I’ve been told that it’s absolutely necessary for me to keep up with this blog, especially now that I’m on the opposite coast. And, naturally, law school is no excuse. So instead of bugging my eyes out with any more case briefings, here I am type-typing away. Unfortunately all I can think of to write about is law-type topics.
So, I was doing some reading in the blogosphere looking for inspiration when I discovered this post on Wikipedia and some study that women don’t contribute as much as men. You can find the original articles here and here. Anyway, it was an interesting article to me because I personally love Wikipedia, but have never contributed to it. Which got me thinking. Have I simply never noticed any glaring errors on the site which need immediate revision? Or is there some deeper, more nefarious implication to the situation? Do I simply not want to be known as a snob who goes around correcting people all the time? Or am I really afraid of being wrong?
There’s probably some credence to each of these ideas, but mostly I think it’s just situational. I know stuff, I have no inhibitions against saying things that may or may not be true, and I genuinely enjoy just making things up on the fly. For example, I happen to know that the word ‘credenza’ comes from an old usage, ‘credence table’ which was where people put the food out to be tested for poison before eating. Wikipedia’s current entry, while slightly differing, is close enough for me. But if they hadn’t mentioned the poison, I would have felt compelled to help them out. Sure, Wikipedia isn’t the ultimate end-all of knowledge, but it’s a great place to get a quick summary of something you don’t know anything about. If you still have questions or concerns, that’s why we have experts, specialists, and librarians.
So back to the original blog about what’s wrong with WikiP – evidently the writer is also a lawyer. A lawyer who blogs about law. A lawyer who blogs about why women lawyers don’t blog about law more. Hey! I’m a woman! And like half a lawyer! And I blog and stuff! So, new topic, why are there so few of me? Is it 1) People don’t notice them if they aren’t looking for them, B) lack of time due to familial obligations or for other reasons, or iii) exposure to personal attack? There’s also some question about the statistics for legal academics being more balanced by gender, which leads me to my own theory about the disparity.
Obviously, academics publish. It’s one of the formost things they do, other than research and occasionally teaching someone something. But underlying this requirement is a fundamental skill all academics have – they can write. Ok, actually I retract that. There are probably some who get away with limited writing skills. But I would allege the ability of legal academics is generally higher than that of the average lawyer.
Of course, I have no proof. But I’d be interested to see some stats on just how many lawyers think they’re good at writing, and more particularly, how many enjoy it. Because, let’s face it, if you don’t derive at least some pleasure in expounding your ideas in a written form, why would you ever have a blog? Until the day that someone figures out how to do a picture-based legal blog, I think that’s what we’re stuck with.
Not that I’m saying women generally enjoy writing less or are generally less skilled at it than men. It just may be a factor in the group of women that are lawyers versus the group of men who are lawyers. And with that, I’m going to call it a day and pretend I’ve broken some major stereotypes.
Whatever. I’m a member of the power elite.