Ross from the Hansard Society has been kind enough to send me a copy of the interim report that he’s done evaluating government’s use of web 2.0 stuff, blogs and forums and so on.
Much of the above the radar (in blogging terms) interest in this has been in how David Miliband’s blog would fare. I’ve defended his blog here and elsewhere in the past, largely on the grounds that it is amazing that a Secretary of State has wanted to engage through a blog and has consistently found the time to do it.
Ross’s report understands the pressures that Miliband is under and dismisses some of the less constructive criticism of the blog, but raises some useful criticisms:
There are aspects of David Miliband’s blogging that have justified the criticism. The most important is that for reasons of inexperience and lack of time Miliband has not adequately established his blog’s presence online. There are very few links to other relevant blogs – either in the permanent ‘blog roll’ or in the posts. The Minister rarely interacts with the comments made in response to his posts, and does not visit other blogs to comment. Therefore, the Minister’s blog fails to exploit its potential as a node in the communicative network that blogging has created. It stands out because of its establishment associations and looks awkward next to its peers.
I think that’s fair enough, it’d be nice if it felt like Miliband were part of “the conversation”, and he spent more time talking to those trying to discuss the same issues online. But, don’t we have to cut the bloke some slack and recognise that he is trying to do something new in an environment which if not hostile can be sceptical?