The word “treatise” is defined as “a written work dealing formally and systematically with a subject.” For many legal professionals, however, it is more commonly used to mean “those fat, outdated books that look pretty but gather dust on the bookshelf while I do my research online.” In today’s world, most printed resources just can’t stay current with the pace of legal developments or the breadth of case law out there to analyze. Which is a shame, really, because some treatises are absolutely indispensable collections of knowledge about a particular topic that never fail to point my research in the right direction. (Nimmer on Copyright comes to mind.)
Today, I announce a new “e-treatise,” Wassom on Social Media Law. This digital resource is intended to “deal formally and systematically with” the subject of social media law, with a depth, breadth and permanence more akin to a traditional treatise than to the ephemeral, chronologically organized snippets that we typically think of as a “blog.” Offering this treatise online allows me to leverage the best features of the internet to maximize its utility. For one thing, it’s free; no printing costs or other overhead to worry about.
For another thing, Wassom on Social Media Law will be continuously updated, both with new information and additional chapters, as developments warrant and time permits. And unlike pulp-bound books that need “pocket parts” or new editions in order to provide new information, updates to this e-treatise will simply appear.
Online publishing also allows me to incorporate judicial opinions and other pertinent information by means of hyperlink, rather than reproducing hundreds of pages of quotes, like the case books that weighed me down in law school.
One final note: also the e-treatise is rather immodestly named and I am its primary contributor, it is by no means a solo effort. Several portions have been authored by law students who have worked with me in the past, and I intend to broaden this collaboration in the future in order to offer as much high-quality content as I can manage.
What do you think of this new way of organizing my content? I’d love to get your feedback, and will take it into consideration as I attempt to make this the most helpful resource available on the law governing the use of social media.