Monday, 28 July 2008

Happy birthday, Kiwiblog

David Farrar's Kiwiblog is now five years old, boasting nine-and-a-half million visitors in that time (my own humble blog boasts just over one-tenth that number in just over half that time*). I'd like to offer my congratulations to David for the hard work and energy he has put into his blog over those five years, and what he has achieved with it.

Blogging has already changed the nature of political commentary, helped by the appalling state of the mainstream media -- did someone say "Braindead"? -- and with its uncontested 'number one in NZ' ranking, Kiwiblog has both surfed and created NZ's blogging wave, as No Minister summarises.

The chief value of Kiwiblog to me and many others over many of those last five years is not that Farrar's opinions are either worthwhile or worthy of respect (he's at the better end of National Party apologetics, but apologist he still is), but that his nose for details is acute, and his political antenna is first class. If there's a political issue about, then he's onto it. If there's a story in the wind, then he'll be linking to it. In that respect, Kiwiblog has become the preeminent online clearing house for NZ's major political stories, ahead of the likes of Scoop which would like to have that role. Read Kiwiblog once or twice a day, and if there's a political story worth knowing about then in five minutes or less you can be informed.

From where I sit, however, his authority has diminished as the apologetics for his party have become more necessary.

It's worth noting that for all of those last five years, Kiwiblog has been very much part of the political opposition, while erstwhile rival Public Address has very much not been, and that if National are successful in Election '08 the situation will reverse, and I'd expect the apologetics at Kiwiblog to quickly take over. At that point, when squelching criticism of the government takes over from linking to it, I'd be prepared to say that the relative positions of the two leading blogs might also reverse, and Kiwiblog's number one position will be under threat. After all, the nature of blogging is inherently oppositional.

* Specifically, 986,899 visits since April 2005. At the current rate, I should hit the million mark about halfway through August!


  1. Fair summary there PC.
    Similar conlusions have been drawn in the UK as to what might happen to blogging should Cameron be PM.
    But maybe the blogging leaders will still come from the right, pushing Key to be more adventurous and radical, especially if he turns out left-wing.
    Liarbour and the left might be too busy licking its owns and fighting among itself in detemining a post-Helen future to offer much opposition.

  2. "especially if he turns out left-wing."

    You have doubts, FM?

  3. That's a most interesting post.
    Reckon that all but the most craven apologists are going to be very disappointed with the national socialists should they attain the treasury benches (there remains the possibility that they won't, Helen is still in there with her fighting chance). So it is going to be fascinating indeed to see how the blogs alter and revise content. One way or another they are going to alter, whether it be cover up and excuse or venting increasing disappointment, bitterness and opposition. Not much consistency in any of them. Not enough thought about their heros. Too much hope and blind faith.


  4. Great post. I would however disagree on a couple of points. Firstly it is a bit of a stretch to classify public address as a blog. At best it is a blog reader that aggregates many blogs. DPF is a one man band (if you discount the house trolls who drive most of the comment traffic).
    The other point is the role of the two blogs if we see a change in govt.
    With the shenanigans we have seen and suspect from the labour party over the last decade I believe we will see another two or three years of dominance by DPF as the skeletons all fall from the cupboards.

  5. Yeah, PA seems to be more conversational - even Russel Brown's Hard News (the most political, but even then is not always so) just wanders through a few current events with one or two points here and there. It might be the most popular 'opposition' blog, but it is barely that, beyond registering a bit of distaste every now and then. Surely rather more partisan The Standard would have to be the leading 'opposition' blog. Kiwiblog is far more intense and as you said, very up to the minute.

  6. No one remotely conservative, let alone libertarian would endorse a statement that social resources
    "are the common property of all our people". My problem with David is he is a superficial blogger. He rarely expresses any sort of political theory nor shows any deep thinking on the subject. He is the anti-PC in this respect. There are conservative voices around that aren't like this - Daniel Larson @ for example. This doesn't mean he ought to stop commentary on news, it's just id prefer a "big picture" view of these issues more often. There are not enough conservatives around who can articulate what makes them anything but sellout libertarians. They don't exactly do a good job of defending their ideas.

  7. One thing that can be said for The Standard - they aren't afraid to muck in, unlike DPF.

  8. Muck in?
    If by muck in you mean get paid to blog for the benefit of the Labour party then I wholeheartedly agree.

  9. Clearly that's not what I meant. I shall rephrase, instead of 'muck in' - 'engage with other posters, in depth and often'.

  10. 'engage with other posters, in depth and often'?
    If by 'engage with other posters, in depth and often'. You mean; Ban delete and edit comments from commenter's that interrupt the constant stream of anti john key invective then I wholeheartedly agree with you.

  11. Haha, well depends how often one's comments involve accusing them of working out of the 9th floor/being assholes/killing Kennedy, the last of which I expect to see in the run up to the election.

  12. Stephen, they don't all work out of the ninth floor.
    Neale Jones and Rob Egan work from their offices at the EPMU.
    The asshole comment is a given so I agree, however I can't see them being accused of Killing Kennedy. That particular act of murder was no doubt committed by John Key and the paid bloggers at the sytandard will no doubt get around to accusing him sooner or later.


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