Curious about election blogs

I am curious to know how many political blogs were set up just for the election. I had heard the parties were looking to pay people to promote their messages through blogs and if you have seen ones that were set up in August and then haven’t posted since the election, please let me know.

There would be no way to know how many people posting to blogs were paid to do so but actual blogs that were set up right before the election and then terminated after might be one indication.

Not that I think paying people to blog is necessarily a bad thing – it’s an inevitable thing – but it does sort of cloud the water when you think you are getting Joe Q. Public types debating/arguing about issues when in fact some might be serving up the party line for 10 cents a word.

For example, consider the haughty and over the top Progress for New Brunswick blog – prolific right up until the election – nada since. Maybe they are just licking their wounds and we can expect serious, intelligent and relevant blogs to start up again soon. Or maybe not.

Then there’s one that I liked – Sara G – she was admittedly a Tory blogger and has actually posted after Monday. I hope she keeps it up – she adds value to the mix.

As for the CBC obsessed Spink about It (similar to my fascination with Hogan – read today’s We Say, unbelievable as usual but I digress), Politics NB, that Centrist fellow, etc. – they were all around well before the election and will undoubtedly be around long after.

It’s too bad Poitras will cut off the CBC blog. It would be neat to get his insight on a daily basis – in the blog format. I read Paul Wells daily (despite his weird claim to be personally influencing online iTunes sales from his jazz picks) and several others. For me it adds some value when a journalist takes off the rigor of formal news preparation and just muses out loud about the issues of the day.

As for the patron saint of bloggers, Charles LeBlanc, one assumes he will continue to post 10-12 times a day. Graham Jr. would be wise to have someone check that blog out periodically. I have no idea what influence he had on the election but it is said his is the most read in the province.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Curious about election blogs

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about being ‘paid’, I suspect party members may have checked them out, but there would be little value in paying somebody to run a blog when there are always people who will do it on their own.

    There is also the ‘blue bloggers’ of Moncton, that was rarely updated, haven’t checked it since. Although I disagreed with them I posted replies just because I feel sorry for people who go to the trouble but then get no input.

    As has been said repeatedly, the province is aging, has the fewest online, the fewest who can get online (I’ve heard that rumour too that rural dwellers need to pay $100 for high speed access-thats hardly progress), and the highest rate of adult illiteracy.

    Most of the blogs were just bloggers talking back and forth, I have no doubt people checked them out. I stopped reading nbpolitico after about a week as not only were they excessively long, but were just one guys predictions, and who really cares about some anonymous guys predictions-I don’t even care about ANYBODYS predictions. His self congratulatory “I only got seven wrong, I get an A-” just adds to the increasingly bizarre tone of it.

    Spinks rarely talks about anything but the CBC, a topic of limited interest considering that adding equalization into the mix means New Brunswickers essentially get the service free. A quick look at their website since the strike ended shows just how valuable they are to the news mix.

    NBPolitics stopped posting, then started again, then got others to post, then stopped again. That’s a sure way to lose readership. But blogging is tough, coming up with something every day of the week is difficult, and if Al Hogan weren’t around Mr. Campbell would have a far tougher time.

    Charles will of course continue to blog, until something clicks in his brain that says ‘screw this’. ADD may have that effect. So long as he’s involved in the issues that won’t happen though. But I didn’t go to his blog religiously like I did in the by-election because once again it was predictions. There’s always that good ‘down home’ stuff like the Blues Festival, and of course Charles seems to find something of interest everywhere he goes.

    Since the election I suspect the readers have started to peter out. Elections at least get a certain target market paying attention, but that doesn’t last. The same happened in the Saint John by-election.

    Most of these blogs are kind of off the radar though, not that many people look for blogs, many still have no idea what they are or why they’d be of interest. This and Charles Leblanc are the only ones that keep interesting me because they have one thing others lack-information. Specifically, information that isn’t available through media channels. If there were more that attacked issues, in a viewer friendly format, I suspect it would have really taken off. If the CBC were more community minded that would be perfect, but their bureaucracy only permits very limited interaction by the public.

    It’s clear not many are interested in sitting around talking about opinions online, which makes sense and shows why the number of postings are so low. People have lives and the computer is a ‘tool’. Of course for younger people, there is porn and video games online so why the hell would they spend time reading about economic statistics or the CBC?

    There really is limited value in blogs. Although one post said that the reader examined their preconceptions because of a blog, for the life of me I can’t imagine what their talking about discussion wise. How making election predictions would make you re-examine preconceptions is beyond me, although I agree that that CAN be a good thing, unless you are being blasted with wrong information.

    I think a good tool would be for the Premier to continue his blog, and make it open for comments. He wouldn’t have to read it, but a staff member could. While politics responds to those who organize and have communal voices, it would still at least give NB’ers an outlet, something thats sorely lacking. Heck, if every member had one which allowed comments, perhaps there’d be more political interaction on a daily basis.

    But for these other blogs, even the ones that are posting are becoming boring. I’ve posted at a few just because I like analysis and have a specific project that I’m desperate to procrastinate-and hey, that just killed a good ten minutes! Thanks!

  2. TheBlueBlogger says:

    FYI, we have received over 500 visitors in 10 days and have been submitting post on almost a daily basis. And yes we will be around for a long time.

    Also, we are not paid by either the provincial of federal parties. We do it for the love of politics and to debate issues.

  3. David Campbell says:

    Good news. It’s easier to blog on politics from a oppositionist point of view. There tends to be more content.

  4. TheBlueBlogger says:

    Oh, we always have plenty to say David 😉

    BTW, I enjoy your blog even if I may diagree sometimes. Keep up the good work!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Fifty people a day is not bad, but not substantial. That blog is a relative late comer though I think. If you consider that there is probably about ten to fifteen bloggers and ‘regulars’, thats just 35-40 people a day and for an election, which would be peak time, so not a heavy impact.

    If these bloggers stick around, there will be quite a number of politically themed blogs, most of them opinion based critiques, which is very hard to sustain. Even Charles only gets 250-300 per day, and thats with updates constantly through the day as well as significant notoriety and having done it for years.

    So if a blogger can get 100 people a day that’s a big deal. The effect of that is debateable though. Even at this blog we have pretty concrete proposals, but there is no evidence that the government is going to heed them or even pay attention to them. Again, blogs are good for getting a quick window, but their low numbers and ease of setup makes them of little value to politicians. They have tons of groups and organizations with blocks of voters coming at them all the time, so again, the web is going to stay at the bottom of the food chain.

  6. TheBlueBlogger says:

    I’m not going to justify that comment with a response…

  7. scott says:

    Progress for NB Project has been around for quite sometime, David. He/she just didn’t blog much over the summer months, a common blog occurance as you know, and then when the election was called they changed the layout of the blog and started posting again.

    As for the patron saint of bloggers, Charles LeBlanc, one assumes he will continue to post 10-12 times a day. Graham Jr. would be wise to have someone check that blog out periodically. I have no idea what influence he had on the election but it is said his is the most read in the province.

    I wondered that myself David? But then again, if I could send you a mailout that Peter Mesheau sent out during the last election(2003), you may change your mind about Charles. This particular piece had a big picture of Peter on the front with one bold line at the top and when you opened it up, there were more pictures inside the thing than an Archie digest. Hardly any words, just photo ops.

    He won approximately 58 per cent of the vote with that type of marketing. Could this be any indication of the reading level in NB or literacy rates? I have a hunch it might, even with the university sitting right in the middle of the riding. What do you think?

    Btw, I’m a member of the Blue Bloggers and proud of it. As for tory bloggers being paid, this is NB David, they couldn’t even afford to have a blogger on the bus to post about the daily campaign (aka Scott Feschuk type gov’t blog). Remember the blog link on the PCNB site, did you notice it was gone after the first three days with absolutely no posts. That should explain a lot with regards to their use of blogs.

    Nonetheless, I still think they should leave money in the war chest to pay a blogger to report the day to day happenings from the campaign trail, especially from an “on the bus perspective”. It would be interestinng to the public because they could see how much dedication these individuals have during an election and how time consuming politics can be. Maybe they would be less apt to crtiticize? Ummmmm….no.

  8. to it and at it says:

    David, I’m curious. How many hits do you get per day?

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s hardly criticism, however, I can point out that it takes a poster just as long to respond to an ‘opinion’ as it takes a blogger to blog it once a blog template is set up. This blog site is an exception, and if it weren’t so close to David’s bread and butter, one wonders whether he would be taking the time to do it. And I can tell you from a lot of experience with blogs that I put more thought into what people are saying than most, in fact as much as most bloggers, many of whom simply ignore opposing opinions and keep repeating their mantra.

    There are numerous reasons why blogs only get X amount of interest, but that’s hardly a bloggers fault, so why somebody would take that personally is beyond me. The vast majority of people have zero interest in politics to begin with, so the numbers are hardly surprising. I note that all of the Moncton blogs together don’t have that huge of numbers, the reality is, people are largely outside of politics.

    And as David has mentioned, some blogs were just out and out nasty, making ludicrous claims that I can’t imagine anybody taking seriously. There were blogs with people just simply insulting candidates and parties without allegations whatsoever. If those blogs go by the wayside I won’t feel too bad.

    Typically what I’ve noticed is that each blogger usually comes out with a really good point on a really good issue about once a week. That’s why I’ve often posted that it would be great if they got together to form a media opposition to Irving. I’ve posted links to ‘participatory journalism’ because I ‘ve notice many commentors seem more in the know than the bloggers.

    But nobody is going to forego their newspapers for a bunch of ‘opinion’ pages, no matter how entertaining they might be. THAT is criticism, and if it takes a whole lot of work just to make your opinion known is kind of irrelevant. If Irving only had editorials and opinion pieces from the company, and then said “you should respect us because it takes work to do this”, it would be a joke. I don’t respect people for taking five minutes to set up a blog. If some KKK guy comes along and says ‘you should be racist like me cus I put a lot of work into this website’ then that would be ludicrous.

    Blogging takes no more work than posting to it once its set up, I know because I used to have a blog long ago so I know EXACTLY what goes into it, and I’ve been administrator and many others.

    I remember David saying he used to be a fan of the band U2, the only thing I know about the band is a quote the singer said, which was ‘writing songs is easy, writing good songs is really hard’. The same goes for blogs, which, as I said, is why I think there should be one newspaper like website where all the bloggers post at a forum and then responses roll in. It would be far less work, and would get far more readers than the few just shopping around.

    As for Peter Meshau, I’m not sure what that has to do with Charles Leblanc, but it seems logically inconsistent. Just because a candidate wins, doesn’t mean they did so because of the campaign literature they handed out.

  10. David Campbell says:

    To Scott,

    Progress for NB set up their blog in March 2006 and had one post in April, one in May, none in June/July, one in August and 26 in the first 2.5 weeks of September. Again, that blogger can post as many times as he/she likes. I was just speculating that it might be one of the ‘paid bloggers’ which you say don’t exist and I can’t argue with you because you are definitely closer to the action than me.

    To It and At It:
    In the summer I had over 800 unique visitors in the months of June and again in July. I haven’t checked since then.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The PC Party might have had money to pay a blogger if they weren’t paying their leader so much. Apparantly they aren’t paying him anymore, so maybe they’ll put some money up for it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the reason Charles LeBlanc’s blog is so popular is the same as why Jerry Springer has been on the air for so long. It’s like trying not to look at a car accident as you drive by. I think it’s popular because it’s so over-the-top and comical (although not entirely on purpose), not because anyone actually takes it seriously. If Charles is Jerry, I guess that makes you Oprah, David. :)

  13. David Campbell says:

    Ouch.

  14. scott says:

    Oprah’s not bad. LOL If I were to coin you as any show anon, it would be “The View”. They ramble on and on until finally people get sick of listening to their over-the-top petulance and turn the channel.

  15. David Campbell says:

    Be nice. My wife watches The View all the way through. Then again, she cuts me off when I start on a long speech, so……

  16. Geeks says:

    800 hits a month is pretty good for NB.

    Anon,

    If you take into consideration that the BBers have only been posting since Sept 8 and already have over 650 hits, I would have to conclude that they are doing fairly well for themselves.

    If you take into account that Scott is an active contributor, 650 hits is freakin AMAZING!

    Sorry Scott, just had to… 😉

  17. Anonymous says:

    There’s two points there, blogs always get lots of hits around elections, that happened federally, and happened to Charles at the Saint John by election, I think that even saw a couple that started up. There’s a guy who runs a blog protesting against the Irvings and the LNG who never seems to be included in the blog rolls (hmmmmmmm)

    And those comments about Charles apply equally to ALL blogs, many times I browse just to see the main idea, if its not interesting, I’m quickly gone, and often after reading I’ll forget about it five minutes later.

    Spinks freely admits that his site is ‘just sitting around gabbing’, and so one can well argue the benefits of that. It seems blogs are just for people who have no real life friends.

    For the other points, Charles may seem comical because of his style, but thousands of tenants now have basic human rights thanks to him, how many blogs can say that? Campbell’s blog has an effect that you don’t see as well….yet.

  18. Blue Blogger says:

    I’m not buying that Charles leb was solely responsible for that legislation. I think he contributed to the movement, but I wouldn’t give him full credit.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It certainly wasn’t his website, that I’ve said to him many times, it was the galvanizing force though. It was Charles and Tim going door to door during the by election discussing this and other poverty issues.

    It’s easily proveable, no party has EVER made this an issue, not even during regular sessions or during elections-never. And the legislation is from the seventies.

    Then just after the by election Lord says this will be changed during that term. That’s not ‘coincidence’. Then Doherty presents the bill on his first day. Again, there are dozens of poverty issues that COULD have been addressed but weren’t.

    Then the liberals ignored Charles and Tim, and of course helped boot him out, so the two played little part in the election. Charles is obviously on the liberal team, but just blogging is far different than hitting the pavement.

    If blogs don’t have an activist bent, they rarely accomplish much. Had David and some other Moncton bloggers had been more active, there might have been an effect in Moncton. But people have to find out about these issues, and they aren’t going to get it from blogs.

    Again, thats not criticism, bloggers have lives and people can’t do everything.

  20. to it and at it says:

    David, I’d be curious to know if you got a big spike in traffic during the election?

    Also, how detailed are those logs? I’d love to know if anyone from gnb.ca is reading your pages?

  21. PoliticsNB says:

    I think everyone with Political type blogs recieved a spike during the election……Now I’m back to my usual numbers……heck i’m 70+ today, and as Anonymous points out, I fell off the map again by not blogging for 2 days…..lol From my own stats and seeing both the GNB and GC IP’s in there I doubt there would be many NB Blogs they don’t read. Davids would be a must read IMO.

    Anonymous seems to think that if you are not a activist blogger then you are simply wasting your time. I have to disagree. But then again…….our Anonymous friend doen’t read my email from fellow New Brunswickers. :)

    I never set out to change the world Anon…….just talk about some issues important to myself and perhaps some other New Brunswickers. I don’t normally tackle Economics like David…..mostly because I, like an average joe shmoe only understand the basics. I’m not a professer, or an intellectual……but I never pretended to be. I’m just a regular guy with an opinion…..that’s it, that’s all.

    You might well think that everyone but Charles is just wasting breath. But I disagree.

  22. Anonymous says:

    People are taking things way too personally. What I said, and what people infer are two different things. As people know, I am a frequent commentor on many blogs, and I don’t do it because its a waste of time. Usually my posts are longer than the actual blog, and I try to include different ideas and often play devil’s advocate just to advance the conversation beyond-‘hey dude, nice post’ and ‘so true man’. Again, I’m not given to wasting time (well, that’s not entirely true).

    What Charles did was change legislation, what charles does is actually help people, I know because I’ve contributed to many causes that I never would have found out but through his blog.

    I think people here should read David’s blog a little more intently. It isn’t that intellectual or hard to understand. I don’t like to be personal, but I push a lawn mower for a living and I respond to him. You guys out there with an actual education should find it a cinch.

    I usually respond to all new blogs just to break the ice, to be fair, I haven’t been back to the above posters blog but I seem to remember it’s main themes.

    The ‘waste of time’ remark is unfounded though, what was said was that there is only a limited use of posting political opinions. Charles’ blog is of use because he challenges the power that be and shows what life is like for those below the radar. David’s posts are of use because its invaluable for challenging the blatant propaganda of Irving’s press.

    Those have intrinsic value because they fill a void. If you have a political blog, then like all blogs its value is in what is said. As I’ve said, most blogs were basically places where people argued predictions during the campaign, there is LESS content than the media. If Charles and David’s blog were just them saying what they ‘thought’ of ‘stuff’, nobody would ever go there.

    Political blogs DO have an effect, but it depends on many factors. The most valuable comments at Spinks blog are coming now after the election. But with that expected drop in readership I have a feeling that will fall on dear ears. I don’t know about email people recieve, but if they say “I read your blog and that has motivated me to join a party and get more active” then that should make a bloggers week. And of course depending on the person emailing, that may make the entire enterprise worthwhile.

    There is a CHANCE that may happen, but that’s slim. It’s not with Charles or David’s blog, because I know dozens of VERY active people in the province who base their motivations on what they see on those two blogs. But they don’t have time or the inclination to sit around and argue about the CBC with Spinks or debate how many seats each party will win with NBPolitico. I also know this for a fact because thats’ how I got involved politically, specifically through Charles at the grassroots level, then more mainstream from Davids.

    If you are a political blogger, then as I’ve said elsewhere, there is a strong need for blogs that, say, cover the legislature. That’s because Irving NEVER does. Nobody I’ve talked to in this province has so far even been aware that Lord changed the Divorce Act so that now a married couple is no longer ‘equal’. THat’s a HUGE piece of legislation, especially from a conservative point of view where people are arguing about what marriage IS. Now, of course, marriage ISN”T an ‘equal partnership between a man and woman’, just go read it.

    I’ve posted at Charles site that when he posts the transcripts from the leg he should edit them because New Brunswickers haven’t the time to read through massive amounts of text, but no luck-maybe even Charles doesn’t read them.

    That would be invaluable as you can ask any New Brunswicker and I guarantee you they can’t even list a single thing their MLA has ever said. ALL of those things were missing from this past election. There was no debate on policy, no look at past legislation, almost no discussion on the things that people NEED to make a political decision.

    That doesn’t mean they are a waste of time, I’ve seen many useful comments at blogs, and anything helps. But that’s why I say if you ARE a blogger, then look at these issues. Even NBPolitico states that there just isn’t enough going on locally and so is ‘looking elsewhere’. As David mentions almost on a daily basis, there is TONS of stuff that just isn’t getting mentioned. And its getting easier, you can watch the leg on television, you can order the transcripts. The other thing I’ve been working on is just getting a basic act of democracy going and getting them to release transcripts from vote dates, because during an election, most people couldn’t tell you who even voted for or against what legislation. Party politics is fine, but these people are making actual decisions that most people never hear of. Currently you can’t even FIND OUT who voted for what. That makes claims of a democratic election simply laughable-people aren’t even basing their votes on actual legislation but what media and parties are saying (and hey, who here doesn’t think politicians and media lie?)

    True, people only have so much time, perhaps they only have time to post some thoughts on something they heard. That’s why I say to organize and have a central website which can grow and make work a hell of a lot easier. Get more people involved and make it community focused, and there is a competition against CBC (which should make SPinks happy) and Al Hogan (which would make David happy).

    But we KNOW for a fact what the ceiling is for most blogs and the results that arise from it. Charles got some legislation changed, but couldnt’ even get a study on ritalin. Tim Smith’s work couldn’t even get them to discuss VLT’s. David’s blog couldn’t even get them to pay lip service to economic development. Imagine how little an effect an opinion blog will have.

    If you are insulted by that, that’s too bad, but I’m not a politician. THere are countless opportunities for political blogs, if your blog of the day says “hey, can you believe how dumb X political party is today when they…” then I predict you are not going to have much effect and to me that DOES seem a waste of time. If you have content, that’s the story (and that example isn’t pointing at any particular blog)

  23. Spinks says:

    “As for the CBC obsessed Spink about It (similar to my fascination with Hogan)”

    Nothing wrong with a little passion David. I assume the T and T is at least paying attention to you much as CBC does to me. That’s a good thing.

    And I agree, Charles Leblanc is the King of N.B. Bloggers, hands down. Whether that’s good or bad, who knows?

  24. Anonymous says:

    If you actually thinking talking about poverty issues may be ‘bad’, that says a lot about some New Brunswickers right there.