Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog...

Last night, the Assembly hosted a program about political blogging. Six debaters attended: Matt Wardman, blogger (; Betsan Powys, political editor and blogger at BBC Wales (; Annabelle Harle, impartial party from the Electoral Reform Society; Victoria Winckler, director of and blogger for the Bevan Foundation(; Peter Black, blogging Liberal Democrat Assembly Member (; and Eleanor Burnham, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member against blogging.
Daran Hill, the managing director of Positif Politics, chaired the discussion.
The talks focused on already-popular and over-discussed topics: blogging as a new medium, the blogosphere being a self-contained bowl of information, and anonymous blogging creating problems with bullying and unreliable information, for starters.

"Matt Wardman" and Betsan Powys conversing

The best thing to come of the event were some fantastic quotes, which I shall list underneath each speaker's name.

Eleanor Burnham:
-"Fortunately for me, this was done over the influence of drinks."
-"I don't sit on a bloody screen all day long."
-Blogging "encourages lazy journalism" by letting them "sit on their bum and wait for things to fall in their lap."

Annabelle Harle:
-"The medium is not itself the message."

Betsan Powys:
-"I certainly wouldn't mind being stuck in an elevator with (bloggers)."

Matt Wardman (revealed "Matt Wardman" is a pen name):
-"All the interesting stuff that's done on blogs isn't done with blogs" (it's done with people on blogs).

Victoria Winckler:
-"I've the technical skills of a gnat but even I can do it."
-"Am I singing from the hill tops or shouting in the wind?"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming Dianne and I'm glad you enjoyed it. The quotes are great. Cheers, Daran

Matt Wardman said...

Great to see you there, Dianne.

I take your comments, but I'm not totally convinced about "over-discussed".

In any topic where either the subject itself is changing, or different people (or groups of people) are taking an interest, the basics (and the basic debates) have to happen again and again and again. Surely that's just how it is, and is the same for using blogs, or sex education, or giving up smoking, or why it is important to vote, or anything else?

I had several conversations with people who changed their opinions, or found out things to make running their own blog more efficient or effective.

But I'd certainly like to move the debate on to "what can we do with this stuff" and "how do we use it": even "how has it been used in specific examples".

The point that hit me between the eyes was the reminder that anonymous voting is a cornerstone of our system.


Matt Wardman said...

>Matt Wardman (revealed "Matt Wardman" is a pen name):

Can I just clarify the "pen name" comment, as anonymity is a contentious debate. I post from time to time that MW is a pen name (example from May 2007: May 2007), and it says so on the About Page.

Also, in the UK you cannot register domains anonymously at the registrar level (I have a mirror on as well as sites such as; if you want to be anonymous it is down to using Limited Companies, PO Box numbers and the traditional offline routes.