In an article on Longreads, Tajja Isen describes how law schools teach law students a method of reading that upends the way the students, many of whom chose to enter law school because they were avid readers, approach the text. It destroys not only their appreciation for the text but even the ability to approach it on its own terms and let it speak for itself. In turning one’s mind into a case summary factory, one loses the ability to afford the author of the text you are reading basic respect. She describes reconnecting with her enjoyment of reading and her path to finding a new purpose for the mature study of texts.
Meanwhile, it is not just law students who find that a sincere connection between writer and reader is getting harder to find these days. Clickbait is everywhere, and it is only getting uglier. It is naïve to think that your law firm’s blog is an oasis of high-quality reading material in a sea of clickbait. Its purpose is, after all, to promote your law firm, if only to direct people to your law firm’s site when they are looking for useful information. How far into the clickbait-ridden wasteland of the blogosphere should you sink, though? The best strategy is to choose carefully which Internet writing tropes to employ and which to avoid.
Do Use Numbered Lists
It isn’t hard to find fluffy, uninformative listicles online, but there is a reason that numbered lists are popular. Lists help readers organize the content in their minds, helping them remember it. It the subject matter of your post lends itself easily to a numbered list, there is no harm in formatting it that way. For example, you can write about the penalties for DUI depending on whether it is a first, second, or third offense. A post on the six types of alimony in Florida likewise lends itself well to list format.
Don’t Resort to Scare Tactics
The 1999 film Bowling for Columbine, released when the World Wide Web was a tiny fraction of its current size, contains a sequence on how the American media produces content aimed at making people feel like they are in constant danger. The barrage of fearmongering, especially in online media, has only increased since then. By the time a reader has navigated to your blog, he or she has already been told to fear toothpaste, lettuce, tomatoes, social media, children’s entertainment, and air. Do not add to the madness with a scary headline. Be the voice of reason and of peaceful resolutions.
Don’t Use Internet Speak
It is not necessary to litter your blog with Latin terms understandable only to lawyers, but use standard English. The language of the Internet changes all the time. By the time you post an emoji or meme on your blog, it will have changed meaning from its use in other contexts.
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