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February 2008

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Damien Blake

I think the "tone" of voice is vital on a website. Among the first comments on my blog (and about it elsewhere) last year where that it was too much like a series of Press Releases. Those comments were right.

In politics (even at the low level I'm at- Town Councillor) you are always aware that everything you say can come back to bite you. That, together with the ever masterful Google and, means most politicians will be slow to be as frank online as bloggers have been.

I've changed the way I write on the website substantially. As I see it, there's no point re-hashing things that could be read in the local papers (we have 6 local papers covering politics in Letterkenny every week). Nobody cares that much.

The website I have allows me to connect with a very different demographic, the demographic that doesn't read the papers but are searching through google, and technorati for the issues that they care about. I watch my stats and referrer logs to see what people are reading, and what they're looking for. This, together with the emails I receive, has been of great use to me as a public representative.

As regards Press Releases, a point worth remembering is that most senior politicians don't write their own releases, so it's unlikely we'll see them blogging any time soon (as we would consider blogging anyway). Ciaran Cuffe is going down the right road, Joan Burton isn't.

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