A Big Thanks to the People Who Read this Blog!
On March 17, 2013, I posted my first blog post. I called it: "Make art. Think like an artist." I read it again this morning, and time has been kind to it. It still resonates. Since then, I have created nearly 400 posts. If I were Seth Godin, I'd turn them into a book or two.
When I started this blog, I hoped to regain a voice I had had when I wrote a column every other month for the newspaper of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL). The newspaper had about 7,000 readers. My column was called from "Conflict to Collaboration" and discussed dispute resolution theory, techniques, ethics, and use. When I began teaching, I quit writing the column.
As an academic, I lost my first-person, more colloquial voice in my law review writing. The academy prefers the conceit that the words, and any analysis they reflect, appear on the page without a particular author's help or perspective. I have always preferred to write in first-person to make it clear the words on the page reflect my thoughts, biases, research, and analysis.
I wanted back that first-person voice. The blog offered that opportunity. It also offered me an opportunity to do content marketing in support of the on-line mediation training program I had created called "Mediation with Heart."
During the first year of the blog, I tried to make a post a day. I wanted to see how long it would take for the Google bots to find me. Advice for bloggers said you needed to post frequently before the search engines would pay attention to your blog. In the first few months, the Russian bots seemed to pay the most attention.
I have used the blog in many ways over the years. I continue to focus on dispute resolution topics and my ADR tribes. I have discussed trends in legal education, especially when law schools saw steeply declining post-2008 enrollments and law graduates saw few job opportunities.
I also used it to market Appalachian School of Law (ASL) when it faced competition from new schools in our market. I talked about its mission, its faculty, its students, alumni, the classes I taught, its student organizations, and student community service. When I reviewed my data on viewership, I learned that just this week, someone was reading a post about an ASL alum.
I have discussed legal marketing, content marketing, and the new tools of marketing. Yes, I like marketing. My blog roll is also filled with links to bloggers who also like marketing.
I also like to talk about leadership -- especially for women, about "leaning in," and about my experience in the three-year business coaching program offered by Chritine Kane for heart-centered entrepreneurs. Leadership is a recurring theme, especially when I talk about leading my US and Gulf dispute resolution "tribes."
I created a series about "letting go" during my transition to Doha, Qatar in the summer of 2015. Those posts still make me laugh and cry. They talk about the family, friends, community, and food I love and left to come to Doha. I write about my mom at least once a year. I miss her most.
The blog also let me talk about wind energy, fracking, and natural gas production. My blog roll includes links to a number of bloggers following the energy industry.
More recently, I have used it to discuss my experience teaching in the Arab Gulf. For a while, I was trying to post weekly about the content in my course. I have also summarized several conferences I attended. I have shared links to good research sources on topics related to terrorism financing and human rights violations caused by the blockade of Qatar that came to my attention while I was writing two articles this past spring.
In addition, I created two posts with lists of organizations that will use your donations to support legal actions on your favorite issues of gun law reform or civil, human, reproductive, immigrant, or environmental rights. I repost them on Facebook every time people seem to feel hopeless about the change they can make in the world.
I continue to use the blog to discuss "mindset" issues about creativity, courage, productivity, gratitude, and growth. Many of these posts reflect what I have learned from books I've read. Every December or January, I share my "words for the year," a goal setting technique I find very valuable.
I want to thank all of you who have visited my blog. My stats show I have viewership all over the world, with a surprising amount of attention from Russia in the last month. I thank the Google bots for finding me and putting me on the first page of a number of search results. Even the ABA has taken notice.