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Best of the Web

I’ve started writing a column in the News Letter called ‘Best of the Web‘ – it’s simply on politics around the blogs in NI. The first is in today’s edition, and I’ve reproduced it below with all the links etc…

By Geoff McGimpsey

Arguably, you can blame Barack Obama for many things. Failing to be the unifying figure he pledged to be; failing to close Guantanamo within 12 months; failing to bring the public with him on health reform. You can also blame him for jolting political parties everywhere into greater use of social media (blogs, twitter, facebook, myspace etc).

Sure, before Obama, Northern Ireland had a lively fraternity of political geeks sharing information and gossip online. But after Obama, this underground activity has moved more and more into the mainstream. Hence this column!

With more bloggers and active consumers (check out the huge amount of nominations at this year’s Irish Blog Awards http://awards.ie/blogawards), and more political parties and individual politicians engaging more directly and personally, the web is an interesting place to be. And it’ll get more interesting the closer we get to elections. So I’m simply going to review what’s been happening on the blogs over the past week or so.

So here goes.

Well, brave new column – same old story! The UUP’s talent for self-destruction makes better soap opera than Corrie. Whereas Joe McIntyre’s unintended exit from life with Gail Platt was pretty sad, Sylvia Hermon’s somewhat more intentional departure from life with UCUNF made bloggers pretty darn excited.

Jeff Peel’s Diary (http://jeffpeel.net/2010/02/24/lady-hermon-to-stand-for-labour) is ecstatic at the possibility of Sylvia running under the Labour banner. He thinks a Labour / Tory head-to-head would represent the kind of ‘real democratic politics’ you’d expect to find anywhere else in the UK. A Pint of Unionist Lite (http://unionistlite.blogspot.com/2010/02/labour-v-conservatives-and-unionists-in.html) and Three Thousand Versts of Loneliness (http://threethousandversts.blogspot.com/2010/02/tory-vs-labour-dust-up-in-north-down.html) share the excitement (albeit all three would probably like to see Sylvia help create normal politics… then just get lost).

Excitement among selected UCUNF nominees was palpable – and thankfully the micro-blogging site twitter comes with an inexhaustible supply of exclamation marks. UCUNF candidate for West Tyrone Sandra Overend (@sandrago) tweeted:

just been ratified by UUP Party Exec 2 b the Mid-Ulster candidate 4 the Ulster Conservatives & Unionists! Woo hoo! Exciting campaign ahead!!

Woo hoo indeed!! Best of luck Sandra!!!!

And what about this… top BBC broadcaster accuses Unionist MLA of talking nonsense shocker!

Lots of twitter users who clicked the link behind the ‘This you??’ DM this week have had their accounts hacked. Sadly the PUP leader (@dawnpurvis) fell victim to the hack and immediately alerted all her followers to the danger. Very public spirited! As she explained to @StephenNolan, the hack:

starts sending nonsense tweets to your followers so don’t click on the link

Nolan replied:

how will your regular followers tell the difference between the spam nonesense tweets and your …..only joking ! Lol

Just so.

If you want to discuss any issues raised in this column, post a comment or email me at openunionism@googlemail.com or follow us on twitter @openunionism

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