Monday, 13 April 2009

Beneath the valley of the underdog

According to the Mirror's opinion column today:

"This blogosphere is largely populated by the cretinous, infantile forums of abuse dressed up as argument - pompous prigs of all political persuasions passing themselves off as intellectuals. But the power of these small-minded attention seekers has seduced the real political world into thinking they actually matter. They don't."

Well, I admit... I kind of know what they're talking about. But there's a risk that events of the past days could lead Labour to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and decide that the territority of the blogosphere is too dangerous for 'mainstream' politics. Which would be a shame. I think LabourList needs to be salvaged, whether under its current name or not, I'm not sure. I think it has its faults. I confess, it's not on my 'must read' list, although I do always at least skim through the LunchtimeList email.

I think one of its problems is that, quite frankly, there are too many contributors. I know the idea is that it should be an open forum, and anyone who wants to post, can do so. I appreciate the good intentions behind this, but the trouble is, it means the site ends up with no coherent identity, no personality. Multiple contributors can work; Blackburn Labour is a good example, but there they've taken care to personalise each contributor and there is an overall 'feel' to the site, which is lacking on LabourList. The other problem of course with so many contributions is that you end up not being able to see the wood for the trees; I end up simply clicking on articles by people I already know (OK, I read the ones by Douglas, so I can tell him I have) and the less well-known contributors don't get a look in.

I have some ideas as to how it can be reformed, but I suspect there will be lots of talk about this over the next few weeks so I'm keeping my ideas to myself for now.

Postscript: Have a look at Hopi's take on this too. Note that I make it into his 'comedy' section of blogs to be encouraged.

8 comments:

thebristolblogger said...

What's wrong with cretinous, infantile forums of abuse dressed up as argument anyway?

Personally I love The Mail, The Sun, News of the World and even The Mirror.

The British newspaper industry delivering a moral lecture to the blogosphere - or anyone else for that matter - is them having a laugh. Isn't it?

"Pompous prigs of all political persuasions passing themselves off as intellectuals. But the power of these small-minded attention seekers has seduced the real political world into thinking they actually matter. They don't."

That could just as easily be the newspaper industry couldn't it?

They just don't like it up 'em. They're finished and know it.

Leg-iron said...

Actually, Labourlist was a good idea and a decent format, unfortunately implemented by a rabid chimp.

If you'd put someone more stable, like Tom Harris, in charge of it, and made it an official Labour site instead of a pseudo-independent one, we'd have had some real competition to worry about.

Probably too late, now it's linked so closely with the latest big story. Next time, maybe?

The Bristol Blogger said...

The name 'Labour List' says it all. No personality. It's like reading a shopping list.

The decent political blogs (Guido, Dale etc.) have stolen directly from our newspapers and have strong, exuberant, opinionated personalities.

Labour, however, keep trying to steal ideas from the US Democrats. I don't know much about their blogs but if they're like US newspapers then they're deadly dull.

Our news and politics culture is very different to the US. Ideas don't travel well.

Also, apparently, when Draper was touting Labour List around Westminster he was admitting he knew nothing about the internet.

Who in their right mind puts in charge someone who knows nothing? Labour are reaping the reward for chronic croneyism.

Kerry said...

I would never describe Guido's blog as decent.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Regardless of the politics, Guido is a good product. The same way the Mail's a good product.

Kerry said...

I feel tainted if I look at his site. It's vile.

timbone said...

TheBristolBlogger said "Who in their right mind puts in charge someone who knows nothing?"
It is quite usual for someone who knows nothing to appoint someone who knows how to switch something on. I am sure there are many MPs who think they have arrived when they have mastered the art of opening and closing an email, but don't ask tham to double click, that is for the expert.
Mind you, whoever wrote that Mirror headline didn't know much about it anyway - "This blogosphere is largely populated by...forums of abuse dressed up as argument". Calling a blog a forum is like saying a club committee meeting is the same thing as a club social.

thebristolblogger said...

"I feel tainted if I look at his site. It's vile."

The comments section tends to be awful and is best ignored but the main site itself is pretty mainstream by British press standards.