>Iain Dale shuts his Diary – where next for the political blogosphere?


Iain Dale, British author, journalist and Cons...Image via Wikipedia

Readers will know that today is a landmark day in the political blogosphere. It is the first day we will not have 4 posts from Iain Dale. Yes, Iain Dale has shut his diary, one of the most influential political blogs around.

Iain has said the response to him stopping blogging has been ‘like reading my own obituary’, so this post isn’t going to go on about how influential his blog was (even though it was one of the inspirations for this one,) or how readable and insightful the blog was (it was), or how Iain popularised blogging and took it out of the realm of geekdom (he finished with a readership similar to that of the Independent). In recent months the blogosphere has lost Labour MP Tom Harris, Mark Thompson of the Mark Reckons blog, and Harry Cole has put Tory Bear to bed to join Paul Staines at Guido full time. These people created media persona’s and become opinion formers via their blogs. So, we will simply ask, what’s next?

In an interview on Today on Radio 4 Iain said that blogging still had a place, despite the increasing power of twitter. VN is inclined to agree. Twitter is a great way of spreading information, but does not facilitate displaying a fully formed opinion.

The blogosphere does though need become more open, more engaging. Iain Dale’s Diary was so popular because it was a good read. He didn’t get caught up in hackish, self serving, figures and graphs, or discuss the minutiae of legislation nobody had heard of. Niche blogs will always have their place, but they will never have the readership.

In a 24 hour news cycle people want instant reaction, and that is one area where blogs will always beat newspapers. But reading blogs regularly can feel like being on the receiving end of a permanent tirade. Dare VN suggest that this may be to do with an over population of men?! Even Ellie Gellard seems to have stopped blogging since Labour leadership election. So let’s hope in 2011 many more girls take to the keyboard, and promote themselves as shamelessly as many male counterparts!

There is no doubt that blogs are going to include more and more dynamic multimedia content, and with this in mind VN is delighted to announce that it will have a youtube channel running from the new year. Such content will allow visitors to blogs to take in information in much more engaging and interesting ways. A pictures can say 1000 words, and photoshop is willing to oblige.

It is also very luckily that as blogs become more respected, they are going to become more commercially viable propositions, like the Huffington Post in the US, or our beloved (uhum) Guido Fawkes’ Order-Order.com over here. This need not necessarily water down blogs, and should in fact raise their quality.

It would be callous to pretend anything other than that Iain Dale has brought about an end to an era in political blogging. But he leaves the blogosphere a much more interesting place. The next stage could be very exciting indeed!

So au revoir  and thanks Iain, we’ll be there at 7 on LBC!

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