As well as the spoken word and books, the third form of communication I have used is the internet.
In May 2005 I began to write a blog:
and have kept up posting on it ever since. The idea of a blog is to create a kind of personal diary, but given the subject it’s also to attract some comment from other readers. I don’t get anything like the traffic on my site as the big ones like Iain Dale’s Diary or Guido Fawkes (both available via a click if you visit my site) but some 60,000 have visited since I started, including a fair number of students and some teachers too.
How to become an expert blogger…
1. To write a good blog you need to master a minimum amount of the required IT know-how; if I can do this it must be easy.
2. You also need to follow politics quite closely and be able to form views on what is happening. It helps if you are a bit of a ‘political anorak’ as I suppose I have become.
3. You need a rather thicker skin than is normal given most civilised political discussion. Some comments can be rude and occasionally brutal. This is unfortunate maybe, but it’s inevitable given that comments can be posted ‘anonymously’ and at least it keeps things lively. I recently posted on an article by Max Hastings agreeing that the absence of inhibitions regarding obscene language these days has overall reduced our quality of life. Comments included one or two anonymous choice Anglo-Saxon words which I suppose were all too predictable.
So, are blogs really that important?
Some bloggers see themselves as being at the cutting edge of a new medium, setting an agenda of their own which challenges the ‘Metropolitan Commentariat’. I’m not sure this is true- at least not yet it isn’t. Bloggers are mostly one- person shows lacking the resources to cover events as they happen and able to influence things only on the margins: mostly on matters concerning gossip and the transgressions of individuals. Readership of the political blogosphere is still quite small- though the big blogs attract over a million hits a month- and it would be absurd to consider it as a genuine competitor to the press and broadcasting just yet. However, it is lively, provides interaction and is a genuine alternative; it can only develop further and become more influential. Personally, I do it because it’s fun; you can feel as if you are producing your own online newspaper, complete with pictures and editorials.
See also https://politicaleducationforum.com/site/content_home.php for a range of products and services for teachers and students of politics.