This evening I attended an event hosted by VoxPolitics at the House of Commons.
The purpose of the meeting was to debate the power and potential of blogging in politics.
One of the key speakers was MP Tom Watson, allegedly the first British MP to practice the art of blogging.
Tom’s blog is most famous for it’s message to TEENS. (I’m still not sure if this was a serious attempt to reach ‘da kids’ or a joke. Vicky at work insists it’s a joke; Tom Watson MP didn’t confirm or deny.)
Here are the thoughts I came away from the meeting with…
- It’s hard to lie on a blog if everyone knows who you are, especially if you are a member of parliament.
- If you are a warm and witty writer you can win people over, even if your politics are rubbish. (Just look at PJ O’Rourke.)
- Conversely, if you are a poor communicator with good political ideas, then it’s just tough biscuits for you.
- If my local MP had a blog I’d read it. I’d also write to him via the blog. There are things about life in my borough that I’d want to talk about.
- It’s easy to lie and be abusive if you are an anonymous commentor leaving words on your MP’s blog.
- We trust blogs because they are websites without all the gaudy decoration and hype.
- Blogs appeal to people who read – we must therefore resign ourselves to being a vast international minority.
- Opinion formers are people who read (in all senses of the word). That puts the blogger in a potentially powerful position.
Someone tonight referred to ‘green ink letters.’ This means letters (usually written to people in charge of TV) from mad people. Green Ink Letters would be a great name for a blog.
Love the points. Take them to your MP. Get on their case. Be nice.