Saturday, May 06, 2006

David Miliband Blogs - an open letter

I wholeheartedly support the idea that politicians should blog more, communicate more, discuss things directly, etc. Ergo, when a Govt Minister sets up a blog, I think that's, on balance, a good idea. For the record, I'm working on my employers to give me space for a newsblog at work, it'll be a good way to communicate with the people I work with. Whether they'll buy it or not I don't know, but I don't think work blogs are a waste of time, nor of taxpayers money.

Note the corrolary though. When it's done right. David Miliband set up a blog while at the ODPM. He was criticised within the community for a number of reasons. Some were wrong (waste of Govt time, get back to work, etc - communication with those you work for is his work), but some were right.

Specifically, what happens when he changes job? Well, he now has an 'interim solution' which is to set up a redirect from his new domain name http://www.davidmiliband.defra.gov.uk/ at his new job that, um, points directly back at the old ODPM location. I've submitted the following comment, which I repeat here in full as an open letter to him:
David, the real problem here is that you're conflating two separate types of blogging.

As you're blogging in your job role, you need to do it as the Secretary of State, and then if you leave office/change job again, then the blog gets passed on to the next Secretary.

Ergo, domain name shouldn't be davidmiliband.defra etc it should be secretary-of-state.defra OR defra.gov.uk/secretary/blog or similar.

Alternately, if you want it to be YOUR blog, in your name, then host it elsewhere or, even better, get a central location to host all Govt blogs and keep them there rather than moving around, probably the No10 site may be best for that.

As it is, switching URLs and dodgy redirects will abound, Blogging Ministers is something I wholeheartedly support, just get it thought through as a proper strategy? Please?

Good luck in the new role. You never know, you may come up with a policy I like. Don't hold your breath though...
That last bit is actually possible y'know, they're not all bad this lot. Just not much good either.

3 comments:

wonkotsane said...

You will note the "0 comments" after every post. Not through lack of comments but through censorship. I know of at least two comments to the same post, neither of which have been published. I know that my comment didn't contravene the posting rules/guidelines because I checked them first.

matgb said...

On Miliband's site? There's even a deleted comment which was there previously that I saw nothing wrong with...

MatGB said...

Appears he has now displayed the comments and is even responding to some of them, comment moderation is at a high level, obviously...