Expert Article Library

Do experts need a blog?

You're an expert. Should you consider a blog? Before you decide, you should understand about blogs and the pros and cons of getting into blogging. A contraction of the term "web log", a blog identifies a website with commentaries. Entries are shown in chronological order, newest first, and visitors can add their comments.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject while others serve as personal online diaries. No rules govern blogs. Anyone can start one, anyone can read them and add a comment. Unlike traditional journalism, no one stands behind the content—can you believe what you read? —and no one checks for plagiarism. Blogs are an on-line free-for-all and (almost) anything goes.

Many lawyers have started blogs, to comment on news and vent opinions. This type of blog has become known as a "Blawg," a word coined by Bill Gratsch in 2002. While not a blogger himself, Gratsch scoured the web looking for blogs that focused on legal subjects with the idea of creating a legal blog directory. He found only 57 legal blogs. Six years later his website – Blawg.com – listed more than 2,000 Blawgs.

In the "litigation Support" section, Gratsch lists nine blogs, but only one is related to Expert Witness work, Rosalie Hamilton's blog on marketing expert witnesses. (http://www.expertcommunications.blogspot.com/).

Does The World Need Another Blawg?

Should you start a blawg? Before you decide, you should answer some other questions first. Do you have the time and capability to dedicate to blawging? Will it be worth your effort?

And you should look at the blogs that already exist in your area of expertise. By looking at what your peers are doing, you can learn a lot. The website www.technorati.com lists blogs and blog entries, which should make it easier for you to find expert blogs. To find blogs in your area of expertise, www.Technorati.com lists blogs and blog entries by areas of expertise. A Technorati search for "expert witness" (within quotes) showed that most blog entries mentioning "expert witness" were actually news items, for many news websites now publish news items as blog items.

To get an idea of how it works, you might want to check one news item that had to do with an expert witness in a trial (http://technorati.com/posts/qi9N9i9U7Z9r_3bFxydoW78WuYgd7cOW1z3M8D%2B1eP4%3D) . The item was posted first on the website Techdirt.com. Technorati shows you that post as well as other blog posts that commented on it were linked to the post. This cycle of posting, comment, and link is part of what is known as the “Blogosphere.”

Do you have what it takes?

Experts can make important contributions to the Blogosphere? Reliable, knowledgeable commentary from a respected professional source is always valuable and too often not easy to find.

Starting your own blog is not complicated, and several blog platforms will host your blog free of charge. Check services such as blogger.com, or WordPress.com. These are professional services, which will help you get started, edit your blog, manage comments sent to your post, and find other blogs that may have quoted you. If this sounds like something you want to do, give it serious thought.

Only you can decide whether you want to be a blogger. It takes commitment and an investment of time and energy to create and maintain a blog that will be known and respected. When people comment on your entries, you will need to answer or, in some cases, delete the comment. A blog will provide visibility, but you will have to decide if this is what you want. Some experts advise against too much visibility, warning that when you express and share your opinions for posterity, an adversary can look them up and use your comments against you during a trial or a deposition.

If you like to write, have the time to spare, and are secure in your professional status, try blogging. But realize that the worst thing that you can do is to create a blog -and then abandon it. The Internet is littered with abandoned blogs, which not only frustrate an occasional reader but also suggests you may no longer be active in your field.