Mike Taylor of i-Lit Paralegals ends his SCL predictions by saying of 2053 that “Chris Dale will have found a way of being in two places at once”. That is not in fact one of my aspirations, and one day at a time is usually just fine for what needs to be done. The end of October and November, however, were completely daft, and a Harry Potter teleporter would have been useful.
In Prague, someone came up to me and said “I hope you’re not going to make the same speech as I heard you give in Dublin a few days ago” (I didn’t, though there were elements in common). In Singapore, when I said I could do with a break between getting off a plane and chairing a full day, they said “You don’t have to attend the whole of every session – just be there at the beginning and end of each of them”, giving me as much as 30 minutes at a time to catch up with sleep. In Munich, they said “Since you are here, perhaps you could moderate the session which is about to start” – “Yes, of course. What is it about?” Somewhere along the way, I was approached by someone who said, in accusing tones “You have written nothing on your blog for days”.
It has been a busy few weeks, as foreshadowed in my post of 9 November Around the eDiscovery world in 35 days. Merely getting, in turn, from between Dublin, Manchester, London, Hong Kong, Prague, London again, Singapore and Munich, and speaking at each of them, is just the tip of the iceberg – every session has to be prepared, and most of them will warrant some form of written report; there are people to meet and to catch up with; the flow of interesting material from others does not stop just because I am away, nor do my other writing commitments evaporate.
As if that were not enough, I decided during a long German train journey that I had had enough of Google Plus as a place to post the news and articles which I was accumulating on my travels. These articles, which are additional to and not substitutes for what appears on my blog, are valuable not just for passing on things of interest; they are part of a complex set of inter-related links which give me long-term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which is itself critical to my mission to make eDiscovery information as widely available as possible. With a large store of accumulated articles to write, I could not face Google Plus again, with all its extraneous screen clutter, long incomprehensible URLs (and different ones for public and private publication), truncated headings, and the constant fear that someone very clever but other-worldly at Google would change the rules overnight to my detriment and that of my audience in pursuit of some strident, shiny appearance aimed at “building your local network” or some similarly trendy-but-useless ambition.
My blog host, WordPress, rightly says that you can start a new blog in seconds. First, however, you have to make some decisions. You have to pick a template and a URL, a name has to be chosen, and decisions have to be made about what type of article appears on which blog.
It took me a day which, objectively speaking, should have been spent catching up with the articles themselves, not choosing a home for them. The result, launched a couple of nights ago, is here, and here is its introductory post. The template is plain, and shows only the first few lines of the articles, which suits the newsy intent; there is much customisation which can be done, but I took the view that a barely adorned basic model was adequate to get started. The URL name chrisdale2.wordpress.com, is unsophisticated, but easy to remember for those who already go to my primary blog at chrisdale.wordpress.com. The “what goes where?” decisions can be made post by post – mere length is one factor, but that will generally reflect a more important division, that between contemplative articles which will, I hope, be useful a year after publication, and news-type posts whose primary function is a current one (although they will be no less useful for longer-term SEO purposes).
I have bought the ability to customise the template, and paid to suppress advertisements and to put long videos on the site – video production is one of the ambitions for 2013 as part of my constant search for new ways of getting information across.
I feel no particular need to alter the form of the primary blog, although I will, in due course, get rid of the advertisements and smarten it up a little. Form is important, but function is more so, and the blog continues to serve the purpose for which it was created.
Meanwhile, company accounts are due to be filed in a few days. Have you noticed how accountants imagine that you are sitting at your desk with nothing to do but answer questions about inter-bank transfers from 18 months ago?
All this is by way of explanation for my comparative silence, for those who missed my post warning about this. I have no more travel until LegalTech in New York at the end of January, and will use the intervening time partly to catch up with various papers which I am due to write and partly to do what we keep urging on law firms and their clients – information governance and the development of smoother processes for production.