Thursday, January 22, 2009

Websites, blogs and politicans

Bulolo MP Sam Basil called me before leaving for Washington DC to attend the inauguration of Barrack Obama as 44th President of the USA.

He wanted to set up a website of his electorate as well as one of his US-Government funded trip to attend the inauguration.

Over dinner, at his Port Moresby residence, I told him that blogs were fast replacing websites as the fastest-growing means of mass communication in the world – now even replacing traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television - and that his best bet was to start up a blog.

I also told him that Barrack Obama was hailed throughout his campaign and transition as a politician who makes clever use of technology to communicate his message.

After dinner, he hooked up his laptop, and I helped him to set up a blog for the Bulolo electorate and another for his trip to the USA.

The blog   will inform those back in Mr Basil’s electorate of Bulolo, Morobe province and PNG about his trip to the USA.

Apart from his blog about his visit to the USA for the inauguration, Mr Basil has also set up another blog about his Bulolo electorate,   which also features the Morobe province and PNG.

He is, as far as I know, the first Member of Parliament from Papua New Guinea to have a blog, as opposed to a website.

For matters of transparency and accesibility, Mr Basil has also listed down all his contact details, including email addresses and mobile phones, so that everyone can be in touch with him.

A little bit of tweaking here and there, plus promotion through our network of PNG bloggers, and the ratings of  and are already shooting through the roof.

Gone are the staid days of Mr Basil’s predecessors, replaced by a dynamic new means of communication reflective of the tech-savvy incumbent.

A Blog, a shortened form of the term ‘web log’, is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.

The Blogosphere is the collective community of all blogs.

Since all blogs are on the Internet by definition, they may be seen as interconnected and socially networked.

 Discussions "in the Blogosphere" have been used by the media as a gauge of public opinion on various issues.

But as the Blogosphere grows in size and influence, the lines between what is a blog and what is a mainstream media site become less clear.

Larger blogs are taking on more characteristics of mainstream sites and mainstream sites are incorporating styles and formats from the Blogosphere.

In fact, 95% of the top 100 US newspapers have reporter blogs.

With blogging so firmly entrenched in the mainstream, the story now is about the Active Blogosphere.

The trends, stories and behaviors here influence not only the rest of the Blogosphere but mainstream media as well.

Blog entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

"Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a Blog.

Many Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.

A typical Blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.

The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many Blogs.

Most Blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media.

 A Blog gives you your own voice on the web.

It's a place to collect and share things that you find interesting— whether it's your political commentary, a personal diary, or links to web sites you want to remember.

Many people use a Blog just to organise their own thoughts, while others command influential, worldwide audiences of thousands.

Professional and amateur journalists use Blogs to publish breaking news, while personal journalers reveal inner thoughts.

Whatever you have to say, Blogging can help you say it.

Blogging is about more than just putting your thoughts on the web.

It's about connecting with and hearing from anyone who reads your work and cares to respond.

With Blogging, you control who can read and write to your Blog — let just a few friends or the entire world see what you have to say!

Blogging let anyone, anywhere, to offer feedback on your posts.

You can choose whether you want to allow comments on a post-by-post basis, and you can delete any comments you don't like.

Access Controls let you decide who can read and who can write to your Blog.

You can use a group Blog with multiple authors as an excellent communication tool for small teams, families and other groups.

Or as a single author, you can create a private online space for collecting news, links, and ideas, to keep to yourself or share with as many readers as you want.

Bloggings let you find people and Blogs that share your interests.

Your profile, where you can list your blogs, your interests, and more, lets people find you (but only if you want to be found).

Whether you're starting your Blog or just think it's time to give your existing Blog a facelift, user-friendly editing tools help you easily design a great-looking page.

A collection of templates will get you started with an attractive site right away without you having to learn any HTML, though you can edit your Blog's HTML code whenever you want.

When you're ready to take the next step, you can further customise templates to create a design that perfectly reflects you and your Blog.

You can easily upload photos on your Blog.

The fastest way to understand Blogging is to try it out, and in less than five minutes, you could be part of the phenomenon that’s transforming web and media to a participatory approach.  





  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Hi M,

    It's great to see a PNG politician taking to technology and specifically a blog to disseminate information about themselves. Thanks for making this info available to us.

    I do have a suggestion though - if I may...

    I'm not sure why you set up 2 blogs in this instance as the one setup for Sam Basil's USA tour is a one off and I suspect will never receive another update. It probably would have been more effective to have the US tour info included in Mr Basil's main blog.

    I had a link setup to the Tour of USA blog and have removed it because I suspect that it will never be updated. If all of the content is published in one blog then it's also easier for folks to find down the track - kind of like a historical record of Sam's work.


    NB: Likewise with your "Earhart" blog - you have since published stories about "Earhart" to your own blog and not the "Earhart" one.

  2. Hi Robert,
    It was Sam's own wish to have one blog devoted entirely to the US trip.Re Earhart, after much thought, I decided to stick to one blog and tweak from there!


  3. Anonymous11:26 PM

    After reading countless article on the net about the success of Obama's campaign website, its encouraging to see the steps taken by Sam Basil.

    We are all looking forward to perhaps seeing a well run website/blog for our government. One day hopefully soon.

  4. Indeed Emmanuel. That'll be the day.