21 March 2006

Ministerial blogging

Blogging seems to go through peaks and troughs in terms of publicity and popularity. First it was Microsoft employee blogging (Scobleizer), then Google's developer blogs, then the power of consumer blogs (in particular railing against Wal-Mart) - and now, as it inevitably would, it's gone political, with David Miliband launching his own.

Corporate blogs always run the risk of being ghost-written, especially when they're supposedly from someone high up in an organisation. Now, I have no doubt much of this is written by Miliband himself, but it's probably gone through countless filters, comms teams, writers and researchers before it goes live. Sensible, yes, but in some ways defying the point of blogging in the first place.

Where's the humanity? Where's Miliband complaining about another night of living off canapes? Where's the opinion? I'm not saying the blog should be "The Secret Diary of David Miliband, aged 15 and three quarters", just that there's a massive opportunity to humanise the political process and open a few doors - especially to one of the more disaffected segments of the voter population, the young and young professionals who play with the internet.

I don't think anyone really needs to know that he's been to this or that meeting, or that he's been interviewed, except maybe in passing. What we want to know is the nitty-gritty of the meetings and the silly details. Miliband himself quotes the following from Arianna Huffington - "Blogs are by nature very personal - an intimate, often ferocious expression of the blogger's passions" - and then completely fails to excite any passion at all.

It's all about pull and push. Pull people in with the revelations about who's the messiest eater in the cabinet, who's getting excited about what, the bits we never see and that - in a celebrity and gossip obsessed culture - we all want to know. Then subtly - almost subliminally - push us information about schemes or publications.

If this doesn't happen, then the blog's simply going to become a dull diary of meetings no-one cares about - and a place for the disaffected to post vitriol.

Maybe I'll have a rant about comments and feedback later in the week.

Now, to make my blog more interesting, here's the gossip: V for Vendetta is very good, although Natalie Portman appears to play an English South African who's spent a lot of time in New Zealand and Australia. That accent's all over the place. Hugo Weaving puts in a great performance although you never see his face so, as far as we know, it could be David Prowse under there; and threatening prison guards from the West Country really don't work. "You'll die in here, my lover".

Oh, and even with no hair Natalie Portman is stunning.

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