Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forJuly 26th, 2004 | back to home

26 July 2004

As pointed out on Crooked Timber at last there is a study on UK political weblogs (downloadable “here”:http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/assets/Final_Blog_Report_.pdf). Political weblogging really isn’t well established here in the UK though and it shows. The Hansard Society chose eight weblogs to focus on and even then “one of them was from overseas (Blog for America)”:http://www.blogforamerica.com/ and another, “VoxPolitics”:http://www.voxpolitics.com/, while often interesting, is also pretty much dormant at the moment.

Because the Hansard Society is mostly interested in building interest in political participation their emphasis – unusually – was not on the weblog creators but on what people who read them thought. They chose a (fairly) random jury of eight readers and made them comment on what they read, whether they found it interesting and whether it made them want to write a weblog themselves.

Perhaps not surprisingly, few of the readers found the weblogs they were assigned interesting (they might have been more enthusiastic if their local MP or councillor had a weblog but of course that would be pretty unlikely). Also unsurprisingly, only one of the eight actually expressed an interest in producing a weblog of their own after reading them.

It seems to me that at least in the early to middle stages the main importance of political weblogs (To the extent that they are important) would be in the way that they enable policy wonks to talk to other policy wonks as observed in the “paper I remarked on earlier”:http://blog.org/archives/cat_academia.html#001178 about US political weblogs.

Thanks also to “Harry”:http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/ (one of the bloggers mentioned who told “Chris Bertram”:http://eis.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/ at Crooked Timber about it)