Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why right-wingers blog so nicely

Some B4L regulars have posted about the relative success of rightwing blogs compared to their leftwing counterparts. My amateurish psychoanalysis may show where this difference originates, but does it matter?

It matters not a jot. For all the hype, blogs have approximately zero influence. Even political journalists have far less influence than they probably like to believe and bloggers are way below them. Just as most stuff in newspapers is of the 'that's quite interesting but I've something else to do right now' variety, so too are most posts, sadly often without the quite interesting bit.

As they say in the USA, 'you do the math'. Even if the claims for the reach of some sites are correct and they really do have a couple of hundred thousand unique readers and if they all happen to live in the UK, that's still fewer than 250 people on average per UK constituency. Their real readership is probably lower; it can be misleading to count hits over a month. It's a bit like counting how many times a magazine is picked up to get at its total circulation.

Readers are usually in the 'already converted' camp. Comment boxes show that many of them either agree wholeheartedly with the author or venomously disagree. They are not the vital swing voters who determine our fate at election time.

And what of my pseudo-scientific analysis? Wild generalisations are necessary. Right wingers tend to be more orderly, obsessive and self-disciplined. Read John O'Farrell's amusing book 'Things can only get better' and his observations about canvassing and how to spot a Tory supporting household. A tidy front garden with lawns that end in those steep, dead-straight cliffs that give way to neat little borders is, he writes, a dead give-away.

Right wingers tend to believe the world is simple and could be brought to heel if only everyone behaved like them or were in jail. They love certainty. They like to join 'exclusive' clubs and societies where they can gossip and share conspiracy theories. They often have a passion for what passes as 'breaking' news; it's perhaps a hangover from the playground taunt 'I know something you don't know'.

No wonder their loyal bands of right-thinking readers can’t wait to read their tit-bits. And no wonder their sites are meticulously updated with gossipy posts about the alleged shortcomings of those they label the bad guys. As their chief spokesman Margaret Thatcher said 'if you're not with us, you're against us'.

By contrast those who lean to the left seem to have a better grasp of complexity and a more laid-back approach to life. They tend to think the best of people and are well used to uncertainty especially if they've ever been to a political meeting with people they imagined had similar views to their own........

So relax.

4 Comments:

At 19:46, Blogger Mike Ion said...

I think that you are probably right to be cautious but... Blogs can provide an opportunity for a party to reconnect with its core vote in a way that has not been possible in the past. My worry is that Labour is not looking at blogging in a strategic manner - it is a wonderful opportunity that it is, on the whole, missing.

 
At 19:06, Blogger SPL said...

Very true. Blogging has the potential to take off, as it has done in South Korea and (to an extent) America. It is also quite important in China, as a means of political dissent. As for the UK, blogging is still as soundless as dots on a disc of snow, and will be for many years yet.

 
At 16:32, Blogger SPL said...

My further thoughts on this issue may be found here.

 
At 05:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also: Blogs are more likely to be written by those who, frankly, have the time to write them. Those people are more likely to be in managerial positions or with a lot of spare time, which would probably correlate quite nicely with their income and/or wealth.

Of course, this is by no means a 100% accurate predictor of political leaning, but as everyone knows, there is a correlation.

 

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