Nearly every time I’ve spoken about the Internet over the last seven years, I always end by saying something to the effect that “I’ve found the Internet to be a helpful and generous place. There have been many people who given me great advice and many kindnesses over the years, and, as a result, I’m always happy to try to help people out, if I can, so that they can also experience some of the good things I’ve found in my Internet experiences.”
I like to use the example of how in my earliest days of e-mail, I sent an e-mail to document assembly guru Marc Lauritsen and he quickly responded with a detailed and helpful response. I’ve always tried, not always successfully or promptly, to take the same approach.
I noticed two things today that re-emphasized to me that the world of legal blogging, at least in its current early history, embodies that same sense of generosity.
In part, the reason for this is that some of the same people who were in the earliest groups of lawyers with web sites are also in the earliest group of blawgers. But, it is more the case that the earliest group of blawgers (the “First Ones”) also have been very generous and helpful to new blawgers. As just one example, Ernie the Attorney, Tom Mighell, Denise Howell (I still owe her a belated congratulations on the baby and look forward to working with her on the IP Memes newsletter in 2004), and others have gone out of their way to mention new blawgs and give new blawgers a bigger audience and more recognition at the start than they could ever have imagined. By the way, I was talking with Ernie on the phone today and I still feel like I’m getting the chance to speak with a major celebrity.
So, today, I noticed that Jeff Beard at the LawTech Guru Blog said some extremely nice and generous things about both Ron Friedmann and Michael Arkfeld. Not that that suprised me – Jeff is one of the truly good guys.
Second, Internet-for-lawyers guru and regular writing partner of mine, Jerry Lawson, is doing a set of posts that show his great generosity and readiness to build communities.
And here’s the cool part. When I watch lawyers on the news talk shows, there always seems to be so much bitterness, divisiveness and polarization – all those things that give lawyers a bad name.
As we near the end of 2003, it is so cool to see how blogs have not only brought back the enthusiasm and energy of the early days of the web, but also provided a medium in which lawyers can show that the TV picture is not the only picture, that lawyers can be creative, generous and help in creating communities.
With that, I salute those who have created the blawgosphere in 2003.