Is this the end of blogging?

If you’re a member of either the legal or ADR blogging community (or both, like me, who stands with one foot in each of those worlds), maybe you’ve noticed it. Something feels different.

It’s like a funeral around here. Last week, Robert Ambrogi marked the passing of two popular law blogs. David Giacalone, retired attorney and mediator, and the poet laureate of the legal blogging community, announced that he would stop blogging as of March 1, 2009. And the anonymous editor of Blawg Review, the high-quality review of legal blogging, wonders, “Is this the end?” with the publication of the 200th issue, prompting Dan Hull to invoke magic to prevent the death of this mighty blogging institution.

Among mediation bloggers, we’ve had a death in the family as well: one of the first of the mediation blogs, Mediation Mensch. And I’ve noticed less of the reciprocal linking, the luminous web of conversation weaving one blog to the next, and the robust debates we ignited. Increasingly it seems we are talking to ourselves alone here in the dark. The conversation has been outsourced to Twitter, the microblogging and instant messaging tool that is all the rage these days. But what happens to the quality of conversation in a place which limits messages to 140 characters?

Do these portents herald the end of blogging? Or is it just change, making way for the Next New Thing? Look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers:

13 responses to “Is this the end of blogging?

  1. A bit overly dramatic, aren’t we? You’re still here. I’m still here. Geoff is still here. Vickie is still here. Frankly, even though I’ve been at it less than 18 months, those are about the only ADR blogs on my Google Reader that I expect to see more than one post a week. Hell, make that more than one a month. Yes, there may be others, but few were dedicated bloggers.

  2. Dramatic? Eh. I don’t think so. I was looking through the listings at, and they’re dropping like flies.

    But I honest to god do see a discernible change in the conversation. Something’s shifted. I used to see a lot more back and forth among more of us than there are now. And remember the contest Geoff Sharp and I tried to get going last year? We bagged it because we only got 3 responses, of which yours was one (thanks, buddy). We were pretty stunned.

    I don’t know whether to sit shivah on ADR blogging or shrug it off as a normal market correction.

    Perhaps the bigger loss is Blawg Review. That’s been an enduring institution and I for one would hate like hell to see it go.

    Glad though you’re still around.

  3. Companies come and go and so do blogs (which are extensions of companies or sole proprietorships). New ones will replace the departed. I’m still blogging, although my ADR blog is not aimed at mediators but more at potential clients.

    Let’s hope the amount of shiva sitting is less than or equal to the amount of brises. 🙂

  4. Diane,

    Dan Hull’s magic must be working; enough people believe in Ed, even though few of us have ever met. Yes, I’m still here, and Blawg Review isn’t going away anytime soon.

    Blawg Review is booked solid for hosts through the end of May, 2009, and then some, all the way to Feb 2010. About half the scheduled hosts are new to us, the others are Blawg Review recidivists.

    I read a lot of law blogs and business blogs. There are many new voices joining the conversation. Many are very good bloggers. I won’t single out any by naming names. But keep watching Blawg Review. You’ll see the best mentioned there.

    And, Diane, if you ever want to “temp” as a Blawg Review Sherpa, or come back full time, there will always be a place here with your name on it.

    All the best,


  5. I just participated in an on-line conference for an hour on “conflict resolution”. I was invited by, what is now, an associate. Two conversations related to this post took place. 1) The CR community (ombuds were also mentioned) are not “talking” anymore and a handful of ‘us’ resolved to be more proactive. We shall see what happens. 2) The mediator was very “up beat” on Twitter and wanted to move future collaborations on-line to Twitter. No one replied, per item 1 here, and no one expressed pro or con.

  6. Clayton: not sure how anyone can collaborate on Twitter with the 140-character limit. I’m not fully sold on it as a social media tool. Yes, it’s fun, yes, I’ve met some interesting folks, but I haven’t “talked” with them the way I have my readers here on my blog, who have posted comments, sent numerous emails, and even occasionally picked up the phone or skyped me. It’s all pretty superficial. And I don’t like the fact that someone else owns the platform and all the content (if that’s what you can even call those short bursts of text) I generate belongs to someone else. I personally think that Twitter is being oversold, although I’m still test-driving it. Sorry to hear that the CR community isn’t talking like it used to. Good luck jump-starting things, but don’t count on Twitter to do it. I’m willing to be proven wrong of course. Always great to hear from you!

    As for you, Marvin, I’m glad you’re still going strong. (And you’re one funny guy. Thanks for the laugh.)

  7. Ed., you got me all choked up, buddy. I’m glad to hear that the rumors of Blawg Review’s death were greatly exaggerated. I miss my sherpa days more than you can know. I’m glad to know that you’re keeping my sherpa gear waiting for me if I want to return.

    And thanks for reminding me about emerging new voices. The same is true here among mediation bloggers. We’ve got some strong new talent.

    May Blawg Review live long and prosper.

  8. I think the authentic voices will remain and thank goodness, you guys produce a lot of good material. There are only a small number of UK blogs at the moment and I’m not sure we’ve cottoned on to talking and linking to each other yet, all a bit reserved you’ll understand.
    Anyway – I want to get a conversation started. In the UK about 2% of mediations involve personal injury claims yet about 63% of issued cases are personal injury. Does that reflect the position in other jurisdictions? If not, how do you convince folks to even try mediation in the first place?

  9. Hi Pal, your post is an “Emperor’s New Clothes” piece for me.

    Yep now that you mention it, all does not seem well in the ADR blogosphere – it does not have that teenage experimental feel that it once had and it was sometime last year that we lost it.

    Maybe that’s the way of things but I was pissed when we got virtually no response to our ADR competition late in 08. I don’t want to appear a needy blogger but there will come a time when I feel my time is better spent elsewhere as it does often now feel we are talking to ourselves.

  10. Geoff, am I glad you added your two cents. I was pretty pissed, too — I think I’ve done a lot in 4 years of blogging to promote and support the community of ADR bloggers, as I know you have, too, and I was hoping for a little support back in return. The tepid response was depressing.

    I’m glad I’m not alone in sensing the change. It’s real all right. Not sure what to do if anything, but I figured it was time to call it like I saw it.

  11. Diane-

    I’m on a bit of a break to attend to an issue more important than my blog, but I have more than a few ideas in the works to explore when I return. And when I need a little inspiration, I often look through some of your older posts, or Vickie’s, or Geoff’s . . ..

    I’ll be back. And I’m hoping you’ll be there when I am.


  12. Diane Levin

    John, thank you for your encouraging words.

    I feel the same way about your blog — your contributions are outstanding, and I appreciate the fresh angle you bring.

    Good luck with the work that currently engages your attention. You can count on me to be there when you get back.

  13. Diane

    I am at my post – watching for U-Boats… Be sure… I shall blog until the going down of the sun or when the Four Horsemen finally come to collect me – whichever comes first!

    Blogging ain’t dying – Twitter is an amusing but essentially tedious medium for imparting anything meaningful. THis is why I use Twitter, pointedly, only for entirely meaningless nonsense and… of course.. a bit of pleasant and amusing social chat!

    I find the ME, ME, ME merchants on Twitter who tell us how good they are, how they strive to be TOP 10 Idiot lists…. rather dull and I am about to do a cull of *Followers* who do this… fortunately I only seem to have a few of these rather dull Twitters left!

    Keep on blogging… or was it truckin’ ?