By Kevin O'Keefe

Algorithmic Driven Publishing May Not Be Enough for Legal Blog Aggregation and Curation

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Hearing what Apple CEO, Tim Cook had to say in a recent speech in Brussels marking International Data Privacy Day has me rethinking the delivery of journalism via algorithms – particularly legal journalism, which is primarily blogging today.

Too many are still asking the question, ‘How much can we get away with?’ When they need to be asking, ‘What are the consequences?’

What are the consequences of prioritizing conspiracy theories and violent incitement simply because of the high rates of engagement?

What are the consequences of not just tolerating but rewarding content that undermines public trust in life-saving vaccinations?

What are the consequences of seeing thousands of users joining extremist groups and then perpetuating an algorithm that recommends even more?

It is long past time to stop pretending that this approach doesn’t come with a cause. A polarization of lost trust, and yes, of violence.”

A social dilemma cannot be allowed to become a social catastrophe.”

Speech and content on the Internet has been growing geometrically over the last couple decades.

First we had the democratization of publishing with blogging, WordPress and countless other publishing platforms.

Then we had social media which grave rise to commentary on other’s publishing, in addition to short form publishing itself on the social media platforms.

In the law, legal news and commentary, via legal blogging has exploded.

Publishing has been democratized, enabling legal professionals not previously allowed through the gates of traditional publisher to publish on their own.

Tens of thousands of lawyers are publishing on niches never covered by traditional legal publishers.

The legal profession and the public are already relying on search engines and algorithmic driven e-discovery and AI tools to find and discover items of relevance from legal publishing.

I use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all algorithmic-driven, to receive legal industry publishing

I am attracted by the ability of these platforms to drive to me items of value – personally and professionally. Because I use these platforms liberally, I don’t see the junk that others do.

But I am impressed by the quality of news and information some close friends receive from Apple News, self described as world class journalism. World class because of the use of editors, at least in part, to curate the delivery of news and commentary from hundreds of newspapers and magazines.

When it comes to legal blogs, I have always thought that algorithms would be needed at some point. How could we curate the volume of legal blog posts each day. Posts from around the world from thousands of lawyers.

Algorithms can even be more reliable than editors, even lawyers, who cannot match the expertise of niche focused blogging lawyers.

Signals as to what is being read, commented on, liked, cited and engaged – and by whom can tell publishers using algorithms what is likely strong legal news and commentary.

But law – even secondary law and commentary in the form of blogs is important, especially because it drives opinion and discussion on societal issues and influences judicial and legislative decision making.

Important enough that editors will play at least some role in the curation and delivery of legal blogging.

PS – I just resubscribed to Apple News to get a taste for editorial – at least in part – driven news.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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