The Times – British bloggers grow bolder: A study of British political blogs carried out by the Hansard Society last year criticised the UK’s main sites for pandering to “internet connoisseurs rather than ordinary members of the public”… Political blogging in the UK is much more embryonic and exclusive than in the US,” said Ross Ferguson, the new media manager at the Hansard Society. “UK bloggers have yet to decide whether blogging is a means to promote transparency in politics or another tool for party campaigning.”
I think you already know which I would prefer. Oh, this article goes on to mention some agressive chap with a weblog.
I just caught a fabulous profile of – and interview with – Norman Gunston on Radio 4. You chaps need to find out more about Norman Gunston, yes you do. Start here and follow your nose.
Another interesting and not totally unrelated trail begins here in the pursuit of more information about a man by the name of John Safran.
John once noticed that the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyworld didn’t include any representatives from Iraq. His solution (after he showed viewers how to break into the theme park without paying) was to plant a little Saddam Hussein doll in amongst the figures. He also took the time to erect a special plaque in the room dedicated to Walt Disney that claimed in quiet, matter-of-fact way that good ol’ Walt was a Nazi sympathiser.
I’ve been so busy with BB that haven’t really been keeping up with the whole Jeff Gannon thing, but how can I not take an interest when things are getting this interesting?
(Some links in the latter report NSFW.)
LivingInTerror.com: (Is) an experiment designed to track the number of terror related stories across the worlds media. By doing so I hope to draw attention to the disparity between what is portrayed in the media and the reality of everyday life for most people.
Give that man a lollipop!
WriteToThem.com – the new and improved version of FaxYourMP – is now in beta release. Go and enjoy.
You may also be interested in the release of ‘From Weird to Wired': MPs, the Internet and Representative Politics in the UK.
Here’s my favourite bit so far:
First, the survey asked about the visibility of MPs websites. 22 % of all respondents claim to know whether their local MP has an Internet website. In absolute terms, there are still four in five Britons who do not know about MPs websites. The result is however surprisingly high when one considers the overall low recognition rating of MPs (43 %, see above), internet access levels (around 55 %) and the lack of effort most MPs put into pursuing and publicising an online presence.7 Citizens’ predictions tend to be relatively accurate, as 69 % of respondents gives a correct answer with respect to the actual existence of a site for their MP. If anything, citizens underestimate the extent to which MPs are online: 14 % generously credit their MPs with a site when they don’t have one, but 78 % of those who think that their MP is not online are in fact wrong, suggesting that MPs still need to do considerable work on the marketing of their websites.
Cheers to Wainer for some lovely work and a solid credit for Bloggerheads in the footnotes.
The Backing Blair site has been down for the last 30 minutes following a complaint to our providers. We’re just now trying to find out more about the nature of the complaint, but it’s unlikely to be legitimate.
Here’s a legal titbit for you while you wait (from this PDF): 4.18 It is important to make clear the distinction between cyber-squatting and spoof websites in the political context. Cyber-squatting might be defined as the malicious registration of internet domain names for financial or, in some cases, political gain. Spoof websites, on the other hand, generally make no pretence to deceive electors and typically include humorous or more general critical analysis and comment. Given the importance of freedom of speech within a fair campaign environment, we do not consider that spoof websites, where clearly identified as such, are intrinsically damaging to the campaign environment.
UPDATE – This is a genuine stroke of genius and this kind of noise from Milburn does not surprise me one jot.
UPDATE – The complaint was made with regards to the London Underground song and refers to “excessive use of possibly copyrighted material.” Excessive use? It’s either in violation of copyright or it’s not, surely? Backing Blair should be back with you shortly. We will try to identify where the complaint originated.
Incidentally, before this (ahem) landmark moment, the Flash video for the London Underground song reached over a quarter of a million individual web users. In two weeks.
UPDATE – The most recent update has been posted to the Backing Blair site.
I’ve been advised by Rui that there is a election in Portugal on the 20th of this month and almost every leader of a major party has a weblog:
Jeronimo de Sousa – comuniste party
Jose Socrates – socialist party
Paulo Portas – wright party
Pedro Santana Lopes – social democrat party
I can’t read Portugese, but these appear to be very much campaign-driven (as opposed to communication-driven). Only this blog allows comments on some posts.
The World Press Photo Of The Year 2004 is likely to be seen by many more people than the World Press Photo Of The Year 2003.
I’m sure you can work out why.
OK, we’re officially in campaign season.
The starting gun won’t be fired until early April, but Labour’s launch of their vacuous pledges and Blair’s helicopter dash make it clear that the race has already begun.
There have been a number of concerns raised about the Backing Blair campaign. Well, three to be exact…
1. Our aims need to be clearer from the main page onwards.
That’s true. A change to the intro text is being made today.
2. Can’t we work instead to improve the system that has let us down so badly?
In the next 8 weeks? Unlikely. Let me put it this way: we’d just love to make some improvements to our home, but we thought we might extinguish the fire in the kitchen first.
3. You want me to vote Tory? F**k off!
Good to see that people are so angry and disturbed by Blair’s leadership that they’re willing to give him a jolly good slap. Well, perhaps not a slap. Maybe a bit of a ticking off. Or perhaps a polite letter. Perhaps we’d best not mention it and carry on as if nothing is happening. Maybe if we give him one more chance…
We’ve added a major post to the blog and incorporated a link to it into the aforementioned intro text. You can read that post here…
Tories and terrorism.
These will cheer you up no end.
This is the best thing ever.
[edit – site was moved, links have been updated.]