A lick of paint…

As you can see, I have just given the blog a new layout, and made my first post in over a year. To do it all I had to manually re-install WordPress using and FTP client, which was fiddly as hell and took a couple of hours. Perhaps I need to upgrade my web hosting!

Anyway, I hope to be writing more from now forwards. I’m not going to be messing around with Young Labour stuff all that much longer, and I’m far less politically mad than I was before I left university, so I guess this can only really be a good idea. Being a candidate and easily quoted has that impact on you.

I’m going to start off by not writing about the reshuffle. I can’t see it making any difference to a Government that is essentially run, once again, by two relatively isolated men with little idea of the real world, sadly.

Anyway, hi again. Let me know if you have any thoughts about the design.

Is the blog dying as a medium?

One of the things I have recently discussed with Andrew Regan, formerly of Bloggers4Labour, is whether blogging is dying as a medium. I thought I might reproduce the (public domain) conversation, because it certainly got me thinking.

It all started off with Andrew bringing the closure of Mashable to my attention, followed by his initial comment:

Hmm, shame, but while RSS/Atom are essential for any kind of blog subscription/reading, the mere ability to aggregate blogs is pretty small beer these days. It’s all about: finding links; smart/collaborative filtering; discovering new content; easy in, easy out, etc. GR is pretty crap at this too, but perhaps a new generation is waiting in the wings…?

It seemed to me that this touched on something deeper:

Personal view is that the blog as a medium is dying.

Comments are drying up too, largely because facebook and twitter provide instant alternative. What has happened to politics via shorter and shorter TV slots has happened to online debate i…n just 5 years.

The exception of the dying blogs claim is the big names and famous faces – comment also seems to be concentrating. IMO, once again, this kind of destroys what is positive about the medium.

I hate to be sad about progress, but I’ve come over all Burke on this one.

I think that blogs include a lot that social media doesn’t cover, but taht the conversation is moving inexorably in this direction. I myself have tweeted hundreds of times since writing my last post.

Now I should add as a caveat that some blogs are doing well – but most of them are either written by people who are verging on genius (naming no names), or people who have put a lot of resources, sometimes other people’s, besides a substantial chunk of life into their blogs. They are not necessarily very personal – one might reflexively call them ‘websites’ rather than blogs.

I think this means we shut out up-and-comers. A few years ago (on my old blog) I wrote a post celebrating the end of Top of the Pops and the subsequent de-concentration of power over popular music and the listening habits it depends upon. On a certain level this is taking place with blogs vs Twitter or facebook, but on another level there is actually a concentration taking place. I think Left Foot Forward and Liberal Conspiracy are very good, but LibCon in particular hosts a lot of people who used to have a platform as their own, and are now semi-dependent on being noticed by Sunny, or suchlike. It’s good that I like Sunny too, but I think the general underlying trend is one of power concentrating, unhealthy for any market, I think most of us would agree – especially one where a consumer is aware of no loss when they refuse to explore their full rate of options.

Recession – truth be told

Interesting to see ConservativeHome using the morning to slap Vince Cable down. Even more interesting to see them outline the ‘specific pattern the crash took’:

  1. The requirement and arm twisting in the US for banks to lend to poor risks.
  2. Weak personal bankruptcy law in the US.
  3. The scandal of the mass government underwriting of mortgages through the securitisation process in the US.
  4. The encouragement through the tax code for banks to finance themselves through equity and not debt and the regulatory encouragement for insurance companies and pension funds to invest in debt instruments – a further spur to securitisation.
  5. The successive bailing out of financial institutions in the US.

So why does ‘it’s all Gordon Brown’s fault’ not get in after the election?