There are eight blawgers, and a brief skimming of the posts confirmed my suspicion that the posts are thinly veiled PR pieces for the school.
Most blawgers love their law schools, but what makes a blawg interesting are the posts about the writer, and not the posts about the school.
That is why a student blawg is not a good school-sponsored marketing tool. Our lives are filled with procrastination, balancing tests, dating, shockingly inappropriate classmates, blunders, and plenty of f-this-shit moments. The non-school related stuff is why we read blawgs, and that is exactly what is lost when the law school sponsors a blog that won't stray too far from "oh look how great Bumble Law School is, tee hee."
I think the only effective blawg-marketing route takes a lot more nerve than most law students and law schools have: the school should support its non-anonymous bloggers, but not exercise any influence over them. Only then will the recommendation of that blogger mean anything.
Easier said than done right?
For example, I am fully aware that some of my school's administrators and professors read my blawg. Heck, my dean of students has quoted my blog while looking right at me. (Just to see me sweat, I'm sure.)
My school is not hostile towards my blogging because the administrators realize that I love the school and I am not going to write anything crazy or malicious. (With the exception of my career counselor, who is convinced that prestigious law firms will burn my applications…)
Sure, I'm going to have those "F-THIS! OH MY GOD WHY IS IT SNOWING?!" moments, but that is what makes my blog more relatable than the beauty pageant "things are wonderful, always" blogs produced by admissions. School-sponsored student blogs are only perceived one way:
And hopefully a law school's applicants are smart enough not to believe company-sponsored testimonials.
Prospective students contact me early during the law school application period, and I answer questions via email and twitter up until the first day of class. This is effective for the school because I serve as a positive yet real testimonial.
Sure, a student having so much unchecked contact with applicants is risky, but the power of a real and visible testimonal is an invaluable recruiting tool that cannot be contrived, which is exactly what California Western is trying to do.