Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blog bits: interview with Sunny Hundal

I first came across Sunny Hundal at the excellent Pickled Politics and since then he's carved out a strong niche for himself at Liberal Conspiracy, and Comment is Free as well as writing for a whole number of other publications. Sunny's focus on building a left blogging community and providing campaigning tools has made him an incredible online asset to the left.

In the fifth in my short series of interviews with fellow bloggers we discuss American blogs, political influence and the drawbacks of team work.

  • What are the highs and lows of blogging for you?
I think a blogging low was when I was getting stalked by Will from DSTFW and getting called all sorts of names. But I guess it makes me develop a thicker skin. Blogging highs - when people come up to me and say they've read my articles. It's always nice to know I have an audience.
  • You've very much focused on group blogging. What are the strengths and weaknesses of that approach over going it alone?
I think going it alone means you can be a bit more flexible because it's very personality based. So your own personal stories can be shared too.

The problem with group blogging sometimes is that people feel a bit official and that they can't do small, off-handed posts because they have to maintain a certain standard. That ends up making those blogs less personal than they should be.

The strength is obviously that you have more content and more energy in a group blog.
  • How politically influential do you think blogging has become?
Depends how you measure influence. It would be naive to think blogging is or will ever affect a significantly large portion of the population to make an impact at the ballot box. In other words - I doubt we'll ever be at a stage where blogs can tell people to vote a certain way for strategic reasons and affect the election.

Saying that though, blogs are read by people within the Westminster circle - so there's more potential to influence the decision makers and influential people with ideas and narratives. Right now though, I don't think we're at that stage of maturity and consolidation yet. I see even more consolidation amongst blogs as absolutely essential before they start making an impact.
  • There seems to be a very clear separation between the A List blogs and even the best of the rest. In your opinion what's key to becoming a top political blogger?
Have a big enough niche that you'll blog constantly about. Have access to something different (people, perspective, technology)... blog often. Don't blog long pieces because people barely read them. Focus on current affairs issues so people feel the need to get involved. Don't use obtuse or confusing language. Get involved in your own comments section.
  • If you could imagine a perfect blog - what would it look like?
A mix between the vibrancy of Huffington Post, writing at Talking Points Memo, the community focus of Daily Kos and the design of FireDogLake. Yes, I'm obsessed by American blogs.
Quick fire round:
  1. History or economics? Economics.

  2. Fourth Plinth - hot or not? Hot

  3. Guardian online or hard copy? I'm an online child.

  4. Afghanistan - troops out now? Nope - need to stabilise the country.

  5. Action movie or comedy? Comedy.

  6. Coffee or beer? Beer.

  7. Opera or Oprah? Neither.

  8. Benazir Bhutto or Yasser Arafat? That's like a rock or a hard place! Probably Bhutto.

  9. Liberal or Left? Left more than liberal.

  10. There's a free ticket on the next space shuttle - do you go or do you send your enemies? I'm off! I've always been fascinated by space.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

"# Afghanistan - troops out now? Nope - need to stabilise the country."

Sunny fail.