Political blogs, representation and the public sphere

Scott Wright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a discussion and analysis of various assumptions and observations about the significance of blogging by politicians, particularly in relation to theories of representation and the public sphere, informed with an empirical study of the practice of politicians' blogs on the Read My Day platform (www.readmyday.co.uk).

    Design/methodology/approach: Relevant literature was reviewed to set the scene for an original analysis of politicians' blog posts on Read My Day. These posts were examined via content analysis to systematically catalogue the information politicians disclosed about themselves and to uncover political themes that were featured. A total of 12 politicians who blogged on this platform were subsequently interviewed about their online activities.

    Findings: The councillors used the Read My Day platform to discuss local political issues but also posted some personal information about the bloggers, indicative of a broad understanding of representation. Councillors generally refrained from attacking other political parties and saw it as a tool of representation and not campaigning. However, there was evidence that councillors got into political trouble because of their blog, even though many said they self‐censored themselves. This suggests that bloggers are not merely reciting political spin. While no precise “hits” data were used, the blogging politicians did not feel that their posts were widely read. This was partly explained by bloggers failing to exploit the interactivity that the medium affords.

    Originality/value: This paper provides new data on political blogging based on a theoretically‐informed analysis of blog posts and interviews with blogging politicians in the UK.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-169
    Number of pages15
    JournalAslib Proceedings
    Volume61
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Keywords

    • Electronic med
    • Politics
    • Internet
    • United Kingdom

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