It seemed like an excellent opportunity – to write a weekly column for LabourList, one of the biggest left-leaning blogs in the UK. Take EU matters to a new, wider audience. So I thought. In the second half of 2011 I churned out more than 20 columns, and a variety of other pieces.
But things have not turned out as I had expected and – at my own choice – I am weighing up whether the columns should continue. Things are on hold for now.
Above all, the joy of blogging (here on this blog in any case) is that hitting Publish is only the start. I learn from the comments, the comments are largely civil, and themes grow over time. Importantly I get an e-mail notification every time a new comment is posted to allow me to follow discussions. On LabourList I can’t get this, meaning that by the time I go back to the website I’m treated either to a stream of critique, or comments that have departed at a tangent. There I don’t have the tools to engage with the audience properly. Secondly, there is no RSS feed of just my posts, meaning no way to auto-import into Facebook or auto-tweet my posts, two important ways I generate useful discussion around what I write here. I’ve even volunteered my technical assistance – for free – to solve these issues, to no avail.
More widely, writing to a weekly schedule is rather tiresome, as I am used to the immediacy of blogging, while writing columns on a Sunday morning is probably the last time I would choose to do it. Plus – apart from an interesting spat with Emma Reynolds over my critique of Douglas Alexander – what I’ve written has generated very little substantive follow up. I also have no meaningful feedback on whether what I write – either in terms of style or substance – is what the readers of LabourList want.
Thoughts and comments from LabourList readers and others would be most welcome in light of this blog post…
Don’t stop Jon. Pioneering is a lonely business but absolutely necessary in this case. As someone running a politically driven blog about the EU you are an endangered species.