I just read the report "Political blogs - craze or convention" by the Hansard Society (you can download it for free here). The organisation asked 8 citizens to read and judge a sample of 8 political British blogs. As part of the review process, the jurors were required to post comments on the blogs and check back on their posts. The jurors were largely disappointed when they found little activity around their comments, both on the behalf of the blogger and on the readers'.
As I read the experiences of the "jury", I come to think of the weblog by Eva Biaudet, a Finnish politician. Many of the visitors who have commented her posts have also asked her questions, and she does answer some of them. There's only one response within the comments, between readers.
Further in the report: "Distinguishing four primary modes of expression in the bloggers’ postings – fact, opinion, experience, and questioning – we found that more than half of their messages were expressions of opinion, less than a quarter referred to experience, while 14.3% were factual, and only 6% sought answers.
This could indicate that political blogs, and blogging in general, are a modern type of soapbox, where enquiry and interaction are of less importance than furthering one’s views. This insight also indicates that there is a lot more work to be done in terms of politicians participating in online forums such as the blogosphere, rather than simply putting forward their own opinions for the public to read."
I guess Eva belongs to the minority (the 6 % who seeks answers), as her initial post states that "I hope you will find me here and give me ideas and comments on politics or anything." She ends the post with a question: Have you got any ideas to make Europe more interesting?
3 other weblogging Finnish politicians, Heidi Hautala, Anneli Jäätteenmäki and Rosa Meriläinen appear on the list of Finnish weblogs. These 3 women belong to those who express opinion and share experience. Or used to express, maybe I should add, as the weblogs haven't been updated for quite some time now.
And what's more, the important aspect of blogging - the possibility to post a comment - is not present in 2 of these 3 weblogs. Even though the posts contain political opinions, there's no possibilty to ask, argue against or develop the thoughts further in a comment. Neither do the blogs have any links or blogroll, which makes these weblogs mainly a form of self-expression, or a diary if you like. Heidi Hautala's readers do have a possibility to ask questions, and read the answers online, but these comments are not directly linked to posts in the weblog. There's an e-mail adress to Rosa Meriläinen at the bottom of the page, but no contact information is available in Anneli Jäätteenmäki's blog. It seems like enquiry and interaction is not top priority here. Neither is frequent updating.