I am often asked why I spend so much time blogging- given that it seems to have done very little to advance my law practice other than to make it widely known that I am a consumer tech geek. I think it goes back to my childhood. My Dad was in the radio and TV news business for 15 years before he became a Professor of Journalism at the University of South Carolina. In fact, he began working “on air” in commercial radio as a teenager. He later anchored two nationally syndicated news shows in the 1970’s, before entering academia. The point is– broadcasting is in my blood– ok, at least in my Dad’s blood.
Attempting to follow in my father’s footsteps, about the time I was 12 or 13, I set up an intercom system between mine and my younger sisters’ room– much to their dismay I then began broadcasting to them over my imaginary radio station “WBGB” (“Where better gets better”) during most of their summer waking hours. I played an eclectic mix of rock, jazz, country and classical records (yes– vinyl), basically the free promotional stuff that my Dad brought home from the radio station, interspersed with news and weather reports. My Dad thought it cute, and in an act of overt encouragement had a clock made up for me emblazoned with the WBGB call sign. Nevertheless, my “cable radio” broadcasting obsession drove my sisters nuts– although I was willfully blind to this fact.
My illusion of a receptive audience was destroyed when one day I happened to be passing by my sisters’ room and found that my radio station speaker had been covered with a large stack of pillows and blankets to muffle the sound– it appeared to have been that way for quite some time– judging from the cobwebs. There was no more denying the audience hated my programming. Rejection is tough pill, but a good teacher. I vowed in the future to try harder to appeal to my audience.
As time went by, I went to college, served in the Marine Corps (as a communications officer no less), and then went to Law School. Being a military officer and a litigation lawyer are protected environments for aspiring broadcasters because much of your audience is compelled (or feel compelled by your hourly rate) to listen to you– even if you bore them to tears.
With all that in mind, when I began blogging just over a year ago, my goal was to focus on technology issues of real interest to lawyers– an area of interest of mine for some time. It seems that I have succeeded on a modest scale, as on average over 200 “unique” persons visit my website on a daily basis (See below). That may seem pathetic, but think about it, that is over 6000 “unique” visitors per month (pity the poor non-unique visitors). The dilemma is that my blog has little to do with directly marketing my practice area, (which at the risk of incurring a big yawn, I will share with you is class action defense and complex business litigation– actually fun stuff). I suspect my partners think I’m crazy and would appreciate the conversion of blogging hours to billable hours, but they are kind enough to humor me– although they do tend to crack a smile when they mention my blogging obsession. The truth is– I have a passion for adopting technology to make the practice of law more efficient and yes– more fun. I also like to share my discoveries and love the occasional “ah ha” reactions of my colleagues when they discover how a particular technology can enhance their law practice.
OK, I also admit that another thing I like about blogging is the ability to broadcast to the world and see if I can attract an audience. Admittedly, blogging is somewhat of a sport for me– it’s like fishing– without all the nature, messy bait and exposure to fresh air. It’s like running your own international newspaper– without an editor, advertising revenue, and most obviously, a proofreader. My philosophy is to only blog on topics that I would read myself. If you do that, somebody will read your stuff. What interests people can be a big surprise. For example, my entry that has gotten the most hits over the past year was a piece on a $15 rubber iPad compatible key board being sold at Bed Bath and Beyond. See http://hytechlawyer.com/?p=228 (I should get a big run up in visitors just by mentioning the rubber keyboard again ).
In a future entry (or two), I will lay out how to set up a lawyer blog– why?– because you can never have too many lawyer blogs (the estimate is that there are over 10,000 already). You too can join the party.
Does any other blogger care to reply share why they do it? Can any blog reader explain why they wasted the time to read this blog? Does anybody have anything profound to say about technology and the practice of law– or anything else? (I love replies!– they are a bigger catch than unique visitors).
I have an idea– I will donate $1 dollar to charity for each “unique” reply posted to this blog by midnight EST January 30, 2012– up to $500. Follow-up replies (up to 5) will get credit as unique replies. In your reply, share your thoughts and vote for the charity you want to get the money. The charity with the most votes gets the pot. Obviously, I am quite desperate for attention and am willing to pay for it.
Until Next time–
This is Bill Latham, a/ka The Hytech Lawyer, signing off.