Daily Archives: May 27, 2006

Never Mind Cricket – Barbados Must Win The Caribbean Scrabble Championship!

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The Face Of The Destroyer! – T & T Captain Edward Metinier

The Trinidad and Tobago Scrabble Team appears to be unstoppable. Under Captain Edward Metinier, T & T are destroying the competition – leaving mayhem in their wake and empty rum bottles under the table as they slaughter team after team at the Second Caribbean Scrabble Championships being held in Guyana.

Can Barbados Stop Them?

Tune in later today, folks. We'll see whether the Bajans have what it takes!

Highest scoring Scrabble word ever …. OXYPHENBUTAZONE*

* So says Cliverton – who, much to his chagrin, appears to be an expert at such trivial pieces of information.

Read the full story in the Stabroek News. (Must be a slow news day.)

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life

Barbados Labour Party Blog Reviewed – Linked To

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UPDATE: June 2, 2006

Also see our new story "BLP Blog Announces Live Online Chat With Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur" 

BLP Blog Reviewed

Dr. William Duguid, the General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party, has started a blog for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). At least, we assume that Dr. Duguid has started the "Official" BLP Blog – because he is the General Secretary of the party.

And this leads to our first observation – that the Barbados Labour Party Blog appears to have been started in a bit of a rush on a Sunday afternoon, but it will probably improve dramatically in just a short time.

Titilayo over at Gallimaufry beat us to press with a review of the BLP Blog, and we couldn't do any better, so we will just steal borrow parts of her review. (By the way – as well as running her own blog, Titilayo has also been posting some excellent work over at The Pan Collective. You won't be disappointed if you drop by and have a read.)

Here is what Titilayo has to say about the Barbados Labour Party Blog…

The Barbados Labour Party has started a blog. It could do with a bit of work right now (grammar is important, people! and so is presentation!), but I think that the blog has the potential to be a good way for the BLP to present its views, and to open itself up to dialogue with the public, both their supporters and their detractors. In that regard, it certainly puts them a step ahead of the other political parties, the Democratic Labour Party and the People's Empowerment Party, neither of which even has a functioning website. It will be interesting to see how the blog develops, particularly as it comes to more people's attention and visitor traffic increases.

I do tend to wonder how much of the impetus to set up this blog came from the establishment and growing popularity of Barbados Free Press (which is presently the only site on the BLP's blogroll). If nothing else, I think that existence of the Barbados Free Press, and its increasingly high profile, alerted the BLP that there was a new medium available for them to "communicate with the people". And, despite my overall cynicism about politics, I think it's commendable that the BLP is attempting to make use of that medium. Good on them.

Quite right, Titilayo! It is commendable that the BLP has established a blog – because there is a risk in doing so and the party has obviously decided that it was a risk it had to take.

What Are The Risks In Establishing a Political Party Blog?

We'll try to keep the answer below 1000 words… 😉 but the two main risks can be shortened to this…

1/ Risk of Public Failure – Successful Blogging Takes New Skills & Commitment

2/ Risk of Exposure – Political Blogging Favours Opposition, Not Government

1/ Risk of Public Failure – Successful Blogging Takes New Skills & Commitment

When an organization establishes a blog, it enters into a new arena where there is a true "level playing field". Money no longer counts like it does for television or newspaper advertising or other traditional marketing campaigns… because "anyone" can put up a blog on the internet for nothing. So if money no longer counts, it means that good ideas, writing, presentation (and a little magic) are the currency for success in this new media.

Merely "having" a blog is not the same as operating a vibrant blog with an ever-expanding audience that trades ideas and focuses attention on common issues. Successful blogging takes new skills – and even many professional journalists and website developers have been unable to create a successful online blog. Just "having" a blog does not develop reader loyalty, create excitement and influence in a community, provide an international search-engine presence or penetrate larger online communities.

All this takes new skills – and the skill set for blogging is very different than for operating a traditional website.

Will the Barbados Labour Party Blog eventually be a hit with readers? We hope so, but there are no guarantees.

And that is the risk that any organization takes in establishing a blog… It isn't easy to be successful, and any failure is in public. While failure of a political party's new blog might not be such a big deal – if the failure is in an election year, that could be something else…

2/ Risk of Exposure – Political Blogging Favours Opposition, Not Government

As much as governing political parties say they want to "communicate with the people" when they speak about blogging, what they often mean is that they simply want to use the internet as a one-way communication tool to present their message to online visitors – much like a television commercial.

But that is not the reality of blogging. Unlike a television commercial where the viewer is limited to shouting at the screen when a "cow pasture" odour is detected, the reader of a blog has several options – from leaving a public comment, to thoroughly researching an issue and posting devastating counter-evidence on another blog – or in the political blog's comments section and daring the party to erase it. Bloggers also tend to "gang up" when a major story breaks.

Bloggers have caused major embarrassments to governments around the world because the bloggers can react, organize research and post evidence and articles much faster than larger organizations can respond. As well, the risks for governments increase when they enter into direct public debate with an uncontrolled audience… and that is what blogging is all about.

In short – the Barbados Labour Party has decided to enter a new media where their posted ideas and words will be instantly analyzed in minute detail by people in Barbados and around the world. Should any of the blog posts have that "cow pasture" aroma that we sometimes see in politics, the BLP will not only be told about it – they might find those words broadcast around the world to the embarrassment of the party or a candidate.

Of course, a governing party can decide to not participate in blogging, but then they surrender the new media to other political parties and ad hoc citizen opposition.

As A Tool, Political Blogging Favours Opposition Over Government

As a tool, political blogging tends to favour the opposition for a few reasons…

– Attack is always easier than reactive defense (which is traditionally where an incumbent multi-term government finds itself during an election campaign.)

– While the governing party has to be careful to control it's outgoing policy messages, opposition bloggers do not have to worry about presenting a unified message if they are simply attacking the government (as opposed to presenting policy).

– There is never a shortage of stories or targets for opposition bloggers. After a decade in power, any government has made mistakes, had scandals and budget disasters. Bloggers from the governing party have a much tougher time finding such stories about the opposition.

– Opposition bloggers can react, research and post evidence and articles much faster than governing party organizations can respond.

– A blogging campaign is a superb budget equalizer and force multiplier for the Opposition. It provides a cost-effective method of mass-communication for smaller organizations and budgets, and when well done can significantly impact traditional election campaigns.

– Traditional media outlets tend to follow breaking blogger stories during election campaigns. Once again, this acts as a force multiplier for the opposition. Past federal elections in both the United States and Canada are proof enough of the influence of blogging upon the traditional media and the voting public.

Barbados Labour Party Blog Added To Our Links

Dr. William Duguid, the General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party, contacted the Barbados Free Press and asked that the BLP Blog be included in our sidebar links.

We have, of course, added the link – and we wish Dr. Duguid and the BLP success with their party's new blog. And we do applaud the establishment of the Barbados Labour Party Blog as it could possibly lead to more transparency and accountability by the Government.

post by Clive with Marcus

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life, Politics & Corruption