I write this blog because I enjoy doing so. At times thinking of something original to post can be a challenge, especially if all I have done that day is mail merge pledge letters or organise the summer raffle. Such is the life of a political agent. Most bloggers have free run of the day's news; I don't have that luxury. I am an apparatchik. "Tory agent agrees with government" is hardly blogworthy. "Tory agent disagrees with government" will get my into all sorts of trouble.
According to the analytics page, I have around 200 readers a day, and I suspect I know most of them by first name. A couple of our local councillors admit to reading the blog if they are coming into the office "just in case I ask them questions about it!" Although on occasion I am surprised by who does read my posts. One local MP got in touch a few weeks ago to ask if I could send a link to an article I had written to a senior SpAd, and junior member of the government asked his secretary to call to ask if he could quote something I had written in a speech he was delivering in his constituency.
My blog is linked to a gmail account specially set up for this purpose, and that account feeds to my Blackberry. New comments posted on my blog come through to my BB as an email. At 10.30pm last night it started to ping. I usually get two or three comments a week, so to have three in a short time indicated something might be "happening". Experience has taught me to be nervous and suspicious of such occurrences as four years ago I received lots of traffic, only to discover that it was being directed via Iain Dale's Dairy. Sadly he had referred to me as a "prat" having disagreed with something I had written, and to prove his point he posted a link.
I logged onto blogger to see what was happening. My hit counter, which had been hovering just below 200 for most of the day, had spiked to 1800 and was to rise to over 3000 by midnight. A bit of research soon showed why: Tim Montgomerie had picked up on my blog about the demise of the voluntary party contributing to our poor result at Eastleigh and he had posted a link to it on his Twitter account. This in turn fed onto Con Home. It was picked up by other high-rating bloggers, such as Political Betting, Archbishop Cranmer and Iain Dale who also linked to it. By noon today over 5,000 people had read my 2am ramblings on the rise and fall of Conservatism in Eastleigh. My 15 minutes of fame had just begun.
|Bumping along - until Tim Montgomerie gave me a plug!|
Several people left comments, some supportive, others not. Someone asked for a personal email address as he wanted to send me something of importance. I obliged and gave him a spare email address I keep for public use. Twenty minutes later I received an email with a Word attachment - it was a cut and paste of my blogpost, with two spelling error corrected! How odd that at midnight a complete stranger should have the time, energy and inclination to bother! Then someone posted a message to inform me that I had two misplaced apostrophes. This was followed by someone else correcting the grammar and syntax in an earlier comment left by a UKIP supporter. Suddenly, what I thought was a fair and balanced blogpost about Eastleigh had been hijacked by grammar fascists.
Someone then sent me a message on Facebook to say I should be working at CCHQ. I thanked him for his generosity but declined! Someone emailed me to ask if I would address their Executive Council on building membership. I accepted. Then another message asking if I would address their Political Discussion Group, but given this Association was 325 miles away, I declined that one too. All through today friends and colleagues have been emailing, texting and phoning to share their own thoughts.
The last 24 hours have been interesting, amusing, flattering but also quite daunting. Tomorrow I will post something anodyne about how many copies per minute the new office printer can produce. That will scare-off any new readers, and I can return to my 200 loyal followers, safe in the knowledge my 15 minutes of fame is over.