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BBC TwoThe Daily Politics


Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April 2005, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
The Virtual Campaign: Blogs
alan connor
All The Links That Fit

Alan Connor gives a round-up of the links mentioned on The Daily Politics.

Hello, thanks for dropping by, and welcome to the list of websites mentioned in the most recent programme!

And as usual, the BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Political Comment

As we saw, it's never been easier to put your thoughts about the election on the web -- and it's blogs which are changing things. Some provide links, some longer essays, and some are downright gossip-mongers.

For a start, try Conservative Home or Harry's Place for some commentary. Or, if you prefer snappier entries, go to Order Order or The Virtual Stoa.

Obviously, these are just a tiny fraction of the blogs on offer -- but most sites have a "blogroll". This is a list of other blogs that the author(s) enjoy, and each of them will likely have a blogroll too. You could spend hours out there!

Also, there are some election-specific blogs, such as Election 05, Make My Vote Count and Returning Officer. And the mainstream media are getting in on the act, with The Guardian's Election 2005 Blog, the Financial Times's Zero Five, The Times's Election Log and, of course, the BBC's own Election Monitor.

Read Alan's election coverage at the Vote 2005 site

Politicians With Blogs

We mentioned Sandra Howard's diary, which you can find here -- but, like Tony Blair's Campaign Diary and The Prescott Express, these aren't blogs proper, as they don't allow comments from users.

The candidate blogs that we saw were Tom Watson's and Sandra Gidley's. Other popular sites are Boris Johnson's and Austin Mitchell's Austin Powered, and the ever-watchful Bloggerheads provides more links to get you started:

Lib-Dem MP Richard Allan
Labour Councillor Stuart Bruce
Conservative Councillor James Mills
Labour MP Clive Soley
Lib-Dem Councillor Claire Potter
Labour Councillor Fiona Colley
Conservative Councillor Paul Cumming
Labour Councillors Tim and Megan Swift
Labour Councillor Julian Sharpe
Labour Councillor Andrew Brown
Labour Councillor David Boothroyd
Labour Councillor Bob Piper
Lib-Dem Councillors Nigel Howells and John Dixon
Conservative Candidate Iain Dale
Labour MP Shaun Woodward
Conservative Candidate Kevin Davis
Lib-Dem Candidate Jody Dunn
Prospective Lib-Dem Candidate Mike Bell
Lib-Dem Councillor for Headington Stephen Tall

...with many more to come!

Do It Yourself

And if you've now got the bug and a yen to start blogging yourself, there are many tools out there to get you up and running in a couple of minutes. The most popular include Blogger and SlashCode -- or, if you're confident about customising and grappling with code, give it a go with WordPress or Movable Type. Google Directory has a long list of publishing tools here.

But! Two minutes or not, next you have to think of something to say. Don't worry too much about this: you may as well post off the top of your head to get into the habit, and your style will develop. A good way of kicking things off is to provide a bunch of links to other blogs or to newspaper articles (you can find all the papers' sites here).

Also, let the world know you're there. If you email another blogger, they'll probably put up a link to you and send some of their visitors to see the new blog on the block. Another feature of weblogs is that bloggers can see when they're being linked to, which helps foster community.

It's a good idea to leave comments open, and then you can see which articles people are taking an interest in. Don't despair if you don't get any -- you probably don't leave that many comments yourself.

But most importantly, keep posting. Give people a reason to have you in their bookmarks, even if it's just one short post a day. You can build it into your routine when you check your emails, or store up lists of things you'd like to talk about.

However, nothing comes for free. So, a quick request. If you do decide to start up a blog, please email us at alan.connor@bbc.co.uk and let us know. If it's clean and decent, we'll link to you from here!

Update: Benjamin Partridge from the LSE has emailed us to tell us about his new blog The Partridge Files, which begins "Well, having been encouraged to begin one of these "blogs" by today's "The Daily Politics" - here I am!".

Update 2: Another DP-inspired blog is JW's, at Words To The Wise: "How did I start? I was inspired by the BBC Daily Politics site which showed me how easy it could be.". Thanks for the thanks!

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