DAMNING: a review

The Labour, Green, Mana and CTU websites haven’t got it along their top ribbons: it’s still just “Media releases” and “Contact Us”.  Nothing either anywhere along the bottom navigation bars, if they have them.  Are we to conclude from this that the new internet blog experiment “the daily blog” is just that – a blog and nothing more?  Without promotion from the political left it appears this blog thing is designed to be a minor distraction at best.

How they think they can completely revolutionize the online left without inbound links from the actual left is beyond me – that’s an automatic fail right there.  It’s part of some muddled thinking given an airing in five to ten posts a day by the chirpy editor who has attempted to explain that the left are not well served or connected in the mainstream media …. but they do want to know what’s going on … and they want to hear a solid leftwing perspective on current events … so they need a website which attempts to be a news site … but the media are corporate shills anyway so no one really wants to emulate them … but it’s really unfair they don’t get NZ On Air funding.  These threads don’t weave well – it’s conceptually a bit straight-up-fucked-to-hell, the way they are trying to set it up.

It is difficult to reconcile what they are saying.  On the one hand, “We desperately need Public Broadcasting” – a concept so serious it gets its own German capitalisation.  On the other, “It’s part of the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually”.  Some questions are begging:  Who is this blog for, besides the half-dozen white men who write half the content?  And why don’t THEY get NZ On Air funding, huh?

And what kind of self-respecting leftwing blogger actually buys into the idea that the private sector is “leaner, meaner [and] more dynamic”?

My thought when this was originally announced some months ago was that it was the beginnings of a serious leftwing discussion hub – something more media-focused than The Standard, more explicitly leftwing than Public Address, less bugfuck surreal than Tumeke.  How – after all – can a leftwing website justify building a platform if the end result isn’t a diverse lineup of interesting voices curated to influence mainstream commentary?  That surely must be the long-term objective.  That is where this should be going and it would be a disappointment were it not to arrive at that point in the future.  Those were my initial, slightly long-winded, thoughts.

So what of this website?

Firstly it is at its own address – thedailyblog.co.nz.  Which I suppose makes sense since Geocities shut down.  Secondly it has a ridiculously busy front page … because the internet generation like clicking five different buttons to get to the content.  Is that the presumption here?  Presenting it like someone threw up on a WordPress template isn’t appealing.  Thirdly, there are ads, but so what, shut your fucking face and use AdBlock if you don’t like it, because as a leftwing blogger I certainly don’t believe in stupid concepts like “the public good unfettered by commercial concerns”, and living in Auckland is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.

And fourthly there are blogs from a bunch of white dudes from Auckland who are probably over 40 (all right, I have actually investigated this and turns out you can judge books by their covers).

It seem utterly redundant given the sheer volume of content you could be producing from 30+ contributors, but the site also spams you with unedited press releases from political parties and unions, videos which are trending on Reddit, five-year-old cat macros, and gratuitous boobs.  Are we not totally over blog websites which churn out clickbait spam to artificially bump their pageviews?  I am totally over it.

The main page is overwhelming.  Certainly from a basic web useability perspective it is unfathomable.

So what constitutes success for this venture?  Will it be audience numbers for the site alone – because it sure isn’t having any effect on the wider media narrative around political issues.  It isn’t built to get people to engage freely or develop a community either.  How are the admins measuring this – and do they care?

I have gone past the front page, because I actually bother to do basic groundwork when I review things, and I see very little of what was promised in the press release:

I’m not quitting the NZ Blogosphere, I’m intending to change it.

TheDailyBlog.co.nz will bring together 30 of the best left-wing bloggers and progressive opinion shapers in NZ all onto one site to critique the news, the media, and politics to provide the other side of the story.

 

What was the slogan again?  “Want to support this work? Donate today.”  More like “Don’t, and won’t.”

10 comments

  1. pipdg

    And… You’ve just explained why I stopped reading the site some months ago. Large volumes of posts, many just links to YouTube videos. Too much to scroll through and, given I do a lot of my blog reading via smartphone, clicking thru endlessly in the hope of finding something interesting just wasn’t worth the effort. There are far better commentators posting elsewhere in a more appealing, accessible format.

    • QoT

      Yeah, it’s never at all clear whether a post contains original content or is just a repost, nor (on an RSS reader) who the author is, which can be a key factor in deciding whether to read something.

  2. weka

    “Presenting it like someone threw up on a WordPress template isn’t appealing.”

    rofl. I shouldn’t laugh, because like you I thought I saw potential and now I see wasted potential.

    The other thing that bothers me and is one of the reasons I don’t spend more time there, or even read there more, is because I can’t search for comments. If I or someone else makes a comment, there is no easy way to go back and find it later to see replies. That’s just fucking stupid, unless you don’t want people talking to each other. It’s not just the lack of a search function, it’s as you say the navigation is a spew fest.

    • QoT

      It bugs me, especially as the site is receiving regular income from the supporting unions (plus whatever comes in from advertising). This blog’s built on a standard, unadulterated WordPress template. It just isn’t that difficult to make your site look good (or readable).

  3. Moz in Oz

    Wow. I grabbed the RSS feed a while ago and just assumed it was a mindless left-wing aggregator feed. All I recall seeing is summarised by the sub-head “this press release represents the views of the originating organisation not this site”. It’s kinda useful in that way, it saves me subscribing to three or four feeds (and The Greens blog is pretty bizarre at times so the press release feed is quite handy).

    But you’re saying there’s a website, and there’s supposed to be independent articles as well? They should mke those stand out, because I’m not seeing them. The cat videos and random gifs… are you saying none of those are original? They were the most valuable conent, the political ones anyway. The repeats and relinks of random funny stuff no so much.

    • QoT

      Ha! It is actually an entire blog. I even wrote some posts there myself. But it is, as you have illustrated, really easy to miss that amongst the massive amounts of chaff.