Wednesday, November 30, 2005

So What's Wrong With the Official Tory Campaign Blog?

(Hat tip: Angry in the Great White North.)

Not to be outdone by Scott Feschuk, the Tories have started up their own campaign blog. (The NDP hasn't got one yet, but wait a few weeks and see what happens.) How does it compare with Scott?

Well, for starters, it seems that the Tories have a better grasp of the blogging format than do the Liberals. Navigating from the English-language main page, the Tories give you one click to go straight to the blog. The Liberals, on the other hand, make you do three clicks: one to expand the "Blogs" section, one to open Scott's page, and one to get past the introduction. The Tories also understand the value of multiple entries and dating, which is handy for citation.

Neither blog allows commentary. Given the partisan penchant of all political parties to hurl flames everywhere, that's not surprising, but I think both parties are missing an opportunity here. The blogs make it possible to connect people and exchange their views on their own time, in real time. A blog moderator can keep things civil and on-topic. (And no, I'm not looking for a job like that, but it's something to keep in mind. ;))

There's one big strike against the Tory blog, though. And no, it's not the content. No one expects the Tory blogger to be as "witty" or as "ironic" or as "humorous" as Scott. (In terms of liking Scott's attempts at humour, your mileage may vary -- though I do like his take on the idea of Paul Martin's face on the campaign bus.)

The big strike takes the form of a question: "who writes the blog?"

Depending on their function and context, some bloggers need to be identified by name. I don't use my own name on this blog, but neither do I make a serious attempt to hide my identity, because I'm not in a situation where confidentiality is important. There are places like China and Iraq where dissenters need to hide themselves if they blog. But that isn't the case here.

This is an open, public campaign. With people in the public eye. The fact that Scott Feschuk is writing the campaign blog tells everyone who reads is what to expect; there's a level of authenticity that way.

But we don't know who writes the Tory blog-- whether it's one person, or several staffers just posting away according to a script. If Tories value transparency in the public process--and I'm sure that we do--then publicly identifying the Tory blogger is extremely important, because it adds the level of authenticity that Scott Feschuk has achieved.

So, to paraphrase one of the wisest characters I know: Conservative Campaign Blogger -- I demand that you show yourself. Who is responsible for your stuff? Hmmm?