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LeftClick : the story so far...

I had to add a new site meter to this site as the old one went kaput for some reason. Nonetheless visitations here were moving up into the few hundreds daily within the first four weeks of its web presence.

So the project was more successful earlier than I had expected. We nonetheless have to encourage more 'team members' to post here but the problem you see, is that they have their own blogging families elsewhere and I know it is so hard to blog in two places at once.

So we've tried to accommodate to that by encouraging a lot of networking and cross interest by referring you to interesting posts and worthy discussions that are housed on our partners' blogging sites.

We are, you see, not alone.

In this regard you may want to trial a subscription to the Left Blogroll (bottom of the right margin) we've put together. That way you get the good stuff across a spectrum of our preferred lefty bloggers. Later you can put your own subscriptions together through the experience by culling and selecting what you like from this sampler list on offer.


As you see we've been keen on multimedia. We do this with the presumption that we can harness and package it better and more often than a lot of other news or blogging sites --and certainly much better than email lists can.

Once we get back into a regular Ratbag Radio routine this site will work a bit more as a RR Network adjunct by showcasing more locally generated audio -- video too. Let's just say, that plans do exist.

So if you come upon some great media stuff elsewhere that you w ant to let this here milieu in cyberspace know about, please let LeftClick know. I think sharing text is better served on formats like elists which can function as aggregators of all the news that fits. Whereas here for the moment the only selectivity in active play is media aside from text published elsewhere.

The other great advantage we've exploited is the label recourse on offer here as the site can aggregate content that way into themes and threads which can have standalone interest. It's sometimes very useful to refer people to a labels than single posts or the whole blog. So the site consciously archives.

This also means that when we campaign -- which I hope we do, around some issues -- like for example as we have over indigenous rights, Farooq Tariq's detention, the QUT witch hunt, and the Venezuelan revolutionary process (of course!)... we can create focus niches that can be very useful for activists long term.

Green Left Weekly

While a project like this may have its uses and potential, a core fact of its existence is that it shares cyberspace with Green Left Weekly. What that means is that LeftClick isn't a lone 'citizen journalism' enterprise, because we are not alone. GLW exists and keeps pumping out so much more of the stuff that would concern us here. So, in a very real self defined sense, LeftClick is a supplement to that important exercise. It is not a GLW project, but one that nonetheless is very much aware of the important role Green Left Weekly plays on (and off) the web and how important and indispensable a political asset it is.So we don't intend to blithely ignore GLW as so many locally based blogging projects do.

There's this rigid pre-determinism it seems where blogs are supposedly genetically separate from enterprises like GLW and that cross fertilisation is uncalled for. Since I write and edit stuff for Green Left often enough, I don't share that outlook at all. But I do note, and hope to address, the conundrum that blogs are posted to any time of the day or night,regardless of week or day -- but Green Left is scheduled to web publish once per week in a Sunday night upload of all its weekly goods.

So I think blogs -- and not just this one -- can supplement that schedule containment by filling in the gaps in regard to daily news gathering and by extending both the opinion and discourse. We can do that by exploring some issues through investing them with more detail and by encouraging discussion and debate.

This is of course what the GLW discussion list offers but debates there are so very hard to access and archive unless they are occurring when you go looking for them. Elist posts have a short shelf life. But if anything is cooking on the Green Left discussion list we think you need to join -- then we'll let you know.

Nonetheless, the "left" is still a newbie to blogging. despite the existence of some left blogs that can boast four PLUS years of existence -- blogging and cruising blogs is still a novel activity for socialistically left folk at least here in Australia. We may love our Yahoo egroups' chit chat and sharing -- but blogging is something else again.

So that's LeftClick's context.

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3 Com:

AN | July 03, 2007

I think it has been a success Dave.

Just some random thoughts:

You are right that I find it hard to think of posting here rather than at the SU blog, where we are still working to build up readership and repuation for substantive debate.

I know that in all blogging projects we are limited by who wants to takes part, but I still think we all need to work harder to get more women's and black voices heard.

Sometimes I find LeftClick a bit to Down Under in the weight of postings, and I am always suprised at how little input there is from the US left to internet debate - exceopt what goes through marxmail.

Dave Riley | July 03, 2007

I think that to create a standalone single blogging exercise as though thats' going to be it -- is a bit of a distraction.I think a network of (political)blogs in cyberspace is a preferable option. Such that they feed off each other and generate a sort of network of milieus within which a discussion is fostered. This way too, the interests and personalities of the bloggers come into play in the way such customisation of viewpoint doesn't exist so much in standard left journalism.

That means of course what people do on their home turf is important because thats' where the broadness and variety begins to kick in. No one blog can rule them all.

But of course there are many ways to blog..and many topics to blog about.

As for LeftClicks' indigenous antipodean flavour -- you'll note that here in Australia we don't have a developed left blogging culture like the way it seems to exist in the UK. Here we're email and elist junkies as the success of the GLW list indicates.

I think thats' very important and I've learnt a lot from the GLW list over the last 5 years -- but after a day or so, these posts get lost, at least on the web. This undermines your ability to develop themes and threads and archive some really good stuff. And elists are so hard to SEARCH. Elists are also open to so much trolling behaviour that the discussional buoyancy can be diverted easily.Nonetheless the "culture" on the GLW list is better I think than that on UK_Left Network because the exchange on GLW is usually much more than short sharp repartee-- a habit that seems to rule UK_left.

So I think we elist very well indeed...but blogging is a new platform and there is a bit of catchup involved. For the moment, it's left liberal and social democratic style blogs that have snaffled the niche here. So LeftClick, in my estimation, has to grow its audience by being considerate of the locals and turn them onto the medium. Theres' also the news angle -- the sort of reportage and opinion grabbing is not being fostered elsewhere so much in local cyberspace. I think this was very important, for example, in the context of Indigenous politics and this Howard land grab.

So this exercise is going to fall between many stools as it finds its way.

I guess the only comparable exercise here is LeftWrites which has lost a bit of its momentum lately. When I started LeftClick I receive bit of flack because I was seen to be exercising in direct competition to the LeftWrites charter. That wasn't true at all -- because, ironically in the light of your comments, I was keen for it be an off shore exercise as well.

But the other aspect too is that there is this debate that some of us want to be part of and that debate is an international one. Look at the way this New Zealand Venezuela exercise is panning out.

AS FOR THE AMERICANS,...Marxmail must be the very worse platform imaginable. Short shelf life, terrible theme aggregation...but it has been there long enough to draw attention and foster some important exchanges with even a few socialists from here preferring to hang out there rather than engage locally on the web. (I think that tells us something in fact especially as Marxmail is skewered -- and thats' the correct term -- by the outlook of exers, esp US SWP exers ).

But more generally the US left doesn't seem an easy creature to engage outside of the crew affixed to Marxmail. Check out El Stephens and Bob Morris' blogs for hints of the discussions that are being had --but then theres' not much that I know of thats' hard left and tactically oriented as ,say, SU is. I know Eli is always talking about the peace movement and stuff -- but i guess what I mean is the party question and what that means in regard to unity issues.(On that topic you could write a thesis the way unity and regroupment is handled and addressed on Marxmail).

But then theres' Canada and it seems to me that Canada is becoming very important in regard to the sort of web discussion and exchanges that are unfolding at the moment.

As for women and blogging -- the GLW elist is a male dominated absolutely so its not just a blogging issue. But political blogging overall, not just on the left, is so gender handicapped.

The other key question in all this is very straightforward (I know this because I do a lot in this regard with a range of people on the left): people don't know how to blog. It is a skill= which is both technical and literary. In my work with others here, and drawing from my own personal experience, I consider that it will take another year before blogging begins to consolidate and kick in here on the left.In play are a whole lot of issues to do with Web 2.0 attitudes, modem speeds, web access, skilling, etc. and a good part of that is leading and showing by example-- proving that time spent in front of a computer, posting comments and such is political time well spent. I don't think thats' self evident or maybe even proven yet. So the question is still an open one.

And on the left theres a lot of comrades who see blogging as a bit of a wank.

Even when you consider an exercise like the GLW list the figures are pretty coarse: around 950 subscribers but the posting weight is probably carried by no more than approx 25-30 individduals over a month period.This core may vary, nonetheless it is a discussion on display --still very useful -- rather than one that engages hundreds, even though hundreds are, we assume,listening.

Louisefeminista | July 03, 2007

Don't want to cause any bother but what about women's issues? (maybe "issues" is the wrong word..) And there are some good Australian feminist blogs out there that I have come across.

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