Eye on the Blogosphere: Time to say goodbye - thanks for the chance to 'blog-viate'

By Taryn Hartman
Legal News

Well, friends, it’s come to this, my final dispatch to you from the kells and swells of the information ocean created by today’s web-based age. And after last week’s magnum opus, I’m going to keep it to a more human length.
This is my last day at the Legal News. I’m relocating to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and as of August 10, I’ll officially be a graduate student in the Masters of Science in Journalism program at Columbia University. Watch for some of my (Ivy-League!) blood plasma and non-essential organs on a black market near you as I pay back the astronomical student loan debt I’m taking on.
My experiences with this column and at the paper have taught me wonders not only about everything that I don’t know, but also many of the things we all really SHOULD know when it comes to our laws and government. I’ve always worn my nerdicity proudly, but I think it’s been heightened by my time here, learning about the finer points of the law and how government handles it; the fact that I live-streamed virtually every moment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings last month is but one example.
I don’t want this to sound like a bad Oscar speech for some non-existent award, but I do deeply want to thank my dozens of readers for allowing me this bi-weekly space to blog-viate (get it?!) on all things trite and trivial. For putting up with such frequent inanity as our epic, ground-breaking, opus-in-three-acts “What’s in a name?” series; the jury-duty tracking of Mr. T. and New Kids on the Blocker Danny Wood; the inordinate amount of time spent criticizing the criticism about what legal women wear.
We’ve been irreverent, yes, but we never descended into posts written from the perspective of my cat or anything.
Despite said irreverence, this column has been critical to my continued development as a writer, where finding your voice may be one of the hardest challenges and one that takes the longest amount of time to overcome. The opportunity to regularly stretch my limits of language in this space has helped me pin down one of my (hopefully many and varied) literary voices and provided a fun outlet for the millennial non-lawyer I am.
In addition to finding and refining my voice, my actual writing has gotten infinitely better since we started our cyber journey 19 months ago; the reams of cringe-worthy drafts that found their way into the recycling bin as I cleared out my cubby last week are painfully evident of that.
“Eye on the Blogosphere” has also been a continuous lesson in constantly changing technology and given me a greater understanding of how to write for and about the web, and it’s been fun for me to watch my own grasp of blogging and social media evolve over the life of this column. Since we started, Twitter has blown up in popularity, and users’ @handles became as frequent here as website URLs. And remember back in the day when I didn’t know enough to use URL shorteners, instead pasting entire monolithic links directly into stories?
Don’t get me wrong, the irony that I’ll be spending the GDP of a small country to study something that’s as constantly in flux-and often thought to be totally and completely over-as journalism is anything but lost on me. But I do feel much more capable of keeping my mind open to understanding and utilizing the new forms of technology and social media that are quickly becoming cornerstones of journalism school curriculums, and I have this column to thank for that.
We’re falling further down the you-didn’t-win-anything-so-why-are-you-offering-up-this-emotional-acceptance-speech rabbit hole here, but I’d be absolutely remiss if I didn’t also extend a public thank you to Editor Brian Cox for being a coach, friend, and sometimes-therapist who facilitated so much of my growth by asking for this column in the first place. Also to our page designer Deb James, who is nothing short of a ninja as she expertly handles so many essential behind-the-scenes jobs here at the Detroit Legal News. She’s the WD-40 that’s kept our little tricycle rolling down West Lafayette. I’m really going to miss the entire Inland Press team and the atmosphere in this office that was always a riot but simultaneously hard-working.
One last shameless plug: If you’re really beside yourselves and unsure how you’re going to get through the rest of the summer without my regular dissertations, you can still catch me on Twitter (@tarynha), my blog at http://tarynha.wordpress.com/, Facebook and LinkedIn, and also on Motion magazine’s social network at legalnews.com/motion, where the Blogosphere archives should be able to provide at least some relief for your despondency.
So farewell, Blogosphere denizens. It’s been real. And thanks.