Perplexing Blair op-ed piece in Guardian blog

Here’s a good example of an eye-catching headline:

Tony Blair starts blogging…

This title of a post on Simon Collister’s eDemocracy Update blog certainly grabbed my attention as I scanned the headlines in my RSS reader.

The reality is different, of course. The Prime Minister isn’t blogging at all; it’s to do with an op/ed piece in The Guardian’s Comment is free group blog posted under his name on Tuesday. Note I didn’t say he’s written the piece, which is a 100% probability.

The post currently shows 469 comments. So there’s definitely a conversation going on. And it’s quite a conversation with all the commenters talking among themselves. Lots of extremely subjective opinions, most of it highly critical and negative about Mr Blair.

You have to wonder what the objective is of posting such a commentary in a global medium like this. Who is the message focused on? If UK voters, this would hardly be the most appropriate medium. And if the goal is to seek engagement with the readers of such a piece, I’d argue that it requires some contribution from the conversation starter, ie, the writer of the original article. Doesn’t necessarily mean the Prime Minister, but it ought to.

I’m a bit perplexed at to the point of this.

Anyone have an idea?

Related post:

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Stuart Bruce, BMA PR

    It’s simply that The Guardian now publishes all of its comment / op-ed pieces on the Comment is free group blog. Senior politicians (including Blair) have always contributed op-ed articles, it just happens that they now can’t avoid it appearing on the site. Personally I’m not sure it is a good thing as I’m not sure what the point of the conversation is. The quality of debate is certainly well below that of political commentators who have their own blogs. Despite my blogging credentials and The Guardian being my paper of choice I just don’t get Comment is free,

  2. Simon Collister

    It’s worth pointing out that the run on from my ‘Tony Blair is blogging…’ headline was that he wasn’t actually!! Agree with your comments, Neville and Stuart. I haven’t reallylooked into Comment is Free…. but is seems the ‘free’ in the title refers to a free for all!

  3. David Tebbutt

    The full citation, “comment is free, but facts are sacred” suggests that the Guardian knows full well that this place is likely to be inhabited by blowhards.

  4. neville

    It was a good headline, Simon, to attract attention. It worked for me!

    That’s interesting, Stuart. The Guardian must have started that only recently, as least as far as the PM is concerned as that post is the only one listed on Comment is free. But knowing how the post got there helps put it better perspective, ie, it wasn’t an active effort by the Number 10 communicators.

    I think Comment is free is pretty interesting. I find many of the original posts worth reading. More than you can say about many of the comments, though (but that’s just my subjective opinion).

    Undoubtedly lots of blowhards as with any open discussion place online especially in a free-for-all market place-type environment, and especially where politics is a discussion point. Just look at some of the political blogs in the UK if you really want to see blowhards. And let’s not even mention US political blogs…

  5. eDemocracy Update

    New reader of eDemocracy Update…

    Well it seems there’s a new reader of this blog. Not sure what to make of it, but have a look at the comments on my previous post, Tony Blair starts blogging…. New media pioneer, Neville Hobson, also followed up…

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