarr (Montreal) and Jean-Francois De Rico (Quebec City) come down from Quebec. Everyone wants to go out to cocktails and dinner with them. Speakers hosted tables at various restaurants and theirs had a waiting list. Other speaker tables attracted 1 or 2 people. And who else has a Wine and Information Management Blog than Dominic?
Wild thing is that, despite what lawyers may think, being more social is what brings more traffic to your blog. Linking out to other blogs in your niche, posting comments on other’s blogs (rarely done by American lawyers), and writing about other lawyers gets people’s attention. And attention is what gets subscribers. And subscribers gets more people talking about you and your blog content on and offline.
Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but I think Steve’s onto something.