The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Is The British Blogosphere Growing Up?

Posted by The Futility Monster on October 21, 2009 @ 07:30

This picture reminds me of the game Risk. I have nothing further to add...

This picture reminds me of the game Risk. I have nothing further to add...

Last night marked something of quiet revolution in British political blogging…

Political unveiled its very first web-exclusive opinion poll. The first of its kind for a British online publication. And an amazing journey from its opening salvo in March 2004 with its first few tentative steps into this brave new world.

It’s impressive for the obvious reason that, firstly, polling of this kind is traditionally very expensive. So much so that the only people who could afford it would be the media organisations, awash with cash. But, it seems, through a useful arrangement with a new pollster from foreign shores, looking to make a name for themselves here, that particular obstacle has been navigated.

Secondly, this is a step forward to tackling the monopoly of the mainstream media on the news agenda. Sure, it will only feed into a news cycle, but the more the blogosphere has its own original material to work with, the more convincing reasons we can make for people pushing aside the old organs of agenda manipulation.

But thirdly, it is a sign of independence and maturity. That these instruments of the new media are steadily building up importance and relevance, growing from their back-bedroom business origins, more than just a one man band, turning into a serious contender for being a grown-up part of political life.

OK, maybe I’m overdoing the importance of this. After all, it’s unlikely there’ll be many other blogs joining the fray to continue this trend.

But as someone who wrote a mega dissertation on blogging a couple of years ago, one that was somewhat dismissive of the (as then) contemporary ability of blogging to have a major impact on British politics, this is an important development. It is a step in the right direction to ensuring that not only is the blogosphere a place where opinions are traded, but is also a provider of new factual data – a new basis upon which opinions can be made. A tiny proof that there is some positive consequence to all our bluster…

Nevertheless, there’s still something amiss among the British political blogosphere. It’s a topic I will return to in a few days time… but I think the nature of British politics means we will never achieve the same kind of resonance that the American political blogs do.

The question to me is why there is no sign that a major blogging network is going to emerge, formed by people outside the Westminster bubble, and outwith the usual mainstream media organised candidates (e.g. Comment Is Free, Coffee House). In other words, a truly organic political community, built from the ground up by independent activists.

Without it, I don’t think the British political blogosphere will ever achieve the critical mass to achieve policy or other political goals without the support of mainstream journalists to promote their cause.

But either way, these extra opinion polls won’t go amiss.

I dedicate this early morning bowl of Weetabix to Mike Smithson. Cheers, dude.


2 Responses to “Is The British Blogosphere Growing Up?”

  1. […] Is The British Blogosphere Growing Up? […]

  2. […] chose to spread their wings by, in a British blogosphere first, teaming up with Mike Smithson of Political to provide polling for them, presumably as […]

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