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The Long Tail of Politics: social media and the Tea Party movement

5 Nov

 

Will the Tea Party mean the end of the party in Washington?

 

America has swerved rightwards.

Energised by the Tea Party movement, the Republicans this week enacted a spectacular revenge on the governing Democrats in the mid-term elections, overturning at least 60 seats in Congress.

Many will explain this away by citing disaffection with the ‘slow progress’ of President Barack Obama’s reforms.

But something less obvious was also at play.

Before we go any further, let me be clear: I am not seeking to express any political view or affiliation here. This is a media blog – and I want to explore the story of how American conservatives have seemingly stolen a digital march on the supposedly tech-savvy Democrats to organise, spread ideas and win hearts and minds. Continue reading

Is the social web a network of ‘weak ties’?

26 Oct

 

Gladwell: "The revolution will not be tweeted"

Please bear in mind this question when you read this blog:

Do you know of anyone who has put themselves in harm’s way or risked their financial wellbeing or done anything that is personally very draining or onerous as a result of a call to action on the social web?

I ask because Malcolm Gladwell, the big-brained, frizzy-haired columnist for New Yorker magazine, has just argued that “The revolution will not be tweeted”. Continue reading

Can we save local newspapers?

13 Oct

Can we save local newspapers?

I’m not going to answer that question.

Yet.

But politicians of all persuasions are certainly queuing up to tell us that we should try.

The demise of the local rag would be a tragedy, they say. We’d be losing a pillar of local democracy, they tell us. “My best mate’s a media baron, who’s going to help me stay in power,” they often add. Hang on, that last bit’s not right.

Meanwhile consumers of media are changing their habits at a frightening pace, largely at the expense of the Press.

I’m researching a blog for the near future on whether we should be concerned about the fact most local newspapers are haemmorhaging readers.

I want to know what, if anything, can be done about it and whether we should do anything about it.

If you’ve read your local paper and you’ve got a single idea about how it could adapt to the internet age – how it could improve so you’d be more inclined to buy it (or keep buying it) – I’d be really interested in your views

I’ve put some questions below to  prompt you but please feel free to rap freestyle, either in the comments section at the bottom of this post or by emailing me privately at michaeltaggart[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk (I’ve written it like that to stop evil web spam robots taking my family hostage). Continue reading

John Prescott, a waggish philanthropist or a chippy tub of lard?

22 Aug

Maligned or malignant? Lord Prescott

There are two curious and distinct images of Lord (John) Prescott, our former deputy Prime Minster.

First, the waggish but self-effacing campaigner, sports fan, proud husband, digital champion and philanthropist.

And then there’s this:

“…a chimp, a pustulating boil of resentment and class hatred, a chippy, thin-skinned puffed up laughing stock, an ocean-going tub of lard, groaning with arrogance, ego, hypocrisy, and inferiority, he’s an inadequate, inarticulate embarrassment, a disgrace to Britain at home and abroad.”

The latter comes courtesy of that moderate sophist, that unimpeachable speaker of truth and only the truth, the Daily Mail’s Richard Littlejohn. The former is, well, Prescott’s view – or at least the impression you get of him from his tweets.

So it’s easy to see why Prezza is cynical about the traditional media and why he described Twitter in yesterday’s Guardian as his ‘revelation’. For Prescott, the social web shows “the real me, not the distorted view peddled by the media”.

Prescott is not alone in the believing that truth is the winner now that the media is in the hands of the people, now that our ideas have a potential audience of most of the world, now that our utterances do not have to be mediated by the evil press and broadcast barons and their sadistic servants. Continue reading

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