Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
That’s right. If you’re a lawyer thinking of starting a blog to join the thousands of lawyers who are further enhancing their reputation as a reliable and trusted authority in a niche and growing their business through blogging, forget it. Put out 140 character ‘tweets’ on Twitter, post pictures of your kids on Flickr, and start posting on your old college roomate’s wall on Facebook.
Boutin’s reasoning is that blogs are too impersonal, that it’s too hard now to rise to the top 100 most read blogs, that blogs now only draw the insult commenter, and that blogs require more than the 140 characters of text Twitter allows for.
None of the reasons touted by Boutin apply to you as a lawyer. Getting known ‘as a person’ by prospective clients is a side benefit of blogging. But personal relationships is not the driving goal of a lawyer. Sharing helpful information and commentary. Entering into a conversation with other thought leaders in your niche. Getting found on the search engines when people search for a lawyer of your ilk. All much more important than getting up front and personal.
Who cares if you’re in the top 100 blogs? I’m a VC looking for insight on nanotechnology issues in Northern California. You blog on the subject. That VC, academics, engineers, entrepreneurs, and referring lawyers with an interest in nanotechnology throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley read every post you write. And you’re supposed to trash your blog and chase a popularity contest?
Insult commenters? A well trafficked law blog draws 2 or 3 comments a month. The only people more scared of ethics, liability, and privacy issues arising from comments on a law blog than you as a lawyer are members of the public who don’t want to share confidences and who don’t trust lawyers.
LexBlog hosts over 500 blogs and works with over 1,500 blog authors. Insult comments have never been an issue. Plus all comments are moderated. Comments don’t get live unless you approve them.
Twitter’s great. It’s one of the leading traffic generators to my blog. It’s been an excellent way for me to get to know other professionals, bloggers, reporters, conference coordinators, and referral sources.
But I’m going to trash my blog where I share my insight and commentary on how to use blogs and social media for law firm marketing for Twitter? And I’m no longer going to have a place where people looking for relevant information find me via Google in a New York second? And my blog posts are no longer going to be cited by main stream media reporters and other legal professionals in their blog posts and ‘tweets.’ Get real.
If Boutin’s goal was to write a controversial piece drawing commentary around the blogosphere so as to drive traffic to Wired, mission accomplished. If his goal was to provide helpful information to readers, this is a bunch of horse pucky.