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Ignorance is bliss for legal bloggers and publishers

Legal blog RSS feeds
January 7, 2016

Even though legal publishers, both law firms and traditional media, put a lot of time and effort into publishing, their publishing platforms are often outdated, deficient or broken. Worst of all, the publishers have no idea.

Like many people I use Feedly, a news aggregator, to stay abreast of news, information, developments and commentary. Others use Manzama, Zama, Flipboard or corporate-installed news aggregators. I liberally share what I read directly from Feedly to Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social sharing like this is how news moves today, lots of people read and share. We call it social media.

Most of the items shared are shared by a select group within particular industries. They are called the influencers. Knowing this, you would think publishers—both traditional media as well as niche publishers such as law firms and other professional services firms—would make it easy for these influencers to receive their published content and to share it.

Surprisingly, it’s not the case. The reporters and editors of the ABA Journal put out some great stories. However, the RSS feeds of their stories no longer display in Feedly in the iOS operating system. With most influencers using mobile, particularly an iPhone or iPad, you would think the problem would be corrected. It’s not been and thus I can no longer share their stories. It’s the same for others.

A major state bar association just released an excellent publication on technology, word of which I saw on Facebook. I went to read the publication on my iPhone 6 Plus, on which I read most of my content, and the publication was unreadable.

I, and others in my company, go to countless law firm blogs whose RSS feeds are broken, let alone the publications are not mobile-ready. Without working RSS feeds their blogs do not reach RSS readers or aggregators of content, whether it be something like Flipboard or corporate news aggregators being used by many companies.

It’s sad. Talented professionals, including lawyers billing hundreds of dollars an hour, are putting in a lot of time and effort to publish and don’t know the platform they are using is broken or deficient.

Their insight, news and commentary is not reaching the people they want to reach. Many influencers cannot and are not reading and spreading, via social, their copy. And unfortunately, no one knows better. If they do know better they feel their hands are tied as to getting things fixed.

How is all this happening? I am no wizard, but it looks like a combination of the publishers not understanding technology, companies selling publishing software that doesn’t work, companies selling publishing software that they don’t continue to update, and both the companies and the publishers not knowing how things should optimally work for consumption and sharing on social media.

Ignorance is truly bliss here. The vast majority of the publishers running deficient software and publishing platforms believe everything is fine. Call a lawyer and tell them their RSS feeds are broken. Let a bar association know that a PDF-like format is tough or impossible to read on an iPhone. Tell a traditional reporter that their feeds are not displaying on the most popular news aggregator.

You’ll get a shrug. And why not. They don’t know what you’re talking about. Others will dismiss the comments as complaining about small things which would have been dealt with by their tech or software folks if they were all that important.

The problem seems to lie with the publishers, their tech people and the companies selling them publishing software not being heavy users of RSS readers and the other tools being used by the influencers, including bloggers and many reporters. Otherwise they would feel the frustration they are creating for these folks. They would know they look foolish to the people they ought to be impressing.

Earth-shattering problems? No, but problems that ought to be identified and corrected based on the amount of time that goes into publishing and the reputation the publishers are looking to maintain.

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