Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dan Solove's annual law professor blog survey

Professor Solove has posted his informative annual survey of law professor blogs, here.

I'm not so sure this blog really fits the "law professor blog" category, alas - certainly at this point it is badly named, as I am as likely to post on music or food as I am on laws of war or international law. Overall, my sense of law professor blogging is that it is most likely to stay focused on a legal topic where it is a group blog, with some sense of disciplinary discipline - international law, whatever it might be. A group blog also has the virtue of having a certain dependable volume of quality, informative posts in some area of law. Most professors, me included, read blogs to get current information, or some idea of matters on which we should be getting information. Not really to find out what Professor Anderson is playing on his cello, or even his electric cello. And not really to find out what Professor Anderson thinks about the Simpsons Movie, even if he is reviewing it for somebody or other. When you are on a serious group blog, you tend to have a mission and a sense of professionalism that, sadly, I quite lack on this blog. I post on this blog mostly in my downtime, when I am not thinking all that hard. There are some exceptions, but that's mostly what I do here.

I also use a blog as a means for advertising pieces of mine that might not otherwise have much exposure - who is going to look at the Madrid Revista de Libros, for example, if you're not in Spain? I subscribe, but does anyone else? For that matter, how many law professors read the TLS these days? Unless you are a big name professor, generally at a big name school, the mechanisms for distributing stuff have got very confused.

So I am a little bit embarrassed to have this infotainment blog posted up there along with all those other professionally serious blogs. Also, I'm embarrassed not to have some clever name for it. Balkinization - there's genius for you! The only thing that crossed my mind was "Andersonville," and that seemed to convey the wrong message, somehow.

My impression, too, is that there are a lot of quite serious professors who, for good reasons, stay well away from blogging as, well, a waste of time. They're probably right - it is uncannily similar, is it not, to that scene in Steve Martin's LA Story, where he and some friend go roller-skating through an LA art museum - "performance art, I call it," "goofing around, she calls it." Or something like that.