April 28, 2006

Live-blogging the Bloggership conference!

I'm here, in the nerdy front row, and I'll be live-blogging all day.

Here's the link if you want to listen. No video, so you'll just have to picture a bunch of lawproffy types in a cavernous auditorium at Harvard Law School.

Next to me is Randy Barnett, who's reading my blogging on his Palm Treo 650, showing me that he's reading it, taking a picture of me blogging, and emailing me the picture to blog. Is that self-referential enough for you? It's really, really bloggy. And we're just getting started.

The photo:


Don't you love technology?

Gordon Smith is nudging me and saying pay attention. Good point! Live-blogging should entail paying attention. Paul Caron is talking. And Gordon is also live-blogging. Do we care about what the speaker is saying or what the bloggers in the audience are blogging about it and linking to each other and blogging about the blogging?

9:13: Here's the agenda, listing the times of the speakers. Paul Caron is doing the introduction, assembling a lot of statistics about blogging and scholarship. Paul used a lot of PowerPoint slides. There's a huge screen, and I haven't got slides myself. Now Doug Berman is speaking, and he's just displaying his blog on the big screen. So I guess I'll end up putting mine up too and that will mean this very post will be up on the screen. Should lawprofs be blogging?, Doug Berman asks. Hey, Randy's commenting on this post, I just noticed, causing him to turn that Treo thing away. I have to read it the tech way, after he posts it here.

9:22: Here's Gordon's live-blogging post. He notes the many empty seats in the room, so we big bloggers aren't such a huge draw. Somehow, I think the students are probably sleeping at this hour. Or are they studying or taking exams? Is anyone listening to the live feed? Gordon is putting together his PowerPoint slides, Googling for a picture for "network."

9:27: Berman rejects the notion that lawprof blogs are like listening in on a faculty lounge conversation. "It's not as robust and engaged as the law professor blogosphere is." I'm trying to think if things in Lubar Lounge are "robust and engaged." Randy tells me he can't post his comment because he doesn't have a Blogger account. Email it to me:
It is divine to be seated next to Ms. Althouse watching her at work . . . I mean at play. Maybe she will let me borrow her PC so I can post a link on the Volokh Conspiracy to her blogging here. I have not yet installed a blogging client on my Treo 650.
He used the Althouse code word "divine," but he called my PowerBook a "PC."

9:37: Larry Solum says blogs aren't changing anything about legal scholarship but are manifestations of other changes. He loves very long law review articles, but concedes that no one reads them. Yes, it's a funny thing about blogging: it's read. You have these elaborately written things that aren't read, and then everyone thinks of blogging as just thrown together. But short posts can be carefully written, and they can embody ideas that you have thought through in more formal scholarship. Larry's saying that short form "disintermediated" writing is a trend, and not just in blogging. He'd like to see a Wiki law encyclopedia.

9:47: Kate Litvak, commenting on the laptops in the audience, says she's going to ban computers in the classroom. Is she trying to tell me to to close the laptop? She's the panelist who doesn't have a blog.

10:05: Paul Butler starts the commentary on the articles, which he finds insufficiently excited about blogging. He says: "The blog is walking up to legal scholarship and slapping it in the face."

10:10: Butler asks, "What if law review articles had Site Meters?"

Eric Muller blogs a contribution to the scholarship and blogging conversation.

10:17: Jim Lindgren: "Why do you want to know if it's scholarship or not?"

10:35: Ellen Podgor says that before she started blogging -- at White Collar Crime Prof Blog -- she had never been quoted in the Wall Street Journal. She teaches at Stetson, note well. The reporters used to call lawprofs based on their law schools. Blogging can shake up the hierarchy and give different people a chance to be heard.

11:10: Gail Heriot says blogging is fun and lawprofs can do whatever we want. That's stating the problem plainly! "The legal academy has turned inward on itself," she says, describing what legal scholarship has become. It doesn't speak to lawyers and judges. Blogging lets the lawprof get back in connection with the practical legal world, to influence people on the issues of the day.

11:22: The audience has gotten a lot bigger since the break. I wonder if people in the room are reading my simulblogging. Leave a comment! Or are you going to tell me you can't register with Blogger? Email me, then (my last name, followed by @wisc.edu).

11:26: Orin Kerr starts off funny. He uses the computer on the lectern to check his Site Meter statistics. He's all, "Hold on just a sec..." Then he pretends he's accidentally brought his old notes from a 1999 conference called "Listservship: How Email Is Changing Legal Scholarship).

11:35: Orin ends by saying that if anyone is live-blogging the conference, we should say that he got thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Now, Gordon is up and he starts by displaying this post of mine, photo and all. He calls attention to the part about how he's putting together his PowerPoint slides, and then that's his intro into his PowerPoint presentation.

11:45: Gordon does care about whether blogging is considered scholarship, because he wants to legitimate what he's doing. Randy Barnett is next, and he frets about the "flight from scholarship," which has long been the "dirty little secret" of lawprofdom. "It's a syndrome," one symptom of which is saying nobody reads legal scholarship, and it doesn't matter. "I should also mention that a lot of law professors don't like teaching. Or serving on committees." Lots of lawprofs are looking for "something else." And along comes blogging, and the self-justifications of the lawprofs who get into it.

Bloggership Conference

12:00: Michael Froomkin mentions classroom blogs. He suggests that lawprofs write 1 or 2 page posts reviewing long-form scholarship.

12:10. Question time. They've got a microphone now. The first question is about the "performative" nature of blogging, meaning that bloggers are performing for an audience.

2:00. Back from lunch, and now Glenn Reynolds is video-ing in his talk. He did not -- as I thought he might -- laugh at us for going to the conference, us low-tech losers. Walking to lunch, we were talking about the coming video'd-in performance, and Randy Barnett commented on how Glenn was going to be a 12 foot head on the screen, then said that Glenn Reynolds actually was a 12 foot head, which is why he couldn't appear in person. Waiting for the talk to start, Jim Lindgren compared him to Orson on "Mork and Mindy." Glenn compared himself to some other pop culture character on a screen, but I've forgotten which one. Anyway, Glenn's talking about why there are so few libel suits against bloggers. Answer: Bloggers are unlikely to commit libel. They're big on support, and their mistakes get pointed out and corrected quickly. Also, bloggers are less trusted so the crap they (we) say causes less harm.

2:15: Eugene Volokh is talking about blogging and liability. Lots of detail: listen to the podcast. Should bloggers get worse treatment than traditional journalists? That's just one of many things he covered.

2:30: Eric Goldman has a very specific topic: group blogging activities. Being a solo blogger, I guess I don't have to worry about these problems... unless you commenters are causing problems.

2:38: Jim Lindgren types with one finger. You rarely see that anymore.

2:50: Betsy Malloy is talking about anonymous bloggers and what rights they have to preserve their privacy.

2:55: Daniel Solove is comparing Eugene Volokh and Jessica Cutler (the "Washingtonienne"): both so love to blog about sex.

3:45: My panel is about to start. I'm up on the dais now and feeling nervous, even though I think there will hardly be any audience left (except out there is cyberspace, so I guess I can't just fool around). I check my email. A student at Georgetown has sent me this:


3:50: Larry Ribstein is listing the categories of lawprof blogposts: amateur journalism, self-expression, "blogicles" (little law scholarship articles), self-promotion (getting people to download your articles), and publicly engaged academic posts ("PEAPs").

The PEAPs idea is to "leverage your expertise" as you contribute to the public debate. You tap your serious scholarship, as you write about some timely issue.

4:05: I notice that Glenn noticed I was blogging about his head.

4:22: I'm done! Having written my article in bloggish form, I tried to do the talk in podcasty form (which is bizarrely stressful!).

4:25: Christine Hurt is talking about blogging without tenure.

4:28: Christine says that by blogging -- as part of reading the news every day -- she forces herself to keep up with legal developments, which gives her a headstart on the serious projects she begins in the summer. If she weren't blogging, she says, she'd be more consumed with teaching during the school year and putting off reading up on the current developments. This is a good point: I know I read cases as soon as they come out, cases that, pre-blogging, I would have just downloaded for later consumption.

4:38: Howard Bashman is up to comment on Larry, Christine, and me. He also has a lot to say about his blog, How Appealing.

4:50. Peter Lattman, the Wall Street Journal legal blogger, is next. He says journalists don't see bloggers as competition, but as fodder.

5:12. Nice questions. Listen to them in the podcast. Now, Harvard lawprof Charles Nesson is closing and talking about the Berkman Center, which sponsored the event. The internet, he says, has thrived because large institutions haven't figured out how to use it yet. There's a danger now, and he has a proposal, which you can hear on the podcast.


ADDED: Douglas Berman was live-blogging here. And Larry Solum sort of disagrees with me here (that is, he thinks that to be taken seriously, a law scholar had better keep the fun stuff on a separate blog). Solum is concerned about how "academic administrators" will figure out how to reward the part of the blog that deserves to be considered part of one's professional work. I'll just say that I have not encountered this problem at the University of Wisconsin Law School and assert that that makes my school cooler than the schools that fret about clear line drawing, like a child eating dinner and worring that the meat is touching the mashed potatoes!


Ann Althouse said...

Bunker: I think it's really cool to study ticks! Do you have a tick blog? I haven't been thinking about ticks much, but would surely like to. Seriously!

Anonymous said...

I think all lawyers should blog.

Apparently we the people are not allowed to ask Supreme Court Justices anything about anything, and equally apparently, Supreme Court Justices are able to arrive at the court, after a lifetime of being an zealous advocate, with the ability to separate personal biases from the matters at hand.

Blogging is the cure for pap infallibility of lawyers.

Tonya said...

I find it interesting that there are no Harvard Law School faculty bloggers on the program. Are any of the faculty there bloggers?

Smilin' Jack said...

You went to a conference on blogging!? Talk about not getting the concept!

The internet is all about never having to leave your room, much less the state.

Unknown said...

"Somehow, I think the students are probably sleeping at this hour."

Could be. On campuses here, Thursday is the new Friday, making Friday the morning after and the new Saturday.

Sounds like a fun conference. They don't know what they're missing! (the future?)

Palladian said...

The conference organizers should have invited a troll from each of the blogger's blogs to participate. You know, for imbalance.

Ann Althouse said...

That's the classic, raw cameraphone look. I think it's cool. What's that old bad camera that people love (from the pre-digital age)? Some Russian camera or something?

Anonymous said...

The Treo is a wonderful device, but they are known for having poor cameras. The 650 is much better than the 600, but it is not a megapixel and doesn't do well in poor lighting.

But it is a great device apart from that.

Palladian said...

Ann, it's the Holga. An all-plastic medium format camera.

And then for video, try the one I have, a Fisher Price PXL2000. Remember when 2000 made something sound futuristic?

vnjagvet said...

The live blogging of a bloggership conference is cool.

I wonder if anyone might some day liveblog from one of these blogging professor's classes.

I would love to audit some of them.

Ricardo said...

Are you sure that wasn't Camille Paglia, dressed as Kate Litvak, telling you to put your laptop/camera away. Have you asked yourself "why" these women are so threatened by you holding technological devices in your hands? Is it "the power of the blog" that they fear?

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian: Thanks. I guessed it would be you who would provide an answer. Holga helped me find the other term I was looking for: lomography.

Lawrence Solum said...

Re comments on legal theory blog: I get a fair amount of nasty, uncharitable, and ill-informed commentary about papers by other legal scholars, about which I post on my blog. My feeling is that it would be grossly unfair to allow comments along these lines.

Simon said...

marghlar: There exist people (even bloggers) who cannot use a full real name, given conditions of their employment.

...For example?

I've mentioned before that I don't think blogs that are written anonymously are much good, so it'd be interesting to see if I have to make a conditional exception.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

This post is like holding up a mirror to a mirror.

Anonymous said...

There exist people (even bloggers) who cannot use a full real name, given conditions of their employment.

Daniel Drezner.

reader_iam said...

Simon, I'm a little surprised if that's a serious question. There are whole numbers of people to whom that applies (now, whether they'd qualify as "good" bloggers in the sense of being to your taste or whatever, that's a different issue).

It would be risky for me, though because I'm self-employed, it's slightly different than the "conditions of employment" thing.

The person at whose place I guest blog actually came close to losing his job due to his old blog, and he'll always be at risk.

I guess where I disagree with your premise regarding anonymity (or pseudonymity--there's a slight difference, I'd argue, but I don't know if that discussion is of interest) is that it automatically and in and of itself leads to less accountability.

Here's the nub of why I question that premise: Just because you (and you can read that generically; it's certainly not personal) don't know who a particular blogger is in real life doesn't mean that others don't.

In my case (and granted, I'm a teeny blogger), not only do some real-life people--including ex-coworkers, some recent and decades-old friends, and the managing editor of a current publication with which I have a contract--but so do a number of pretty prominent bloggers, as well as a few commenters, whom I haven't met personally and have no particular personal mandates of loyalty toward me based on previous ties.

It's not as if I can just go off the rails completely--or just make something up from the past--without no one noticing or, for that matter, having the ability to "bring me to justice," so to speak.

I can't imagine that my situation is unique or that I'm so exceptional. (That'd be a first, if either of those things are true.)

Just some food for thought ... .

Jazz Bass said...

thank you, Ann, for all you do. your joi de blog has kept me coming back as one of my daily blog-check-and-see-if-there's-any-food-for-thought-there.

i began blogging this week just because i wanted to leave a comment on your site and , in my rush to not be anonymous, i signed up.

is blog the new black? is blogging passe` now that i'm involved?regardless, it is FUN, involves SELF DISCIPLINE(even to rant), and ENGAGES THE MIND.

isn't that why you like it so much, really?

thanks again

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh how exciting! Those photos---so compelling! I can barely contain myself. The intensity of it all. I'm salivating.
---More excited than a virgin at a prison rodeo!

Overcome, I tell you!

xxoo :)

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...


What was on the lunch menu? Did they have an open-bar? Were the napkins paper, or cloth?

What sort of souvenirs were provided? Any goodie-bags? Miscellaneous free stuff?

Any live entertainment? Characture drawing, numerology, a dance floor etc?

Peace, Maxine

Ann Althouse said...

Where we ate:

Last night, we were given a great dinner at the Harvard Faculty Club. Microsoft paid.

Today, for lunch, we were on our own, and I was with 3 other bloggers -- Eugene Volokh, Larry Solum, and Randy Barnett -- who walked over to a pretty nice restaurant called Harvest.

For dinner tonight, we were also on our own, and I went with 6 others to a place called Rendezvous (in Central Square).

No one drank alcohol at lunch, as you might imagine. At dinner, 3 of us shared one bottle of wine, and the others didn't drink. So the whole carousing aspect of the conference was pretty low!

All the food was really good. I had poached salmon at lunch (with a lot of fresh peas and other vegetables) and duck "3 ways" for dinner -- and some nice maple creme brulee.

Thers said...

It's not as if I can just go off the rails completely--or just make something up from the past--without no one noticing or, for that matter, having the ability to "bring me to justice," so to speak.

Ann Althouse is held accountable to anyone for what she blogs?

And if she goes "off the rails," you'll tell her so?

I beg leave to differ. I think if Althouse goes bananas and tries to smear innocent people, her commenters would cheer her on no matter what the actual facts of the incident would happen to be.

Anyway, it is intersting how Althouse's paper is utterly devoid of any actual scholarship. I submit that is because scholarship demands accountability as a founding principle, and Althouse rejects accountablity as a founding principle.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

LOL, Thersites: You've specialized in smearing me for months! And it's your commenters, not mine, who cheer the blogger on blindly. Mine would, in fact, call me on errors and meanness. You, on the other hand, have a shameless grudge against me and no one who disagrees with you bothers to participate at your place.

Anonymous said...

1984? Unspeech much?

Thers said...

No, I have a perfectly legitimate "grudge" against you. I've in fact documented it. You know where. You baselessly attacked some very good people for utterly ridiculous reasons.

You could have responded honestly and with an open mind a long time ago. It's still not too late.

I mean, really. Here is my "grudge," more than anything else. You cited the comment of a woman -- an accomplished scholar -- who won a major gender discrimination lawsuit against the US military as an instance of "sexism" because you did not understand the context of the comment, or could not concede it had nothing to do with you personally. You in fact called her a sexist, when she had personally suffered an appalling level of abuse merely because she was a woman with a degree and professional qualifications who found herself in a "man's world." Could have been you, you know. Want a link to the decision in her favor? I'll supply it. Read it, and then call her a sexist once more.

And when she posted here you deleted her comment.

You have done an injustice, Professor Althouse.

Ann Althouse said...

Thersites: I responded to people who were making savage comments about me, who gave no context about who they were. I never spoke about them generally or about facts about them that were not apparent in a chain of comments that were about me and that were vicious and sexist. That they think they are allowed to be sexist because in some other aspect of their lives they have demonstrated feminist values is despicable. Thanks for giving me another chance to say it. I consider you despicable for carrying on against me on your blog. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Thers said...

Too bad you couldn't produce an example of a comment that actually was "about you," then, except for the one left by a right-wing troll.

Or produce a comment that is actually anti-feminist.

The thread was not "about you."

I consider you less despicable than ridiculous.

And you still owe people an apology.

reader_iam said...

Thersites: Boy, did you take my words out of context. I was responding to Simon with regard to the issue of whether anonymity/pseudonymity necessarily means there's no accountability. It's a topic he's brought up before and discussed with civility, and he asked if there were some who for work reasons thought they needed to be anonymous/pseudonymous. I was questioning, politely, one of his premises by giving another perspective.

What the heck does that have to do with your conflict with Ann?

How weird, to bring me into it and in such an out-of-context way. That comment wasn't "about" Ann, or "about" you, or "about" your conflict.

And remember YOU'RE the one who inspired this comment, by--and isn't this irony!--by ripping something out of context and challenging whether I would call someone on something if they thought they won't off the rails.

Leave me out of it. And learn how to read for context.

reader_iam said...

" ... if I thought they went off the rails.

Consider those particular typos the result of my being flabbergasted by the oddness of you picking up that excerpt from my comment.

reader_iam said...

If you WANT to quote something out of context to make a point, the standard practice is to ACKNOWLEDGE that you're doing it--maybe also that you know it's a cheap shot. (Unless you don't know the difference.)

(I did that elsewhere here, today--and I wasn't doing that to draw someone else into a personal conflict, either.)

Style, Thersites, style.

Thers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Thersites, we've been through this before. Try reading my entire post and understanding it. I mean, I know you won't, but my readers can. I'm not going to keep talking with you about it. Your behavior toward me has been contemptible. Crawl back into your hole.

Thers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Marghlar: Thanks, sort of, for responding to that jerk. I really don't want him here. He has his own blog to devote to running me down. I'm just deleting everything he writes. The issue has been aired, and I will never spend time on the substance of it again. I advise readers to go back to my old posts and read the answers if they want to know my position. I do not believe I was wrong, for reasons I've already explained repeatedly. Please, in the future, don't spend time responding to this man, who clearly has a deep-seated animosity to me, which he hides under the banner of feminism. People who know how to do feminist analysis ought to cut to the core of that.