By Tonya JohnsonA blog, short for web log, is an Internet journal. It can be updated at will with what are called posts or postings. Most blogs have space for comments by visitors, which create a kind of dialog between bloggers and readers. Many also include a "blogroll," or list of blogs that the blog owner likes or recommends. RSS subscriptions allow people to subscribe to your blog and be notified when you’ve posted new information. Posts are read in an RSS reader at the subscriber’s convenience.
There are different kinds of blogs: Microblogs are 140 characters or fewer. Blawgs are blogs by lawyers, law students, or law professors and focus on commentary about the law.
Like the Internet itself, blogs are popular in part because of their inexpensiveness, convenience, and reach. And they are indeed popular: in 2007 Internet search engine Technorati reported an average of 120,000 new blogs each day.
For bar associations, blogs offer the potential to create a membership community without requiring that members step away from their desks. A well done blog can enable bar members to share thoughts, opinions, and resources.
Building a Blog
There are several tools to help you build your blog. Wordpress and Blogger are popular blogging applications. Applications like Joomla! and Drupal (Free) or Microsoft Office SharePoint allow an organization to host a blog that supports a community of users.
Experienced bloggers suggest deciding the purpose of your blog and focusing on that to develop relevant content for and develop your audience. Lawyer and blawgger Dennis Kennedy suggests spending "at least a month or two trying to get a good feel for (1) the legal blog world and (2) the blog world at large."
Whether daily or weekly, a regular updating schedule is best for keeping and building blog readership. Decide how much time you have to devote to blogging and how often you’ll be able to post to your blog. If the blog is practice or section specific, it is a good idea to set aside or stockpile articles in order to have an inventory of material to post and keep the blog fresh.
Another option is to rotate blogging responsibilities among several staff. This will spread the burden of maintaining the update schedule.
Several bar associations have joined the "blogosphere":
New York State Bar Association Journal Editorial Blog is a forum for NYSBA members to comment on items from the Journal.
The Philadelphia Bar Association has blogs for its Criminal Justice section, Committee on Women in the Profession, and Young Lawyers Division.
The Last Word, from The Alabama State Bar Practice Management Assistance Program provides breaking news about bar activities, practice management tidbits, and other news.