Sunday, September 18, 2005

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Online Guide to Mediation takes a short travel break during the week of September 18

Online Guide to Mediation goes on the road.Earlier this summer I encouraged my fellow ADR professionals to start blogging.

Those who aren’t doing it (and most ADR folks are not) are most definitely missing out on a good thing. Blogging brings two chief rewards: it increases your knowledge and you get to meet lots of terrific people.

In order to post regularly, you need ideas and you need information. My own inspiration comes from many sources—the Internet, printed material, and the people I know or meet. Blogging has made me reflect, both internally and externally—about my own practice as mediator and teacher of mediators, but also, too, about the influences and impact of ADR on law, society and culture, and the ways in which those things in turn influence ADR. Blogging can make you smarter—the more you read, the more you reflect on what you read, the more you know and understand about yourself and your work. That’s a huge benefit. In other words, blogging is a great way to catch up on all that reading you’ve been meaning to do.

Secondly, blogging connects you to people. Through blogging, I have met remarkable individuals (like Perry Itkin and George Lenard) I probably never would have met otherwise. And it allowed me reconnect or stay connected with other remarkable individuals—people like Robert Ambrogi and Ashok Panikkar. I have exchanged emails with people from all around the world who have found me through my blog or who I have contacted because I discovered their web site while researching material for Online Guide. Blogging brings the whole world right to your doorstep.

You just can’t beat it.

Unfortunately, however, blogging doesn’t pay the bills. (Blogging is something most of us do for love, not money.) As much as I enjoy blogging, I do have a day job (which fortunately I also enjoy). And that day job is sending me off on a week-long business trip. Since I can’t be sure what kind of Internet access I’ll have while I’m on the road, I probably won’t be blogging again until I report back for blog-duty on Monday, September 26.

So you don’t feel that this has been a wasted trip, I’d like to steer you in the direction of some articles here you may be interested in, and also invite you to check out some other blogs if you’re looking for an ADR information fix.

Seek and ye shall find.

First of all, if you’re new to this blog, Online Guide to Mediation has a search tool. There are actually two of them—one at the top of the screen and one on the right in my sidebar. Just enter your search word or phrase and click “enter”.

From the vaults.

I’ve been blogging since January and have posted over 160 articles. I rummaged around through my archives and found some articles you may be interested in reading:

THE VANISHING TRIAL AND OTHER MYSTERIES

READY FOR PRIME TIME: Mediation comes to reality television

WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG: There’s a place for both attorneys and mediators in dealing with divorce

ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION EXAMINES CONFLICTS IN VIRTUAL WORLDS

INTERNET AS MEDIATOR: Web sites provide online resources for building community and conversation

COOPERATION OR COMPETITION: The Prisoner's Dilemma and Game Theory

Making a move.

My blog is currently published through Blogger, a free, easy-to-use web-based blog publishing platform. While it’s great for anyone just starting out, it does have limitations. I’ve also experienced problems, too, as have my readers—everything from occasional outages to difficulty in viewing the blog in certain browsers. Although I have a certain nostalgic attachment to Blogger, it may be time to move on. I’ve begun experimenting with Typepad, which, alas, isn’t free but does offer some significant advantages over Blogger, including the ability to create categories to organize posts for easy reference and reader convenience. Please drop by and check it out—it may some day soon be Online Guide to Mediation’s new home. And of course I’d welcome your feedback.

Exploring new territory.

While I’m away, please be sure to check out the following excellent blogs:

Florida Mediator, published by Perry Itkin (mentioned earlier in this post), a blog focusing on Florida’s certified mediators but with news and information of interest to mediators everywhere.

National Arbitration Forum Blog, with news and information not just on arbitration but on other areas relating to ADR. (They were kind enough, by the way, to include a link to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Web Ring in their sidebar--thanks to my friends over at the National Arbitration Forum blog for their support!)

The ADR-friendly and well-written and researched Legal Sanity by Arnie Herz. (Arnie was kind enough to include a link to this blog in his September 16 post on Mediation Settlement Day 2005—thanks, Arnie.) Arnie, who is an attorney and mediator, posts often on ADR, as well as such topics as nontraditional approaches to law practice and achieving work/life balance.

Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, published by Michael Fitzgibbon, an attorney based in Toronto, offers intelligent discussion and commentary on labor and employment law issues of interest to any ADR professional whose practice encompasses workplace issues.

Global Voices Online, a global citizens’ media project sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, brings together bloggers from all over the world. One of the best places on the web to listen in on conversations and gain a more global perspective on important issues.

Well, that's all for now. I've got a suitcase to pack and a plane to catch. Thanks for stopping by—I’ll look forward to resuming my duties here at Online Guide to Mediation when I return next week. See you then!