The problem with politicians…

Kevin writing over at Strange Attractor:

The problem with politicians moving into this space is similar to the failings of traditional media often in this space, they simply use a new tool in a traditional way. They use blogs as broadcast and publishing and forget the return channel.

Sure the worst of us do, and isn’t that true of bloggers across the piece?  Not everyone is going to use the tools to their full extent.

But I think that the best of politican blogs are just what Kevin would wish for; people striving to have a conversation, actively listening to the things that are going on around them and responding to that.

Too often political blogs are seen through the lens of a very small number of people when actually if you look there’s a wider thing going on.

But hey why bother acknowledging that when you can just have a pop.

About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Civic Society, Ephemera. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The problem with politicians…

  1. I don’t understand why a politician using the internet to communicate should be any different from anyone else. If they’ve got the talent to do it, they will. If they haven’t, well…. judge for yourself. The trouble comes when you make promises you clearly can’t keep.

    It’s easy to read too much into blogs and blogging. If you’ve a talent to communicate, you’ll do well. But a lot of political types will fear sanctions from above and ridicule from below (or from professional blog-bores) if they do try to communicate online.

  2. andrewkbrown says:

    As you say talent will out, but I suppose the difference between politicians and citizens who blog is about the need for a specific audience.

    I’d guess politician bloggers are more like business bloggers, in that they’re trying to explain the decisions and actions they’re taking to electors/consumers. They hope that if they get it right they will see the benefit both in terms of positive feedback and to be able to translate that into the bottom line (votes/profit).

    As you say though blogging is often over rated as a tool for delivering this.

  3. Andrew,
    As I said in response to your comment on Strange Attractor, I am guilty as charged for painting with slightly a too broad brush. Yes, there are some in British politics who actully use blogs to engage with their constituents. But unfortunately, they are the exception not the rule.
    I think you are a bit unfair in pulling a quote from a much wider discussion, especially seeing as this comment was in response to Kevin Marsh of the BBC who criticised politicians for viewing blogs as a fix all for much more fundamental problems in British politics.
    I don’t have any problem with politicians blogging. The more the better as far as I’m concerned, and obviously there is a wide range in blogging behaviour and effectiveness when it comes to engagement. I’m often critical of my professional kin – journalists – when it comes to this. It’s not just about publishing, but also about listening. The feedback channel is what makes blogging unique. Otherwise, it’s just traditional publishing with comments.
    We probably both fell foul of glossing over some complexities. But I wasn’t simply having a ‘pop’.


  4. andrewkbrown says:

    Hi Kevin,

    You’re right I over-reacted to your post, for which I apologise.

    I’m still not sure about where the balance lies on politicians’ blogs and engagement at a national level there’s perhaps too few doing it to judge properly. But certainly there is a good chance that politicians will use the technology for their own ends. I’ve seen lots that don’t link to other bloggers, but that’s just as true of other sections of the ‘sphere and there’s a fear I’ve got that we will just criticise and bemoan rather than offer positive steps to engaging.

    Politicians that don’t want to talk to their electorates aren’t going to last long (or shouldn’t) but I think we’d both agree the question is whether they’ll listen as well.

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