I have always viewed blogging as all together different than writing an article. Blogging is a conversation where by listening to relevant discussion you engage those in the conversation.
If you want to post “articles” to the web using a blog platform, fine, but do not confuse that with blogging. Articles are static. Blogging is dynamic. Bloggers do more than just write posts. They socialize.
Articles are one way. I write it. I distribute it. You read it. Think magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. Circulation and eyeballs are measures of success.
Blogs engage. Blogs mix it up with readers and other bloggers. Relationships and word of mouth reputation are measures of success.
Those of you blogging long enough will remember the ‘permalink’ and the ‘trackback.’ Both were created to enable bloggers to engage.
A permalink was a permanent link for reach blog post. This way bloggers could link to a post in order to engage another blogger.
Trackbacks signaled to the blogger and readers of the blog that another blogger had engaged the blog post and blogger. Trackbacks were displayed at the bottom of a blog post in the form of titles of the posts linking to the subject blog post.
We also monitored the url for our blog, the title of our blog, and our name in a RSS reader. That way we could see how others were engaging us and respond to them via our blog or in a comment at their blog post.
Think writing (articles) versus engagement (blogging). As author and senior researcher at Harvard’s BerkmanCenter, David Weinberger (@dweinberger), explained last week, referencing the origins of blogging.
Some bloggers posted without engaging, but the prototypical blogger treated a post as one statement in a continuing conversation. That often made the tone more conversational and lowered the demand that one present the final word on some topic.
To dismiss the difference between writing an article and blogging is fatal for lawyers. Lawyers get their best work through relationships and word of mouth. Both come via networking.
Your blog, when used for engagement, gives you a presence on the net. A presence which enables you to nurture relationships and build a reputation. An article, like a website, does not give a presence. You don’t network with an article.
Going forward, lawyers and law firms looking for true success will come to understand that blogging is not writing articles, but networking and engagement through conversation.