Over the last week or so I have seriously considered walking away from Kiwiblog. While some will take huge pleasure in what has happened, let me say that it is genuinely traumatic to have hacked e-mails to and from yourself (even if you were not the one hacked) floating around, and to also realise that because you are a blogger and pollster, it means you and your office is fair game. One of the worst moments was having a senior staff member of mine, who is also a very good friend, tell me that she had been worried that I might think she was the leak, as our politics are different. I hate the impact this is having on so many people.
Some of the revelations coming out, also do not show aspects of the blogosphere in a good light (to put it mildly) and I’ve thought quite a bit about how this impacts the wider blogosphere.
I don’t believe that the book shows me having acted in any way inappropriately. I have gone out of my way to be open about my background and leanings and relationships, and I follow my own views when I blog – hence why I campaigned against the Government last year on the copper tax (despite being a Chorus shareholder!). I never have taken any form of money or kind for blog posts, and disclose even the mist minor gifts.
There is part of me that wants to walk away so I am no longer a target. Politics is far less important to me than family and friends. I’ve also considered whether to do what Cameron often calls me, and become a travel and arts blogger, and have less or almost no focus on politics. But the trouble is the blog for me is an outlet on what I think – what I like, what annoys me, what amuses me, what appals me. And I can’t imagine it can function as that, if I try and avoid politics. I do genuinely blog because I like having my say – that is my primary motivation.
Also I do like to think, without being immodest, that I do make good contributions to politics in NZ. I can data crunch, I have a 20+ year history of political knowledge which can put things in context, I have good relationships, and I generally get good feedback on my commentary in the mainstream media. I’m far far from irreplaceable, but there are not that many people who have the time, skills and employment situation that allows them to substantively blog.
So after some reflection, I have decided to carry on, but to make some changes. I want to improve trust in myself, Kiwiblog, and perhaps the wider blogosphere. So I’ve decided on the following.
You can read about the changes DPF is proposing to make to Kiwiblog here. He's obviously given this considerable thought before blogging his thoughts; the cyber-equivalent of putting pen to paper, we suppose.
We've been doing our share of thinking over the last few days as well. We've often said that actions have consequences, and we're reflecting on that at the moment. Where that takes us is yet to be decided.
It would be easy to walk away, and delete the blog and the seven years of effort that have gone into it. Whether or not that is the right thing to do however is one of the things we are reflecting on. It would be the path of least resistance, but that doesn't make it the right decision.
After the meeting we had yesterday, we have work coming out our ears. At times we have put blogging ahead of work, which isn't a good strategy. Our focus this week is going to be where it needs to be, and that may not be the blogosphere!
We'll still be blogging, but it's not going to be our first priority when we stagger out to the lounge in the morning, and our blogging will not be as frequent. And to be fair, we may even discover that there's more to life than trying to have an opinion about everything!
As we flew back from Christchurch late yesterday afternoon the views along the Kaikoura coastline and mountains and of the Marlborough Sounds were stunning. But they were also a reminder of how insular one can become. That's definitely food for thought...