The Role of Blogs

The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election clearly showed the potential for the political use of the internet in campaigning. Our own general election here in the U.K. is likely to be no different, particularly with blogs such as Iain Dale’s Diary and LabourList already featuring prominently in discussions in the mainstream media.

Yet when there was originally speculation about the political role of blogs, it was suggested that they provided little more than a platform for the views of an individual. The comments sections seem to contradict this. Whilst yes, in some cases people are angered or seek to provoke others, there is also opportunity to hold the blogger to account and discuss issues further. Bloggers have taken to publicly asking questions of each other and answering them – as when Guido Fawkes of Order-Order questioned Daniel Finkelstein’s approach to tax.

Edward Murrow’s maxim holds true:

the fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other

Both comments and the network of blogs (I refuse to use the term “blogosphere”) inform reader and writer alike. The change in tone from dismissing blogs to accepting them is one that has, and hopefully will continue to, expand discussion and debate.