Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Are we expecting too much?

There has been a lot of negative comments about the beta version of Labourlist, particularly from among the Conservative bloggers. Less has been said about their Blue Blog, but essentially both have the same raison d'etre. The aim of both is to promote the respective parties and their policies. Derek Draper, the strategist behind Labourlist told the media: "I am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers" which is perhaps an odd claim. Why odd, well it is doubtful that there are 60 million people who are interested enough in politics to read the words of elected representatives or party members? The Blue Blog gains very little in the way of comments; Labourlist is doing better in that respect, 18 comments on a post that tells members not to be disheartened by the polls (including one essay). The webmasters also seems to be allowing all comments, or at least it is not a place to find purely positive messages. What is wrong with Blue Blog? It seems to be dominated by very serious statements from senior Conservatives, that may not be a bad thing but will only attract a certain type of visitor. Labourlist is more random in terms of content, so perhaps some grab greater attention than others appearing more like Labourhome and Libdem Voice. Also it is new and was hyped by the media, so perhaps there will be more interest. But is there a long term pull factor with either site and can either engage anymore than the normal website is a big question. Chances are Labourlist could well be successful as a portal for members, some of whom may be mobilised to a greater extent due to the site when they are required to come out and canvas for the party at the next election; the problem is though that it can be attacked by flamers and trollers and so used to undermine the brand. The Blue Blog seems to be more of an information portal, it offers the same opportunities for opponents, but seems of more use to journalists and those keenly involved in the party and its political platform than a wider audience. With the former, if it is a supporters network why make it public; with the latter why make policy announcements in blog format? Both are interesting despite the attacks, but neither currently seem to be attracting the interactivity the creators seem to desire - as for recreating the Obama phenomenon that is a real pipe dream!

No comments: