My friend Geoff Sharp astutely put his finger on The First Paradox of Blogging when he wrote to tell me, “Don’t you just love the blog truth that to pull them in, you have to send them away…”
I was struck by that all over again when I hosted Blawg Review at the beginning of this week. One of the best things about playing host was the opportunity to sample from some of the many excellent law blogs that are out there on the web. It also acquainted me with blogs I might not have discovered otherwise. What made those blogs so worthwhile for me were the great links they sent me off to explore. And it’s those great links that will keep me coming back.
Many of us who run our own businesses are always on the lookout for ways to use technology to run our businesses better, to improve the services we offer, or just plain make life easier. And information, resources, and ideas are often just a click away.
To head you in that direction, there are some blogs and blog posts that I’d like to point out. Although these blogs are targeted primarily towards the legal community, the content they offer applies equally to alternative dispute resolution professionals.
First stop along the way is a blog that succeeds in making technology accessible even for the technologically challenged–I [Heart] Tech (which got a brief mention in Blawg Review #43). What I like about this site is not only the links to time-saving tips on popular programs like PowerPoint and Word, but also the efforts of author Adriana Linares to find free stuff for her readers–like this post on “Syncing Files on Multiple PC’s” a great article for anyone who’s juggling multiple desktops and laptops, or this one on ensuring that your email address reflects the professional that you are.
Mediators looking for ideas to market their practice should pay a visit to lawfirmblogging.com, devoted to helping attorneys market successfully on the web, but which offers ideas which are portable from one profession to another. If you’re in the process of retooling your web site, you should definitely read 5 Goals for Law Firm Web Site Home Page Design, which is sound advice for conflict resolution professionals as well.
Always worth visiting for leads on new web sites and useful technology tips is Robert Ambrogi’s Lawsites; to see what I mean, check out Bob’s post on “Lawyers: Beware Google’s desktop search“, although his caveat applies to mediators, too.
Many law bloggers are already familiar with Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog, but mediators should get acquainted with Jim as well. Jim offers ideas on how to play it smart and safe when it comes to technology and the Internet. Mediators, for whom confidentiality is our stock in trade, will want to read Jim’s post, “The Mysteries (and Magic) of Metadata” about confidential information contained in word processing documents which can inadvertently fall into the wrong hands. (It’s true that I already linked to that post in Blawg Review, but given how many blogs I covered, readers might have missed it, and it’s an important subject for anyone who wants to make sure that confidential data stays safe from prying eyes.) Also check out “Scary Computer Trick with Internet Explorer“, which shows just how easy it can be to compromise the security of passwords or credit card information. Jim offers plenty of other great stuff, from word processing tips to advice on increasing your productivity.
I also recommend Carolyn Elefant’s MyShingle.com, who writes in a user-friendly style with the small business owner in mind. Check out her list of categories in her right side bar, especially “Ideas & Tips” (with posts like “A Home Office Still Needs to Be an Office” and “Business Cards on the Cheap“) “Marketing & Making Money“, and Tech & Web.