Blogging about blogging – an alternative to watching paint dry

July 6, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Blogging about blogging | 2 Comments

Yeah I know, reading bloggers blog about blogging is about as interesting as reading the shipping news in braille. Even worse, reading bloggers blog about their ‘coming rise to power’ stinks of “wouldn’t it be great if I could spend the whole day telling the world my opinions whilst still wearing pajamas… and still get paid for it?!”

But settle down people; this time we really are going to change the nature of democratic dialogue and boy will you be sorry if you miss the victory dance! Here’s Charlie Beckett on British left-wing bloggers:

All these blogs are going to go into overdrive once Labour loses power. The online infighting will be brutal. This is partly because the left blogosphere has not really made any connection between online comment and activism. It is much more about criticism and confrontation than trying to influence policy. This is in stark contrast to their cousins in America.

In the US the liberal blogosphere prides itself on the part it plays in elections. It has a major role in fundraising, critiquing politicians and examining policy issues in great detail. It was the liberal blogosphere that swung the 2006 mid-term elections to the Democrats. They have certainly been a significant factor in Barack Obama’s emergence from obscurity.

In the UK, on the other hand, the leftwing blogosphere has virtually no influence.

A spell in opposition will free up the left to take to the internet for an open debate about its political future. But the question is whether leftwing bloggers will simply accentuate the coming conflict or create a link between blogging and campaigning. In that sense, it will be a test both of online discourse and the ideological creativity of the left.

There’s much to agree with here, but I guess the important point is the US liberal blogosphere only gained  power (as opposed to visibility) when it became a source of funding independent from the Democratic Party. By being able to raise large sums of money for candidates, they could – to some degree – set the agenda regarding policy and rhetoric. In Britain, neither side has really tried to imitate this approach and it remains to be seen whether it could even be done. But unless the left-wing blogosphere is successful in achieving this, the best we can hope for at the moment is greater visibility rather than tangible power.

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2 Comments »

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  1. ha ha! possibly… possibly.

    The alternative is we exercise power in other ways:

    1) Helping them to connect with voters as modern form of organising (like trade unionism but bolted on)

    2) We break stories or highlight stories that forces politicians to listen to our agenda…
    both are possibilities.

  2. Yeah, good points. I suppose the most important thing is that it these things happen outside the infrastructure of the main parties, whose use of the internet remains pretty pathetic and primative. It’s quite telling that Labour’s ‘membersnet’ can’t even be accessed by anyone who doesn’t have a membership card. Goodness, we simply can’t allow dissent to be heard outside the gates of Camelot!


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