Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

That’s a bloggy good idea

Posted by occidentprone on July 11, 2008

Can political bloggers change the system? How different is the political blogging landscape in American than in Australia? Are Australians too apathetic to effect change through individual effort or is our party system to unwieldy for passionate but small groups of people?

The blogosphere is where people are able (and encouraged) to voice their opinion to the world but outside a traditional party.

Might this blogocracy cause fissures in the party system if an idea that’s not left, not right, not Labor, not Liberal, not Green gains traction, and attention. Or would the mainstream parties do what they do now – do a poll and if popular just pretend it was their idea all along?

Plug In: The future of journalism is a project of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and its Walkley Foundation and has an essay Net moves from right to left on the lie of the blogging land. Have a gander and at the rest of the site and see if any of it rings true.

Even money makers are looking at political bloggers in a new light. William web designers posted the following on Australian political blogging:

Benefits of Political Blogging
Political blogs can be highly optimised for search, allowing them to rate highly in research and discussion on social and political issues. Users searching socio/political issues will find relevant blogs.
Blogging shifts the focus from the author to the message (content); users are interested in the issues behind Murray River and Refugees, not the politician or party. Users search for messages (content), not authors.

Blogs are honest, direct, informative, conversational and cut out spin; in turn, the general public are more likely to read them and respect them.

Real Success Stories
GetUp.org is a great example of how innovative, simple and social networking techniques applied effectively can reach, motivate and encourage the general population to interact and take action upon political issues.
Andrew Barlett is one of the few Australian Politicans that have truly grasp the potential of the web with his first blog starting in August 2004.

Here are some views on the genre from Brit Jon Worth:

What, overall, is the recipe for success for a decent political blog? First of all it’s better to be an individual writing, someone that visitors can relate to. Second it’s important to know your issues, get your teeth stuck into something, and aim to be consistent. …
So, essentially, for me it’s not an issue of left or right when it comes to making a decent blog – it’s latching onto an issue that you care about. In the red-vs.-blue environment of UK politics that normally means you have to latch onto a party and write your blog about that. Compare that to the experience in Denmark – the Liberals are in government, and the Social Democrats in opposition, but the Liberal blogs are more vibrant and regularly updated, latching onto the very live debate about liberty in the aftermath of the Danish cartoons debacle.

I don’t agree that you have to show your colours on your blog to be effective. Sometimes questions are enough to stir things up – aren’t they?


3 Responses to “That’s a bloggy good idea”

  1. I agree, the questions and comments should be enough to ‘stir things up’ as you put it. Indeed, ‘showing your colours’ – which I interpret as meaning being overly partisan – can restrict the reach of a blog. You might get more of a loyal cheer squad if you just parrot a party line and toss grenades at whoever the bad guys of the day are, but if you’re trying to engender better understanding and engagement then cutting out the spin should lead to having a better effect.

    Of course, that all depends on the reasons why you are blogging. If you are a politician wanting to win votes or a bloggger wanting to optimise traffic to improve advertisement revenue, that’s a different thing to encouraging increased awareness or changed attitudes.

    As for the finding that “Andrew Bartlett is one of the few Australian Politicans that have truly grasp the potential of the web with his first blog starting in August 2004,” one does have to point out that the grasping of this potential did not lead to success at the last election.

    But that may just mean that blogs don’t have much potential for politicians wanting to get re-elected (and who cares much about that apart from politicians and party loyalists). Blogs may still have good potential for improving public awareness, engagement and attitudes

  2. Rolly said

    It could be said that there is room enough on the net to accommodate whatever kind of blog one wishes to post.
    In the political arena one does not have to declare ones leanings, if they even exist.
    In my case I’m distinctly even handed: I despise politicking of all kinds.

  3. occidentprone said

    “But that may just mean that blogs don’t have much potential for politicians wanting to get re-elected (and who cares much about that apart from politicians and party loyalists).”

    Cynicism about politicians didn’t start with the internet but like newspapers and tv stations that have writers pretending to be Joe Blogg off the street, there is a scepticism about a politician’s blog, Malcolm Turnbull’s mutts aside. But check out Andrew Bartlett’s site to see how high he has set the bar.

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