Monday, June 26, 2006

Connie Crosby on the benefits of blogging

Connie Crosby's column "The Tao of Law Librarianship - The Truth About Blogging" in the latest LLRX.com is a great analysis of the benefits of blogging. Some choice excerpts:

You may not realize how insanely fast and easy setting up a blog can be. Using Blogger, and allowing them to host my blog at Blog*spot, I literally had my first blog set up in about fifteen minutes. And it was free with this particular provider. Thus, an obsession was born. A five minute post here, a ten minute rant there, add a feature or two on the public face of my blog, and soon I had a small body of writings that seemed like something almost substantial. I played with different styles or looks to the blog (many pre-developed styles are available), and learned to tweak the underlying HTML code to have fonts and colours looking the way I wanted. What a fast way to get my own opinions out without going through others’ editing and editorial policies. True digital democratization in action!
The next step was to tell others about it. I sent messages to two email lists inviting colleagues to read what I had posted. I had long been a prolific contributor to email lists, and could see how the blog would become my new outlet for professional news and opinions that might not be of interest to everyone on the lists. I also found some blog search engines and submitted mine to the mix....
We often hear “to be seen as an expert, write a blog,” but how quickly this medium opens doors has really been a great surprise to many. It is not unusual for those blogging about professional issues to be invited to write articles, speak at conferences, and to take part in a range of collaborative projects. I frequently compare notes with fellow bloggers, and have found many have been approached to expand on the perceived expertise demonstrated in their blogs.
My own blogging has led to guest blogging on others’ blogs, regular participation in collaborative blogs, increasingly prestigious speaking opportunities, invitations to teach, requests to have blog posts republished as newsletter articles, and invitations to contribute articles to newsletter type publications. One opportunity often leads to another, and it is quite breathtaking to answer that door when opportunity is knocking. In two short years I have gone from being known by a few in my local community to having some recognition across this continent and in other countries. Not everyone has been this fortunate, but I have come across others with similar stories.

Probably the best thing about blogging, however, is the community. I really had no idea a community existed until I actually experienced it....
The world of blogging, therefore, has very much the feel of the World Wide Web when it first came into existence. There is a sense that we have found something others have yet to discover, and that we are quickly making the globe a smaller place. While we do want others to experience the same thing, in other ways we don’t want the community to become over-populated, over-commoditized and over-commercialized. But give me a business proposition that allows me to remain true to my voice and my community, which gives me some remuneration for all this work, and I will probably at least entertain the idea.
There are a fair number of law libraries that have started blogs (like this one at the University at Buffalo), and I subscribe to most of them in Bloglines for news items, but the real value of blogs to me is the personal voice of bloggers like Connie, Steve Matthews, Rich Leiter, and a handful of others. I would love to see more law librarians willing to step forward and put their voice out their, outside of the impersonal, institutional blogs like our own ublaw phoenix. The institutional blogs are useful, but their usefulness is necessarily limited to a local audience, and few are compelling enough to encourage faculty, students, and attorneys to subscribe and actually read them. Law librarians are fascinating, creative people, and there are many of you I would love to hear!

5 comments:

Betsy McKenzie said...

I love Connie's blogging. All true.

Steve Matthews said...

I'd also like to see more Librarians spin off of their group blogs into solo entities. It's so obvious that Betsy McKenzie has found her blogging voice here at OOTJ. Is it time for a solo gig Betsy? You've got an open invite onto my blogroll. :-)

Connie said...

Ditto! Betsy, you are one of my faves! 8-)

Betsy McKenzie said...

Thank you! Thank you very much.

Jim Milles said...

Elvis has left the building!