The politics of blogging

Blogging:I had briefly raised the topic of blogging on the weekend with a post about On the Left: Email has its limits in a spot where I explored some other options I wanted to draw peoples attention to.


The primary problem of left uptake of these web based formats is however not political but technological.There is ignorance fostered by absence of practice and application.


There also has to be a REASON. Herein lies the rub: unless it is proven that these platforms are indeed useful and relevant they won't be addressed or engaged.I think they're VERY useful and VERY relevant but that doesn't necessarily mean that others see the point as I do.


Fortunately as part of the upcoming Socialist Alliance conference there is a session on using the Internet (websites, blogs, etc).


Part of this problem is precisely what has already been said in this exchange already to the effect that "Dave Riley is looking into it..." Aside from the fact I'm no expert in any shape or form -- merely a dabbler and DIYer and a mere user-- theres' this core deference to the 'expert' to as though it's left up to some others to negotiate this frontier and come back with a map and a bus ticket.


Well, thats' hooey. The very nature of the web today is being engineered around what's often called a Web 2.0 interface where YOU do the work and generate the activity. This is a whole new ballgame that is user driven. I don't want to get too enthusiastic about this as I know that there are two worlds -- one online and another offline -- and I realise how separate the assumptions of both can be and how they bifurcate


Nonetheless these things aren't abstractions and they aren't difficult to relate to --and , for the moment, (get this) they're FREE!


MySpace was mentioned --and thats' a phenomenon -- the most popular web site on the planet. It's owned by Murdoch. But its free -- and I've got a space on MySpace-- but , as far as I know, Resistance hasn't.


There's another related phenomenon and that is generally world wide the far left is not engaging in this expansion of web possibilities. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that its culture has been propagandist and the concept that you interact on a daily basis with the rest of the world -- indeed anyone/anywhere in fact -- and improvise your responses on a day to day basis is a little alien to where the traditional left is coming from.


But thats' the new platform that's being engineered and in terms of being out there and boogieing I think in that regard this list -- the GLW discussion list -- is a great example of that.


But in a sense I come back to the much embraced slogan of the Healyites in this country: build the daily! Well, today we can -- on the web.


What that means in terms of engaging these web possibilities is posting or blogging well and posting or blogging often. The interior decorated flashy web site with all its pretty things has been transcended by this new interactivity which has an immediacy and freshness it is hard to keep up with.


So in one sense this is very much about volume -and hopefully about quality.


So basically in terms of old left use of the web we're talking about archive web activity in contrast to this new thing which for want of a better word is called Web 2.0.


I'm a Web 2.0 junkie and Wikipedia-- while a great example of Web 2.0 in practice --also carries a review of its ways and means.


I also think this is a political question and not merely a technicality because it has so much to do with how the left organises itself. This is no minor relevancy. The SA for instance could not function as a national entity without the internet.


People referred to the fact that Indymedia has been bypassed by these new options and that's very true. So too has the format engineered by such exponents as Eric Lee with projects like LabourStart. The way things are now and the options currently on offer I can safely say I have no idea whatsoever how best we can utilize the potentials before us. It would be crudely schematic to do so.


I can tell you theres' a lot of futurist bullshit out there but theres' a good review of some of these prospects here: "Rewriting the Headlines: The Rise of Participatory Media". It's a bit over enthusiastic and indulgent but I think the program has a feel for the trajectory.


But I do know one thing: you gotta learn to blog. Lesson Number One is that ...otherwise you'll miss the ability to interact with this stuff as a deliverer of content.I say this because blogs and blogging offer the sort of interface that can build your awareness and confidence. I think thats' the threshold of where we have to go NOW. Even if you blog about the weather or your love life, or use a blogging platform or its kin to display your digital images -- thats' the coal face you
need to start with. Get what you have to offer webside: whether it be Flickr, Wordpress, Blogger, del.icio.us,MySpace...have a go!Take these platforms for a ride.


And its free and its easy...any anyone can do it.Even me, and I think I've engineered close to 40 blogs over the past 2-3 years-- various topics, different excuses, for me, for other peoples, etc. And I (for good or ill)usually blog daily. (Examples: my daily hit rates vary from 40 -200, Left I on the News is about 650 per day. Lenins Tomb varies from between 800 to 2000 and the top blogs in the world are harnessing more than one million visits per day.)


Women?


As for the initial issue of women and elists like this I think it is overwhelmingly true that their participation is at a low level. That's also true of other lists I am and have been on -- lists to do with so many issues that don't have one iota of political relevance. But women blog. Take a tour via "NEXT BLOG" on Blogger and see what you find. I often wonder if there is any young woman in Singapore who doesn't blog!


And go visit The Sappho Manifesto for a example of great left blogging. I think her's is one of the best blogs on the left.It's totally in the pocket without an ounce of wankerism. Sappho sets the benchmark as does Eli Stephens at Left I.


No bullshit. Straight talking. Fresh content. Generated with a particular audience in mind.These may not be the most popular but they sure are engineered for relevance. Always on the money...


I reckon we should follow suit...

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