Well, I think I’m near-completely outed as the Scoplaw, which pretty much conforms to my second semester plans. I’m always a bit surprised when people outside my section ID me, though I don’t know why I should be. How many dorm-dwelling, bicycling poets are in Section 3? If you read this and haven't yet said "Hi" or e-mailed me, please feel free to do so. The Blawg isn't a dirty little secret or anything.
OK – quick recap for GULC peeps. I will not name you by name unless you openly blawg yourself and the occasion for my mentioning you is not outré. If anyone is uncomfortable with their monikers/sobriquets or would like to be categorically non-blawgable, please let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate your preferences.
I’m trying to keep my name mostly dissociated with the blawg in an effort to stave off prejudice by possible employers. The goal is not pure anonymity, but rather to keep the Scoplaw blawg googlenonymous (a wonderful neologism by Neo Tokyo Times, a NYU 1L blawgger, and a fav. read of mine).
Well, in response to some recent questions about the Scoplaw blawg – why Blawg?
Blogs in general come in all kinds of types and flavors. There are blogs that serve as publishing outlets for news (generally issue specific), satirical blawgs which take on the LS experience directly, professional blawgs (focusing on one type of law), "open letter" blawgs (relating one individuals musings/experiences in a particular context), shit that makes you laugh, all the permutations of a kind of general "personal web-log" which mix some of these categories (hard to pull off), and many others which offer unique viewpoints from a noted figure, or witty and useful overviews/aggregations (legal profession). Often the blogs that get the most hits project a consistent narrative persona and return to an odd mix of the trivial (accessible) and useful (intelligent analysis). The ones I've linked to here (and the ones on my blawg-roll) I consider to be excellent reading. Sometimes you're hooked into a great story - I mean who can't root for a mom going back to law school?
So why do I blawg? - and why do I blawg as I do, in a mishmash of anecdote, poetry, poetics, and a little leavening of law?
I fielded this question awhile ago for Flashes of Panic, and I’ll just expand on it here. I think the blawg has five primary benefits for me.
First, it’s a chronicle of the minutiae of my life – friends are welcome to read it to find out “what’s going on” with me, what’s on my mind, where my first drafts are coming from, what poems I’m revising, etc. The blawg has radically cut down on my day-to-day correspondence (see point 5) which frees up time.
Second, with the caveat that the blawg is an edited public document, it’s still a fairly good record of what I did, what I was thinking, etc. And like all journals, the blawg is a sort of an outline I can consult to prompt recall of all kinds of non-blawgable things which happened concurrently with the blawgable stories, and in that sense, at the most basic level, it helps me make sense of things by calling patterns to my attention.
Third, the blawg adds to the public discourse. Hopefully there are also some nuggets of use in the blawg – I get a number of homebuilders writing me about the fixed gear conversion I did, and every now and then someone will write to ask about GULC, or say that they enjoyed a poem, or ask about poetics, or say that they just enjoyed another perspective on the exam processes. I think small kind of community service alone is probably worth my time. I’d argue that this is really the best non-personal reason for blawgging. Take Blawgwisdom for example – a website full of common sense advice from law students all over the country. It may be “subjective” and “unofficial” advice – but then again that’s its strength. Great, great stuff.
Fourth, I think the process of blawging itself is a good. Creating an entry (of almost any kind) usually means looking over the past 24 hours of my life and reflecting on what I did and why. In some senses, writing can be much like prayer or meditation – but that crosses over into poetry and poetics and might run too far afield of the question, “Why Blawg?” as opposed to, “Why not keep a purely private journal?” For that you’d have to go back to the first reason and add that even a small audience of friends helps keep the writing honest – simply knowing that anyone could write in and disagree with your postings is an incentive to think things out to a certain degree. Sure, you lose the complete ruckus you can make in a private journal – perhaps some of the cathartic elements, the riskier thoughts, but at the same time you don’t feel as though you’re speaking to no one.
Fifth, the blawg is a particularly good fit for me in terms of correspondence and conversation. I used to do a lot of internet writing as part of a somewhat idealistic attempt to create a free graduate level workshop (for poetry, mostly) on the web. I ended up writing a lot – probably the equivalent of 3 or so of these posts every day for many years. The blawg lets me stretch a bit. I can post which poems I want, not bother with critiquing, speculate a bit on poetics, etc.
For correspondence – I can have public/private dialogs with people via the blawg and e-mail that seem a bit more compact for the blawg’s presence.
For another perspective, In Limine has a good entry on blogging under the provocative title, Is Blogging Unhealthy?