It’s pretty telling that a link from a Channel 4 special report (to a post I wrote months ago) has not resulted in an avalanche of traffic to this site. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that one of their bloody links is broken. Oi.
Nosemonkey, who gets a name-check for starting that particular discussion, is surely having better luck.
For those who are still interested in all this, I’ve expanded my pessimistic view on British political blogging here — but may be
backpedaling on refining my view somewhat in light of the rather more self-confident blogosphere that has emerged during the general election.
Perhaps because British political journalists are still thinking in terms of what happened in the United States last November, the election has brought the small British blogosphere far more attention than usual — although much of it has not been particularly enlightening.
All this attention indicates that some political journalists clearly expect new media to be a significant factor in this election, however cloudy everyone’s vision of this significance remains.
The British blogosphere does not yet have the critical mass to be anything like the American blogosphere. Britain’s time for wide-spread, participatory citizen media may come, but I think that it’s still one or two Parliaments down the line.
Part of the reason is that Britain still lags behind the United States in terms of Internet and broadband penetration, and there is significant inequality in the distribution of broadband Internet access between Parliamentary constituencies. The value of the Internet for political campaigning is therefore not the same in all parts of the country.
Still, national mass blog readership and participation may not matter to the political signifance of the British blogosphere. It’s worth recalling that even in the United States, only 26 percent of Internet users read blogs, and only some of those read political blogs. Despite the idealistic blogosphere rhetoric about “citizen media” a small, elite audience of gatekeepers and opinion leaders in traditional media is probably more significant in terms of enhancing blogosphere influence than mass readership and participation.
In other words, the mere fact that journalists with national outlets reading a handful of major British political blogs matters.