Feedly As A News Aggregator

Good morning from Seattle, good afternoon to the rest of the country. Happy Friday.

If you’re in Seattle, not much really changes over the weekend, especially if you’re downtown.

We’re still pretty locked up from the pandemic; stores, shops, restaurants, and those types of things are still not open and haven’t been for months now for the pandemic shutdown.

One comment I will make about Seattle is it’s picking up some bad news, nationally. People seem to think that there is mass looting and rioting; that’s not true. It’s not going on, I live in downtown Seattle, and it’s very safe. There’s no disruption taking place in downtown Seattle. We certainly have our protesters and most of the protests are about six to nine blocks up the street from me in the Capitol Hill area, but there’s not the looting or mass rioting or anything like that, that I’m hearing from my friends that people are talking about across the country.

Today I’m talking about a news aggregator called Feedly. If you went to the web, you would see something like googling Feedly. You’d come up with feedly.com. So if we go to it, you can get it on an app. You can get it on your desktop.All you’ve got to do is do a search for Feedly and come to it. It’s important for bloggers. You’re going to see a page that says goodbye to information overload. This is going to make information easy for you to aggregate and digest and use as a blogger. Most people don’t understand the concept of blogging is to be able to enter into a conversation by using other people’s information. To do that, you’re going to need something that’s going to collect and organize the information for you. That’s Feedly. It’s called a news aggregator. A news aggregator is going to collect sources, and it’s going to collect subjects. A source is a blog, a news column, that type of thing. It’s a defined source that is providing different types of information. A subject might be a word or phrase, a term, a regulation, a code, anything like that. So you can follow sources in Feedly, but you can also follow subjects. What do I mean?

I’m going to use my Feedly application. It’s showing all of my personal feeds. Let me just show you how they’re organized. My feeds are organized by subjects. There’s all of them, but then I can have them put into folders. I don’t have to look at the information in all of my folders each day, but over the years, I’ve organized sources and subjects into folders. My folders might be marked Law ABA Journal. So if I want to get all of the columns that are coming from the ABA journal reporters.

 ALM: columns coming from  American lawyer media publications. They’re going in there, above “the law”.

I have articles about Facebook. For a long time, I monitored the word “Facebook”. I was trying to figure out what Facebook was all about, where it might be going as a company, and those types of things. So, I monitored that word, Facebook. Now, you’d say “well there’s way too many articles about Facebook.” Well there are, but Feedly is going to bring in just those that are coming from influential sources. So I didn’t necessarily find blogs on Facebook; I just put in the word Facebook and found it.

I have general news, I have law firm associations, law schools, publishing, journalism, WordPress, Seattle tech, software as a solution, all among other things and I put them into those folders. If I want to add content, under Feedly, I hit the add content button. It may come up with suggestions for things that I want to add, but I’m gonna go to the top, and I’m going to put something in. Let’s just say it’s cannabis law. There could even be a particular regulation that relates to cannabis law that would be more specific,

So I put in cannabis law, and it comes up. And it says well here’s some potential sources that you may not be familiar with called “cannabis law news”, “cannabis law report”, “cannabis law professor block”. Those are sources, publications. There might be others. And up here, where I did the general search for cannabis law, I could have put the title of a publication. Because if I had put “canna law blog” a particular blog would have come up in case I wanted to subscribe to that, and if that comes up, I’ll see the posts that are the most popular in Canna Law Blog, published by Hilary Birkin, who is a lawyer, originally from Seattle. She works with Harris Bricken who are well known for their cannabis law, China law, and other matters.

But here’s her pieces that she’s written.

So, imagine if, if I want to stay abreast of cannabis legal matters, and I’ve heard that she has a blog. One thing I’m going to do is I’m going to add her blog into my cannabis folder, so it might say, follow that.

Looks like I don’t have a cannabis folder. So I’m going to add one, hit create. Now there’s a folder that Feedly has created for cannabis.

So anything that I want to have on cannabis, I can scroll down my content and see that it’s now in there with that source. Let’s say I just also said I want to follow the word cannabis law.

Clapping was going to say, do you want to follow keyword alerts for cannabis law. Feedly’s going to come up and it’s going to say “Do you want to follow key words for cannabis law?” You’ll say “Yes I do.” Various content is going to come up that’s not so bad. It’s showing articles related to cannabis law. It’s gonna say “do you want to follow that?” you say “well yes yes I do. I want to put that in my cannabis folder.”

So, in a matter of let’s say 15 or 20 minutes, I could find cannabis publications and other words relating to cannabis, maybe it’s zoning, it could be regulations, it could be IP rights, you name it. What I’ve done now is I’ve got a channel in Feedly that relates to cannabis. So if I go back to my content, and I can change the order of them, I’ve now got that cannabis channel with all my other channels.

Now, why is this important for blogging?

Well if I’m going to be blogging on cannabis, let’s say that my state is going to be legalizing cannabis and I’m a smart lawyer. I’m going to blog on the future. I’m not going to blog on the present, meaning I’m not going to blog trying to get more work that everybody is busy working on, I’m not going to try to increase my share, which is hard to do. I’m gonna go ahead and ask her about an area that neither people are going after. So Hillary Bricken went after cannabis law before cannabis law is a big deal by anybody. She’s done very well for herself as a result of that. She’s blogging to the future. You might be in another state. You’re gonna say “well our state is going to be legalizing cannabis, and they’re going to be doing similar things that Illinois has done, and Washington has done and other states have done. I’m going to start to build a reputation in the area. So what I’m going to do is start a blog on this area. And so to do that, what I’m gonna have to do is follow what’s been written by other people on that point to just put news out from what’s going on in my state.” So you might be following articles that are written anywhere in the country; it might be an article that comes up via, you know, Chicago Tribune or the Sun Times so that or St Louis newspaper or Seattle Times or anywhere. You’re just not going to be aware of that unless you’re using something like Feedly where you’re monitoring the term cannabis and law or other relevant terms. You’re also not going to get cited by other legal bloggers around the country, unless you’re seeing what they’re writing about, and you’re referencing what they’re writing about. You’re entering into a conversation about what is going on.

So when, when Feedly defines itself, it is talking about customizing the news as a result of what you get. Sharing and customizing it can mean a perfect example for a blog. “I’ve seen this story or I’ve seen this blog post by Hilary Bricken. Interesting take about such and such.” I’m in Wisconsin or wherever. I’m referencing what she had to say, citing who she is, and providing my take as to how that might be applicable to my state, or I’m educating myself on issues of cannabis law and entering the conversation with her. She’s sitting in Los Angeles. There’s no way she could see you in Madison, Wisconsin. But she will see you, if you reach out and you shake her hand, by saying, “Interesting piece by you. Here’s my block quote, here’s my take on the issue.” She might start to follow your blog in her reading. As she does that you’re going to start to get known because you’re going to start to get referenced, and when people are looking at you as a potential lawyer, they Google your name.

The least influential thing on them is your website, touting your brilliance and your success and all the things about you. The most important thing about you is how other people look at you, especially leaders in the field. If they open it up and they see that somebody like Hilary Bricken is citing you as an authority, or a law professor is citing you as an authority in this area that is usually influential, that can only happen if you’re using something  like Feedly and referencing, what a law professor on this subject might be saying, or what Hilary Bricken might be saying, and getting known by these people so that they’re starting to follow what you’re saying. It is like one giant room, one giant conversation, one giant arena. If you’re not using a news aggregator, you’re outside the room. You’re not inside the room where the conversation is taking place. People that are hiring lawyers are looking at the people that are getting cited inside the room.

The other thing that Feedly works very well at is to be able to share things very easily. I’ve met a lot of people because of Feedly. I was on a recent morning call with a law school in Madrid, learning about some things they’re working on and some things we might be able to help them with. There’s no way it is possible for me to be on the phone with somebody in Madrid just by saying “I heard you were doing something interesting, why don’t we get on a zoom call?” This is impossible, firstly because I wouldn’t have even thought about it. But because I’m monitoring the terms “legal tech” and “legal innovation”, I can see that they’re doing some things that are very innovative and strong, at least as good as our law schools, maybe better. I became intrigued, so I started sharing some of their things. I shared them directly from Feedly onto Twitter and referenced the school’s Twitter handle. I tag them, they see it. We’re dancing. I find out who it is that runs the Twitter handle. It’s a very very very good communications person for their entire school (not just the law school) who’s really great at communications and social media. That happened as a result of that.

So what Feedly allows you to do is build relationships with other people. I have a column marked “bar associations”. Why? Because I would like to help bar associations in their work. I don’t go out and shake their hands enough and quite frankly not all of them call me back because they’re very busy. But if I monitor good news that they’re sharing about what’s going on in a bar association and I get that in Feedly and I share it, they appreciate that. Anyone would. Wouldn’t you like for somebody to be saying nice things about you as a lawyer, your law firm, your company? You bet you would. So all you have to do with Feedly is follow these people that you want to build business relationships with and share the good news. Social media is not about you sharing things about yourself. That’s kind of ass backwards. Social media is about sharing good things about other people, especially when they’re touting themselves in a good eway. So if I see something in my bar association folder that a bar association is doing…maybe pro bono work for arrested protestors…I would probably share that and mention the bar association or president. For example, the bar president in New York has a Twitter handle that I can see. Same with Florida; his name is John Stuart By the time I meet him for the first time, we feel a little bit like we know each other. We don’t. We’ve never met. But by me sharing information that he was sharing on Twitter or that the bar association was referencing, through Feedly, he feels like he knows me. So, if you’re looking to build influence through blogging, you’ve got to enter the conversation. You’re going to need Feedly in order to do it because you need to aggregate content and see your information. You’re going to be able to share it on your blog because you want your blog to get seen. You’re going to need to have influence in saying what you need to say. To get influence by sharing what you have to say, you have to share a lot of their stuff. The only reason that I have any Twitter or followers is because I use a news aggregator.  I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew that there were smart CEOs that appeared to be sharing other people’s things on a news aggregator, and that appeared to generate followers on Twitter. So what I did was found of interest and gave an attribution of the source (who I got the news from). People seemed to like it. If I do it on a consistent basis (I haven’t been as good in the last year plus), boom, it happens. Share something on legal technology and six companies getting funded. Little did I know, I missed one in Israel. But I found out yesterday because of that tweet that I did. Can that generate an exchange with somebody in Israel as a result? Yeah, it might. There’s some things we can probably do to help them.

You’ve gotta be using a news aggregator to get blog content. You’ve got to use it to share things about other people. As you share things about other people, they’re going to begin to follow you on Twitter. When you then blog on certain things, they’re likely to share it because 1) they’re following you and 2) you’re a good person. Good people tend to talk about other people first and themselves second.

So, Feedly’s a great application. I suggest downloading it on your iPhone or desktop. There’s a premium model, but the free model will probably get you what you need. Premium’s not that much for extra benefits though. If you’re unsure how it works, look it up on Youtube, and I’ll ask two guys for more information in our webinar later.

It’s a good company. There used to be an aggregator that Google had, and they shut down and jumped on Feedly all at once. It survived, despite almost being crushed by volume.

The last thing that I’ll mention on this Friday is that there’s a lot of Black Lives Matter protests going on. We should all try to find ways to meaningfully support these people. Continue to look for these to join in the Blog4Good campaign. We’ve never had so many people join LexBlog as those who have joined in the last two weeks. They’re pretty staggering numbers. Illinois and Arizonab became member states and we saw a tremendous jump. We’ve expanded Blog4Good from the pandemic to racial justice issues and other areas of the law. Lawyers that are giving to themselves provide insight and commentary on any information that people need, that could really help suffering people right now, and we really want to support the Blog4Good campaign. Both lawyers are in states with state bar associations that are participating. Their fees are free. They’re riding on the most innovative blog platform that we provided. We’ll make some changes to it next week, but I put some professional touches on it for everything they’ll need to be an extraordinarily successful blogger, and price won’t come between that. If you’re not in a participating association, it’s $39 a month, something that people used to charge $1500 plust 200 a month. It’s good stuff. In addition to just the technology, you’ll be included in the LexBlog network and receive all the free strategy, support, and coaching that we can give you. We’re there to help you and provide real insight and commentary to people. It feels like the least we can do in what’s going to be some tough times in the days and years ahead as a result of the pandemic and other issues that are challenging our society.

Those states that are coming on board are aggregating and curating the content. It’s not easy to get ahold of everybody, but I’ve had some great calls this week with two very large bars, one medium-sized bar about them aggregating and curating the insight and commentary coming from the lawyers in their states so that people can pick lawyers in a more informed fashion. We share insight and commentary; they can get a rich database that’s available on various types of subjects. Blog4Good goes on, and it will probably go on for a long time to come. Those of you supporting it, I very much appreciate you getting behind it and spreading the word. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Take care, and happy Father’s Day.