Monday, 18 January 2010

You have to laugh.

I'm late to the party on this one. Others have had their say already. Still, when I went to the original article it was so full of such intense amusement that I just had to read the whole thing.

I write this stuff for fun. I'm paid nothing to do it, it costs me nothing to do it and I don't have any ads here. Total turnover for the blog is zero. I exist in other places too, more of which at some future date, and none of that costs me a penny either. I don't do it for money. I have a day job for that.

You know how much thought and analysis went into this blogging 'business'? Not a scrap. Not one second of consideration other than finding a decent title for the place. What was it going to be about? What were its objectives? No idea, and none. It started with a few loony ramblings I never expected anyone to ever read and just grew from there.

Well, not 'grew'. It's still zero-turnover and it's still loony ramblings but more people read it now. Perhaps it 'spread' more than 'grew'.

What are my objectives now? None. I write what I think of the world, people read it, some agree, some don't and it just goes from there. There is no underlying organisation or defined direction. It's an online version of a pub chat that anyone in the world can join in.

I certainly never planned this blog along the lines of this comment fom the article:

My understanding of Web 2.0 is that essentially it involves setting up conceptual and technological frameworks and portals which provoke or harvest crowdsourcing responses in vast numbers of people. Most organisations then choose to work out how to make money out of these instincts without dismantling the desire people have acquired to continue working for “free” (witness Twitter’s recent deals with Google and Microsoft) – socialism could probably choose to make use of such instincts in the same way or in different ways: in order to raise funds for more traditional campaigning activities or in order to develop the technologies to generate self-sustaining content with an ideological bent and algorithmic dissemination.

I haven't heard language like that since I left the world of corporate meetings, and I still don't know what the hell he's trying to say. At least he didn't use 'paradigm'.

The best I can make out of that is that I think he wants people to work for free and also give him money. If that's the angle, good luck with that!

It's finally clear why Labour perform so poorly in the blog world. They analyse it to death. They pick it apart and hold meetings over the corpse and wonder why it doesn't come back to life when they reassemble it the way they want it. Even though they talk of 'doing things for the social good' and 'getting supporters to work for free' they cannot conceive of doing anything without funding. Nothing can be done unless it's controlled by an agency somewhere. Nothing can possibly happen unless it's funded. Nobody could possibly be doing something just for the fun of it.

Non-labour bloggers are often tagged 'right wing'. That label now means nothing more than 'not Labour'. They have even called the SNP right-wing! So it's nothing to concern yourself with, it means nothing. They rant about the 'right wing blogosphere' as if there really is such a thing. They rail against the 'evil capitalists funding the enemy' as if such capitalists, and such funding, actually exist. I wish! Actually, no, I don't. If I was writing all this under instruction from someone else, I'd hate it.

There is no such thing as a 'right wing blogosphere'. Bloggers are individuals and when you try to control their output you get bland droning within defined and regulated limits. Labour love defined and regulated limits and apply them to everything, along with layers of management, corporate logos, mission statements and central office control. It's not the left wing bloggers who are bland. It's the limitations on what they can say and do that make them so.

Look at Tom Harris, whose Labour blog stays on message but who injects humour now and then and even disagrees with current dogma once in a while. Compare that with the intense Labour focus of LabourList (I can't bring myself to link to it), devoid of humour and where any dissenting voice is a Tory troll. Tom Harris blogs as an individual. LabourList is blogging by committee and it doesn't work.

Devil's Kitchen
and Old Holborn have multiple contributors. That is not the same as blogging by committee. The individual contributors don't discuss what they are going to write, they just put it on the blog. Other blog members can disagree, sometimes vociferously, but there is no editing of the original post by other blog members. You are reading the words of an individual. Just as when you get a group in a pub, one person puts forward a view and the rest argue about it.

Trying to converse on a place that's blogging by committee is like trying to argue against a council who are fining you for having an overfilled bin. You don't know who you're talking to, nobody takes responsibility for any statement and nobody ever needs to back down and admit they were wrong - even if it's patently obvious that their stance is ridiculous.

It's not a socialist thing. Other socialist parties seem to manage perfectly well. It's a Labour thing and it stems from a total inability to understand that people can do things themselves without the State telling them how, and without dipping in to the funding pot.

Therefore they discuss how much funding they need to employ a blogger or two, who's going to stump up the cash and who their target audience should be. None of those things apply to blogging. It's free. You write it and click 'send'. You don't even have to buy a stamp. So what if nobody reads it? All it cost you was a little time.

Blogs just float around in the ether. They are not to be found on newsagent's shelves. People find you when you comment on other blogs and they're interested enough to track back the link. If they're not interested, that's okay, it's all free. You cannot decide on a target audience. The whole world can find the blog if they want to.

As for 'local', well, why use the internet for that? You could just start up chats in the pub - except telling those locals that smoking, drinking and pies are all evil is going to mean a pretty short conversation.

Labour don't understand that the internet is not something they can control. They don't understand that it does not need a committee to run it. They cannot cope with the idea that an individual can do anything at all without State control.

And as long as they can't grasp that, they will lose.


subrosa said...

Right, left, centre - I suppose I'm a mongrel where that's concerned.

I actually started because I disapproved of the Iraq war and also saw Afghanistan was going the same way. Nobody was talking about it or suggesting ways we could shake politicians, so my meagre contribution was to acknowledge those who were killed.

It's developed into a type of Sunday magazine with certain articles which catch my eye being drawn to the attention of my small but loyal bunch of readers. Also if I'm typing I can't eat so I'll never get fat as a blogger. :)

I await the response that you can eat pie, chips and peas when typing!

Leg-iron said...

Eating while typing is difficult.

Drinking while typing is easy.

On the other hand, typing while drinking...

Gareth said...


Clearly you can't see "the structure and rules of the internet". For £80k I'll show you the paradigm you are missing.

I think the blogpost has been misunderstood. What they seem to be talking about isn't another Labourlist or Conservative Home or anything like that. It's more like the Indymedia network - local blogs for local people, aggregated centrally. It'd be a doddle to do even with Blogger - one blog per town written by local activists and one more blog to aggregate all the posts from all the other blogs.(Can I have my £80k now please?)

Do you think they basically mean one blog per consituency? If so that's a lot of £80ks to be found from somewhere to enable two living wages plus lots of printer ink and paper to get their "blog-generated information and propaganda into areas which are or have become depoliticised". I am far from pleased to see they have spied a taxpayer funded route to supporting their enterprise. Point 1 also cautions against "an openness to critique and comment". How pitiful.

Points 1 to 5 are basically '5 reasons why we can't do it'. In their world everyone else is doing it *wrong* or is funded by Lord Cashcroft, or both.


Get yourself a feedbag. Hot steamy food in your face right now.

Leg-iron said...

one blog per town written by local activists and one more blog to aggregate all the posts from all the other blogs

You mean... one blog to rule them all, one blog to find them. One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Yes, for Labour, that would work.

Now, about that feedbag....

Rob F said...

This is a local blog for local people; there'll be no trouble here!

Tubbs - take off your clothes!

BTS said...

"Eating while typing is difficult.

Drinking while typing is easy.

On the other hand, typing while drinking..."

I'll get you a straw for your birthday..

banned said...

"At least he didn't use 'paradigm'". Thankfully, why do they always talk like that?

captainranty said...

Mine was originally a rant space, and it still is to a large extent. At least you might be allocated a "reasonable" label: left, centre or right. I am in the loony category. For a while I thought I was branded a conspiracist but no, I'm a loony.

Still, judging by the growth, I am entertaining some people. That can't be a bad thing. And, I don't like ads myself so I don't want to subject my small band of readers to them.

I come here for the same reason that I think people read my blog. You are not a shill, and neither am I. There are far too many people for whom money is the motivator, and nothing else seems to matter. You are a terrific writer and offer a unique view. You manage to scribble what we are thinking and that has enormous value. To me, at any rate.

Blogging is therapeutic and if you are singing everyone else's song, great. If your readership dips, change the subject.

Whatever you do, don't stop. I can drift off and no-one would notice but you would leave a dirty great hole.


John R said...

I love the "survive on £80k" comment in the original article.

Survive? SURVIVE? Surely that's wealth beyond the dreams of avarice?

PT Barnum said...

I used to be (don't hit me!) chair of a Labour Party local branch before I left the party in 1994 and what I can say is that this kind of deluded claptrap, stemming from the same source that gave us 'stakeholders' and 'focus groups' is a direct fallout from the Blairite takeover of Labour. Back in the day, individual branches exercised huge autonomy and would request and receive the imput from the national party that they wanted. Centralisation and homogenisation, in contrast to the old style local activism, is the agenda of New Labour. The sick joke is that no one still in the party realises it.

I, for one, am no kind of right wing anything, but I read blogs from all points of the spectrum, and this one I read every day with pleasure.

microdave said...

I woke up (sort of) this morning feeling really crap - I don't sleep well. I saw in the paper that today is supposed to be "Blue Monday" - the most depressing day of the year. Yep, all agreed so far....

Then I came here and read our hosts usual thoughtful prose, and followed Gareth's link to the Onion News Network. Result - I nearly spat my tea over the keyboard with laughter!! And it didn't involve any government control or initiatives, let alone cost £80K!

A pox on you Gordon, and the rest of the braindead who look up to you as a "leader"....

W/V - "involu" spooky,or what?

Stewart Cowan said...

Fine post, LI. The left/right paradigm (sorry!) is to keep the proles from thinking - the choice is A or B; there is no C, D, E or Z.

I suppose I blog because doing nothing is no longer an option and it is an escape valve. I'm always considering what Phase II of my plans might entail, i.e. when the talking's done and it's time to get the scuzzballs into court to account for their treason.

Anything legal considered!

Anonymous said...

'Labour don't understand that the internet is not something they can control... They cannot cope with the idea that an individual can do anything at all without state control.'

Dead right. Nor has it yet occurred to them, or their unseen paymasters, that vast amounts of information about themselves and their cronies are, and will increasingly be, placed within the public domain. One little press of a button.

May I say how much I enjoy reading your blog, and those of the folk commenting here. I thoroughly enjoy the thoughtful and laconic approaches like yours and Old Rightie's, the missile launches of Grumpy Old Twat, and the mischief making of Old Holborn. Others, such as Subrosa and Anna Raccoon, have a way of analysing what they see around them in an insightfully and in a very readable way. There are many others, truly too many to list, all well worth a visit. I do hope that you will all continue.

Rob said...

Socialists don't understand blogging in the same way they don't understand the Free Market - both are the result of vast numbers of individual actions, the product of which is something they believe is 'controlled'.

Strangely, these very people sneer at those who don't understand or deny the Theory of Evolution, though I imagine only one in a hundred could explain it. How can you understand and believe in evolution yet not have the first clue about Capitalism?

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