How to practice safe blogging

Our EU blogathon article quietly lamented the small number of MEPs who blog. It seems to us that the most formidable ‘entry barrier’ to blogging is the frequent coverage of people who find themselves in trouble due to their blog. Every day unveils another blog controversy; a search of “blog + controversy” provides many examples.

The problem with blogs, especially in policy areas, is that the content is controversial, the ability for readers to easily comment invites criticism, anonymity escalates the tone, and the speed of digital amplifies any error. But none of this should keep one from blogging.

Following a minor uproar caused by one of his colleagues, a Google blogger offered some tips about how to practice safe-blogging. They are worth reading for anyone writing or considering their own blog.


September 14, 2007 | 6:14 PM

Its a good point Jon. We have also noted the influx of Labour MEPs and also spotted some Liberals on our travels - Graham Watson is down as an officer of the ELDR group on Facebook for example - but are yet to note many others from other nationalities. However, we did come across our first group in support of a potential MEP candidate and she's from Finland... We'd love to tell you more about it but have to dash to Finnish class.

Jon Worth
September 14, 2007 | 12:51 AM

A whole bunch of Labour MEPs have also recently joined Facebook, so maybe things are starting to change? I wonder how much of this is UK-driven though. Are other nationalities' MEPs doing interesting things? I think I need to be a bit better and check French, German, Italian, Swedish etc.

Public Affairs 2.0
September 06, 2007 | 2:50 PM

Yes, you’re entirely right in your reckoning that there are many other motivating factors, one being that a blog has no benefits (e.g. will not win them votes) but many risks (a poor statement will lose them votes). An explanation of how to avoid those risks, which quite possibly do not elevate to the level of a controversy but are controversial, is one way to encourage people to join the movement.

Jon Worth
September 03, 2007 | 10:15 PM

Do you really think it's that fear of controversy? Having had many conversations with many politicians about the pros and cons of blogging I reckon it's more that they firstly think it's a waste of time as it will not win them votes, and secondly they fear the technology is too confusing. MEPs need arguments why blogging is in their interests - maybe MEPs that fear they might not be re-elected in 2009 and need to try to do something different? Something similar to that was part of the rationale for Harriet Harman MP starting to blog in the UK - she needed to do something different to distinguish herself in the Labour Party Deputy Leadership election and the barriers were overcome.