We're participants of the 4th CALD Communications Workshop!! Having loads of fun and learning a great deal! Let's hope we'll all be able to grow together as party partners!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Learn from the French

I came across a very interesting article in today’s issue of the International Herald Tribune, my preferred daily morning literature (next to the Philippine Daily Inquirer which, for some reasons, I find rather dull recently). In this front-page feature entitled “France’s mysterious embrace of blogs”, author Thomas Crampton referred to the French “obsession” with blogging. I was surprised to read that, when it comes to blogging, the French are not only ahead of the Germans and the Britons, but also the Americans, the inventors and also trendsetters in most Web 2.0 developments.

I was particularly interested to read to which extent French politicians have taken up blogging as a political communications tool, not least because I think it is interesting compared to what (very little) is going on in this regard in the Philippines and other Asian countries. Following are some quotes from the article (I recommend you read the whole text):

“You cannot be elected president of France without a blog,” said Benjamin Griveaux, director of Web strategy for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister who in 2004 was among the first politicians to start a blog. “Blogs have not replaced traditional media, but they are absolutely necessary for every politician.”

So why are the French obsessed with blogging? This is Crampton’s “cultural” explanation:

“It is clear that in France we have very large egos and love to speak about ourselves,” Le Meur said. “If you look at Germans or Scandinavians - off- line and on the Internet - they really don’t talk about themselves.”

If the sole criteria were “love to speak about themselves”, blogging would be very popular also with Filipino politicians (and politicians in most other countries, also). But, obviously, other factors play a role in determing whether blogs are used in political campaigns.

Crampton’s final paragraph shows how far ahead the French political class is compared to politicians in this part of the world:

These Web logs, or online journals, are not just opposition tools. Most mainstream French politicians have now embraced blogs. The French Socialist presidential hopeful Ségolène Royal started a blog in February that has had more than half a million visitors and 20,000 comments, and it has been credited with lifting membership of the Socialist Party. The blog includes a draft version of her political platform, which citizens are invited to comment on before it is completed. …Griveaux, the director of Web strategy for Strauss-Kahn, reckons the popularity of blogs comes down to France being a nation where each and every citizen thinks he or she should be in charge. “We had 16 presidential candidates at the last election, and we will probably have the same number next year,” Griveaux said. “Every French person wants to run the country - a blog is the next best option.”

Democratic and liberal politicians of this world: Learn from the French!

Originally posted in My Liberal Times.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Podcasting from Manila

The Liberal Times Manila Podcast has just recently run a special episode dealing exclusively with the CALD-ALDE-LI conference held in the Philippines in late July. You will find all the relevant information in text at the reliable CALD-website. There's also a report on the liberal Foundation's site. For those of you, who wish an audio-addition, there's no better place to go than The Liberal Times Manila Podcast.

Dear CALDCloggers, and others: I am looking forward to meeting you again at our next communications workshop in Taipei in September. There. we are planning to have a lot of hands-on training about blogging and podcasting.

And, of course, we will also discuss the strategic dimensions of using these new media in the political communications of your respective parties.