I wouldn’t blame you if that’s what you’re thinking with regard to my blogging recently. Did I just drop off the face of the blogosphere? After adding 8 new members to the blog, the few responses to the blog theme soon evaporated into an e-silence. For my own part, I can only proffer a measly excuse of just plain being too busy to post. But I think the problem lies also with my inability to set a good enough example to encourage those other 8 contributors to create posts of their own.
Why do I think this? Well, there are different types of audiences out there. In some cases, the audience spontaneously forms or is self-organizing. <Insert Hobby Here> fans could become attracted to a forum or blog because they actively seek others with like interests. Thanks to the ubiquity of internet access in developed countries, even a very obscure and numerically minuscule group of fans (say, Star Wars LEGO fans) can still attract a large enough following to become a viable online community. And if it tells you anything about how pervasive this obscure online community phenomenon is, I completely made up that Star Wars LEGO fans category first, and THEN found that a website for it already existed. It was the #1 hit on a Google search.
But other communities aren’t formed by magnetic attraction. Or gravitation. Or Casimir effect. Etc. They’re not so much an aggregation of existing interests or slight variations on existing communities. They are actively created. Maybe de novo. Maybe just a unique synthesis of elements from various disciplines. One thing is for sure, though: such communities are not easy to sustain on momentum from mutual interest alone. It requires a concerted effort on behalf of its members to grow and nurture a community. It takes a village . . .
So are you feeling suckered into a situation where you have to do actual work on the Internet? How preposterous! But my hope for Digi-Docket is that it can become a place where reasoned debate on all things technological and legal can flourish. As we are all well aware, the bar is set pretty low for intelligent discussion on the Web. But there are a lot of communities that manage to rise above the electronic roar of YouTube videos and spyware-riddled websites to foster some truly remarkable discussions.
Can Digi-Docket become a hub for intelligent discussions on Law & Tech? I don’t know. I hope it can at least prove to be a useful exercise in hashing out the unique realm of law and technology. Maybe it’s too unique and relatively unexplored to build a community around. But I would measure success by the ability to sustain at least a semi-frequent string of posts by at least one or two active members. Obviously, I’m responsible for the lion’s share of the initial posts to set the tone and theme for the blog. But if it remains a solo mission for too long, it might be time to divert my energy elsewhere.
We shall see . . .