The World Wide Web is now so old that people are starting to write nostalgia pieces about what Internet writing was like when the web was young and not so commercialized. When people were still consuming most news, entertainment, and advertising through television, they would go online to comment on it on discussion forums, ezines, and what would eventually become known as blogs. Sites like Television Without Pity became famous for a sarcastic, wordplay-rich writing style known as snark. At its best, snark was inventive, even erudite; even university professors went online to snark in the Chronicle of Higher Education discussion forums.
At its worst, it was petty and mean-spirited. Today, the Internet is the mainstream media, which means that, for better or for worse, the news, the entertainment, the advertisements, and the snark are all in the same place, and the boundaries among those categories have become less clear. People go online looking for advice to serious questions, but Google treats a search for a legal question the same way it treats a search for product reviews or a search for ugly people dressed up as gorgeous celebrities. Snark sells, but to what extent, if any, should you engage in it on your law firm’s blog?
Have a Consistent Message for Your Law Firm’s Blog
Whether you should allow a snarky writing style to come out on your law firm’s blog depends on the purpose of your blog. Of course, your ulterior motive for having a blog is to show Google that your site receives frequent updates. Beyond that, though, your blog should have thematic unity and a consistent voice.
To Snark or Not to Snark
How much snark is appropriate depends on the genre of your blog. In general, the golden rule is don’t snark about real people. Here are some popular law firm blog genres and whether they are compatible with snark.
· Explaining the Law to the Lay Audience – Snark away. Some of the best professors in law school were the ones who told funny stories to illustrate how certain laws work. You are free to do so on your blog, just make sure the stories are fictional.
· News About Your Practice Area – Do not snark. Just report the news in an objective way and offer an interpretation of it based on your understanding of the law. The Internet does not need any more snarky commentary about current events.
· Advice – Snark at your own risk. The goal of advice blogs is to help people decide whether to hire a lawyer. If they don’t, then make the post as straightforward as possible, perhaps with links to forms they can file by themselves. If they do, then the post can have some snark, but be clear that the subject of your post is a serious issue and requires professional advice.
Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing
You can count on Law Blog Writers to provide informative, fact-checked blog posts at your chosen level of snark.