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Blogs as Consultation – Are blogs just a passing fad or can they be useful for consultation?

The practice of publishing web logs or blogs is one of the most rapidly expanding phenomena of the new technology age. Stated simply it refers to individuals publishing their reflections on the web, usually as a kind of online diary.

Estimates of numbers vary widely, but one source quotes 15,000 new blogs being written every day – how many are actually read is another matter. The question is whether these are just another form of vanity publishing or can they, inter alia, perform a useful function in stimulating debate on issues of significance?

Consider these three scenarios:-

One: a Government Minister uses a blog to outline his or her thinking about emerging issues. It acts as a means of putting across thought starters or even serious policy kite flying; imagine Tony Benn’s diaries, or a carefully selected part of them, appearing in real-time. The trouble with this, of course, is that being on message is critical, and the only viewpoints allowable on a ministerial blog might be those that are carefully vetted by the house PR team, and probably ghost-written by a spin-doctor.


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About the Author

Rhion Jones is considered a leading authority on Public Engagement and Consultation. A founding Director of the Consultation Institute, he is co-author of “The Art of Consultation” (2009) and “The Politics of Consultation” (2018). He has delivered over 500 training courses and Masterclasses and is a prolific writer on the subject, having written over 350 different Topic papers and over 50 full Briefing Papers for the Institute. Since 2003 over 15,000 person-days of training based on courses he invented have been delivered. Rhion is in demand as an entertaining Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser, particularly on the Law of Consultation, and its implications for Government and other Public Bodies. In 2017, he was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

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