The Policy Cognologist also maintains a European policy blog, Euro-Sante/Euro-Health. Waggener-Edstrom Worldwide conducted a study of the most influential policy oriented blogs in Europe and I am delighted that my blog was rated amongst the most influential specialist blogs.
There is also activity on Twitter about the influence of the blogs in the study in the EU at #bbs10. You can also request a copy of the report with ratings of all the blogs, specialist and general at Waggener-Edstrom.
The report makes for interesting reading. One observation is the relative greater influence of generalist policy blogs over specialist ones; the highest rated is written by someone from the BBC. Others by folk with less illustrious affiliations, but no less important things to say.
I am pleased though to be counted amongst such company.
Overall, the blogs represent efforts by many people across Europe to put ideas forward with varying degrees of success or recognition. The world wide web creates amazing opportunities for fresh ideas to be presented in easy and accessible forms. Blogs can be updated quickly and with RSS feeds, interested individuals can receive notifications of new posts. Whether internet search engines effectively identify blog entries is another matter. Blogs operate in the real world in real time and with rankings such as Waggener-Edstrom’s, the task is much easier for bloggers with important things to say to be heard.
On a cautionary note, policy processes within the EU and government depend on having accessing to fresh ideas and knowledgable people. But in my experience, they can fail to engage with emerging influencers, as well as with individuals who lack official, recognised or organisational positions to give them ‘organisational cover’ as it were. Influence and quality of thinking depends more on the cogency of the writer’s knowledge and ability to craft succinct argument, than the reputation of their employer (and perhaps the EU puts too much emphasis on the latter).