Irish election

The impact of blogs on the Irish election has piece about the impact of the Internet and blogs on the Irish election.

From the

FOR those on the outside looking in, dismissing as minuscule the impact of the internet and blogs in particular on the election is the easy option.

This, after all, was to be the campaign when blogging was to make a real push towards the mainstream, and when Irish politics embraced the internet to energise interest.

Yet, at first glance, it is difficult to argue that either happened.

Instead, the generally held view of bloggers being political anoraks or, worse, cranks, peddling their particular party line or trying to bulldoze you into submission with a raft of obscure 'facts' and ideology has possibly taken even firmer root.

And any attempt by the political parties to use the internet to their advantage tended to be in the form of YouTube videos that were largely only viewed for their 'cringe' factor.

But for those on the inside looking out, the picture is somewhat different.

"One of the reasons it's very hard to gauge the effect of the blogosphere is because the biggest consumers are journalists and they are also the ones least likely to acknowledge the fact that they use it, day in, day out," Mark Fealty from the political site Slugger O'Toole claimed yesterday.

On sites such as, party insiders and political junkies vie to prove their greater knowledge of the Irish political scene, their greater grasp of political ideology and their possession of more and juicier gossip.

But journalists and other commentators - their identities often masked by obscure user names - are increasingly using these sites and blogs as a generous resource, trawling for opinion and more offbeat stories.

"Of late I think that a lot of stuff that is discussed in blogs or found on the net and first discussed in blogs is finding its way into the newspapers," Damien Mulley of agreed yesterday.

"It's influencing the influencers if you like - political journalists are keeping a close eye on the area.

It clearly seems to be a consensus about the fact that bloggers are influencing the influencers.