7:19 am - June 26th 2008
Yesterday around 80-90 people met up at our first Blog Nation, held at the Guardian newsroom in London. Here are some pictures…
There was also some discussion of the *fact* that Labour’s going to lose the next general election – would this lead to a flowering of the left blogosphere and the complete disorientation of the right? Blogging to some extent thrives on dissent so leading right wing bloggers may have to make decisions come the election of the new Tory government in 2010 about how supportive, and therefore dull and pointless, they wish to be.
One speaker made the point that on a demo it’s perfectly possible for people who hate each other to come together for a common purpose in a united fashion, but with blogging this seems to happen far less. The left blogosphere for instance is made up of largely hostile blogs who have no history of any online cooperation on the issues. I shouldn’t exaggerate this point, of course, but its something that’s worth grappling with I think – how do “rival” blogs work together over issues that they agree on.
The Left bloggers want to change the world but they don’t want any responsibility. In this they are a mirror image of the right-wing blogosphere in the States.
Georgina Henry from the Guardian made the important point that the Left is in opposition to the Government. So it is much more fun to be a right-wing blogger. What does Iain Dale do when his party gets in to power? I suspect he will be as slavishly pro-Cameronite as he is now. More interesting will be what Guido does. I suspect he will adopt the knee-jerk impossibilism of the current left-wing blogosphere.
The second part of the debate, on feminism, turned out to be more interesting than I thought it would be. Quite a few in the room left, perhaps worried about the conflict that tends to arise over feminism, or perhaps through a distrust or dislike of feminist methods. I certainly would have put myself in the latter category but wanted to hear the discussion out.
I’m glad I did because it became clear that feminists are as divided and diverse as those fighting for civil liberties can be, or for homosexual rights, or whatever. It just so happens the most bulshy and disagreeable feminists are the ones that you tend to see more of and remember.
One point that did not emerge is the differences to these old-style grassroots networks, and the new. There are a number, that make them more powerful, in my view. Firstly, information is much more connected, referencable, researchable, and recorded. Conversations exist, potentially, in perpetuity. Connections can be made across time and space. They are potentially extremely visible.
On the downside, there is a tendency I believe on the web to find what you want and to screen out everything you don’t like. It is extremely easy for liberal left bloggers to essentially talk to either themselves, or at best to other politically-committed people, while never reaching out to the wider public. That still has to be done on the streets!
And a special thanks to all those of you who came from so far away – David from Coventry, Holly from Bristol, Dan from Colchester, Cath from Norwich and Jim from… somewhere far away too. If I’ve left your name out, please let me know.
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by Sunny Hundal
Story Filed Under: Blog ,Liberal Conspiracy
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