Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Ten Blogging Resolutions

1) You've just got to change the template to something jazzy, but tasteful. It's too sombre, functional, and dull for my tastes. While you're at it, why not think about following the blogging herd and shifting to Wordpress (what are the advantages vis a vis Blogger?)

2) Accept you're never going to keep up with someone who blogs full time, like Iain Dale. Aim for a more modest posting schedule, like every other day. You really don't want to end up repeating the middle chunk of last year and losing the audience you've built up through burn out.

3) Speaking of audiences, you'll only keep them if you engage with them. That's what comment boxes are for! You should spend more time responding/debating/criticising. A blogger who doesn't address the comments they get don't deserve comments.

4) You need a bigger audience too! December's stats - an average of 132 page loads, 89 unique visitors, and 28 returning visitors per day - are a big improvement on the all-time average (72, 48, and 17 respectively) but surely this is a fraction of the potential audience. A more serious engagement with other sites is required.

5) AVPS is part of the (at times fractious, at times fratricidal) left blogging scene and should embrace the community. This means doing "good works" like participating in (and perhaps editing!) the immanent revival of the Carnival of Socialism, eliciting guest posts from others, drawing attention to new blogs, trying to take the edge out of intra-left blog disputes, etc.

6) Most left blogs are written by comrades who are independent of the various revolutionary groups, so there is certainly more room for SP bloggers. At the moment AVPS, Leftwing Criminologist, The Left News Network, and The Nation of Duncan are the only active SP blogs. You should encourage more comrades to enter the blogging fray (a Scotland-based CWI blog, and one focusing on domestic and international politics has to be top of the wish list).

7) One way this can be done is getting SP comrades to submit guest posts (as well as lighting a rocket under Brother S's arse). Must start approaching others without delay!

8) Local struggles need more coverage. Over the Christmas period some traffic has come looking for more information about the Burslem postal dispute. Though not being heavily involved in it myself (beyond the odd bit of solidarity work), there is no real excuse not to get Stoke SP leaflets, union leaflets, reports, and odds and sods from comrades up on here.

9) Try and get more balance to the topics you write about. At the moment the audience is made up of other left activists and academic/sociology types. The challenge is to make the more political posts, however navel-gazing they may be, interesting to the latter and the stuff on sociology attractive to the former.

10) Make sure blogging remains satisfying and fun. There's no point going through the motions for its own sake as you'll be wasting your own time and those who come here.

What are your resolutions?


Anonymous said...

re number 6

blogging is not encouraged by any bureaucracy, neither is any other form of interaction with 'the left' or exchange of information.

i can fully understand the problems it can present any ruling bureaucratic clique but the controling 'democratic centralism' of the past wont be tollerated in the modern world by people used to voicing their opinions freely.

therefore i'd suggest that 'unity in action' should be promoted rather than a control culture which can never suceed anyhow. if individuals voice their own opinions as individuals then that should be fine so long as they are not racist, sexist etc. if what they say is 'wrong', or rather not in sync with the party line, then they should be challenged politically, not silenced with discipline. likewise, if they put things rather crudely or in language that is unhelpful then they should be patiently explained to, not told off like nauthy school children!

my hope for 2008 is a sea change in all left wing parties, away from the sect model with controlling bureaucratic cliques and inner circles, towards far more open and democratic parties that allow not only their members but the wider class as a whole to see how the party operates and to read accurate reports free from spin!

in the modern world, certaibnly after the experience of stalinist parties and social democratic bureaucracies, young people and workers wont tollerate the old 'sect' model anymore, and why should they? they will only be convinced to join a new type of party, one that is thoroughly open and democratic and without a control culture.

nowadays, with the wide spread dislike of all political parties, a fighting party with socialist principles wont be enough, the internal structure and culture will matter as well, certainly in terms of retaining and developing members.

forwards to maximum unity of the working class and the left!

forwards to a new united front socialist party to give political voice to the class!

best wishes for 2008,


Leftwing Criminologist said...


on regular posting, as i mention on my blog i think you need to do it at a pace that suits yourself, but don't leave it ages like in the middle of this year!

as for sp blogs, i'd like to see more too. do you know if there are members of the cwi in other countries that have blogs? also what about cnwp members?

the only thing I find about posting solidarity announcements and local news is that most of my visitors don't seem to care, and that's a shame really

btw. how do you get visitor stats?

Leftwing Criminologist said...

btw http://socialistpartydevon.blogspot.com/ has put up some new posts

Phil said...

Amen to that KS! Btw, get yourself blogging again!

LC: stats don't come as standard on blogger. You have to sign up for a free service like statcounter or sitemeter. Once you have an account you get a bit of code you then edit into your template on the html page. Et voila, every time you log in you get a graph like the one here

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with Blogger or other platforms, as I started out with Wordpress. However, the basic Wordpress service provides a daily count of visits to your site as well as incoming links, search engine terms that bring visitors to your site, etc. But it doesn't tell you the number of unique visitors. It also uses Akistmet anti-spam features so that your commenters don't need to type in word verification, though - depending on the level of security you set up for your blog - it's probably the case that every commenter will need to be 'approved' once before they are allowed to comment on subsequent posts.

I suppose I belong to the 'academic/sociology' wing of your readership, though I enjoy reading the variety of topics covered here. For my own part, though I find it's hard to achieve a satisfying balance between blogging on my intellectual and academic interests, community-building and political interests, cultural observations, and the usual slice-of-life commentary...so I'm interested to see your blogging develop. Happy New Year and good luck as you set out on your resolutions.

Imposs1904 said...

Whatever happened to that group blog from Millie members? I can't remember its name off hand, but the last I checked its readership was by invitation only.

Phil said...

Cheers Union, I've been thinking about Wordpress as so many other left bloggers have gone for it of late. That's maybe something for the future: blogger plus statcounter seems to suit AVPS fine, for now. Thanks for the nice - I think my propensity to blog about a wide variety of things is more reflective of my scatty nature rather than well thought through balance ;). All the best for 2008 to you too.

Darren, Militant - the Marxist Blog for Labour and Youth has been parked since May. Nothing has appeared on it since then.

Duncan said...

I had only one resolution, though I should probably think about jazzing up my template a bit now you mention it, which was to post more regularly.

The output on AVPS in the last few days puts me to shame already.

blackstone said...

Yeah, i def think you should jazz up your template a bit more. A cleaner blog, really does help retain your visitors and keep them coming back!

Phil said...

I'll have a word with my "design consultant" about the template. It looks like I ordered it from the Ministry of Dull Design or something.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, and I like your thoughtful style.

On number 1, on blogger you are working to build the brand of your landlord - who happens to be a huge corporation, with a dominant market share in many areas of internet life.

Wordpress is community maintained, and gives you *far* more control. And I mean real - not hosted - Wordpress on your own (.uk) domain, which should cost less than £20 a year.

and an extra one...

11 Why not add a big RSS icon in your sidebar. RSS subscribers are repeat visitors.

Cheers and best wishes.

Matt Wardman

Anonymous said...

Can I comment on 5 too.

I run several guest posts a week, and occasonally post elsewhere. The greatest benefit that comes both ways imho is the opportunity to write in a different style and for a different audience - e.g., one of my regulars is Garbo at thepoliblogs.blogspot.com who writes a commentary column where his normal output is a Daily Political Roundup of stories from other bloggers.

Matt W

Phil said...

Thanks for your comments, Matt. I'll add you to the blogroll too.

Wordpress sounds good. Is it much hassle moving your entire blog over?