Saturday, July 25, 2009

Return of the blog?

For the last three months — since the exam period of spring semester, really — I have stopped blogging. There are three big reasons for this.

First, I'm living in Berkeley, California, this summer, and I have certainly not made finding time to sit at my computer and write a big priority. In the two minutes I have worked on this post, I have already thought about the other things I could (and probably should) be doing: mailing clerkship applications, walking to the Berkeley Farmer's Market, generally being outside.

Second, the internet generally and blogging particularly makes for less personal contact. My friend and former boss, Jake, first brought up this point to me more than a year ago. His point has stuck in my mind, and I believe I agree with him more now than I did then. I sympathize with the plight of people like Dorothy and Andrew Yankanich, members of the WWII generation who can no longer walk across the street to drop their handwritten letters in a blue "snail shell." The internet has done many positive things for our culture, made the world smaller and democratized information, but it has not, on the whole, made our connections more personal. Not yet. I say "not yet" because just this week, I video-chatted with my older brother, who lives approximately 2,000 miles away. We hadn't seen each other's faces in a couple of months. Video chat is great.

Third, the searchability of blogs has created problems for aspiring defense lawyers. Members of the defense community simply cannot blog about work without getting themselves, or much more importantly, their clients, in trouble. Because I hope very soon to be a defense attorney, I cannot blog about what I do. I have wanted to say many things about the work I see and do every day, but I can't.

So, as I prepare for the end of summer and a return to my third year of law school, I continue to think about the usefulness of personal blogs. I'll likely continue this one, in some form. But I would love some feedback about how to make it great.

In the meantime, check out this great podcast on an experiment at Slate: which is more useful, newspapers or the Web? (Newspapers, of course.)