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The uses of vanity


Hands up how many readers of the British blawgs had read BabyBarista’s blog prior to say four to six weeks ago? No? Me neither. But it has been apparently going since October 06.

In a textbook campaign, BabyBarista made himself known though comments to posts on other blawgs and referral links to other blawgs. Never directly promoting his blog and tailored to the post involved, the comments certainly didn’t look like a promotional sweep, but I noticed a lot of them suddenly appearing across my usual blogroll reading. Then there was a link in to this blog showing in WordPress admin.

Bloggers are a vain lot, and blawgers (I still hate the term) are no exception. I clicked back to see the source. So, evidently, did many others. And Lo, BabyBarista appears on blogrolls and is mentioned in dispatches all over the place. (But good heavens hasn’t his blogroll expanded dramatically).

The blog certainly repays a click, being a ‘fictional account’ of a Pupil’s progress – Hogarth reference intended. Think a menage a trois of Donna Tartt, Harry Mount and Anonymous Lawyer with looming Tesco’s Law thrown in. Some bits don’t quite ring true, though. Can anyone who has done Tort, let alone enter a Criminal/Common Law Chambers, genuinely be surprised that accidently killing someone is a lot cheaper than injuring them?

As thoroughly enjoyable as the blog is, I think I was more impressed with the stealth publicity campaign, adroitly using the vanity click-back to build up what passes for a publicity storm in the smallish UK blawg world. To which, of course, I have just contributed. It is a very good example of how to work a blog circuit. Of course, it helps if the blog is actually worth reading…

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. John Bolch

    This occurred to me after I recently received a brief comment from BabyBarista on my blog, although I did not visit that blog until after I saw it mentioned elsewhere. I agree that such behaviour does leave a slightly bad taste but, as you say, he gets away with it because it is a good blog.

  2. contact

    I don’t think there is necessarily any distasteful behaviour involved at all. This is a classic means of getting attention.

    The question is, does he continue to make comments once the linkage has been obtained. Participation or opportunism? We shall see…

    I hereby appoint myself high moral arbiter, both arbitrary and merciless.

  3. Charon QC

    Excellent. I tend to find myself -n Friday / saturday nights – in the dark hours, wondering around various blogs.

    My contributions to Geeklawyer’s blog are, invariably, rioja driven – but that seems, for the moment, to be fine with Geeklawyer: although, bizarrely, he seems to have come up with a novel cause of action to sue me. He may well be on the schnapps. He is certainly on ‘the piste’ skiing for the ‘forseeable’ future.

    I take the very simple view that blogging takes many forms – and, for my part, I get a great deal of pleasure (and knowledge) from visiting the law and non-law law blogs – if you see what I mean?

    And, on that note, I must return to look up some law so that I may defend myself should Geeklawyer think up another cause of action


  4. John Bolch

    Yes. When I said “such behaviour does leave a slightly bad taste”, this was on the assumption that the comments were aimed solely at promoting his blog, rather than genuine participation.

  5. BabyBarista

    Thank you Nearly Legal for the comments. I very much enjoy your posts, including this one.

  6. Lynne Bastow

    Wow, the way your mind works, you should be a private detective. The way BabyBarista’s mind works is too much for me. His blog is very clever and witty but I can’t take such unremitting meanness, it’s like swallowing sulphur or eating vindaloo curry everyday.



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