Thursday, 29 October 2009

Positive blogging, the future, and the one missing fact

Discussing with a fellow euroblogger yesterday about life and blogging, and thinking about a recent post of mine that I ended with the call to send in critical details about the politician I was writing about, I realised why it is rare that I write rather positive blog posts.

When I write about something that is positive I always have doubts that I missed a detail, that I didn't research hard enough to get the full picture of the story. I look for it, trying to find both sides of the story, but there is nothing, at least nothing I can find. And then the doubts start whether this is a good or a bad sign.

When I come across a negative detail, it is pretty clear that it is negative and that I should write about it. But does finding a positive detail mean that it is really positive? I suppose that this is the old scientific debate between verification and falsification. But it impacts the way I write, because positive accounts of what is happening in the EU are not written as natural as negative ones - not because I don't see them but because I am not sure about them.

And there is a second problem with positive blogging: The future.

Writing about someone or something who/that looks good today might turn out negative in the future (like idols becoming dopers, good leaders turning out to be corrupt, a good bill in one policy having a negative impact in another). So even when you think that you have researched hard enough you are not sure whether the picture you paint today will hold in the future - and whether you aren't contributing to praising something that is actually harmful.

If you think about it, it happens far more often that something that was called positive in the past is seen very negatively in the future, while it occurs rather seldom that a negative issue in the past will be redefined as positive later on.

Positive blogging is thus more risky than negative blogging, it involves more insecurity, and I suppose that this leads to a certain style characterising most of the political blogosphere - which in the end is still not that bad in a world filled with way to many yeasayers...


Maël said...

Also, there's the classic journalistic moto "bad news is good news, good news is bad news" : people are simply not interested in hearing that everything is going well. We want outrage, we want blood and disgrace!
I'm not sure I see your point about the future though. Imo, political blogging is all about actuality and immediacy. Who cares if something you reported as positive turns out to be negative some time later? For one, it's unlikely anybody will remember your point of view on the matter, as they will have turned their eyes to something else. Secondly, no one will blame you for changing your position based on a reconsideration of the facts : I think we actually like to see that our favorite bloggers can get it wrong, it puts things in perspective.

That being said, I agree with you : "positive blogging" is much harder than "negative" one, for a same level of quality. It requires you to have a comprehensive overview of the subject your are dealing with, whilst with "negative blogging" you can just focus on a narrow problem.

Eurosocialiste said...

For some reason, it's much easier to criticise than to be positive about something. I try my best to be positive in my blogging, and that's true that it can be hard! I think it's the same issue when it comes to choosing to be politically engaged. It's much easier to be a commentator of political affairs rather than choosing to take your card in a party. I think although criticism is healthy and absolutely necessary, it is also important to recognise positive actions from time to time.