Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Party Games Aftermath 3: Reflections

The initial idea for what became party games was an in depth comparison of the two major parties, comparing them on a number of policy areas with one post a week on a different area (so one post on the NBN, one on health, one on education, etc). The look at the minor parties was to be a side project. I can't quite recall exactly what changed my mind, but I think it was one of the announcements that the number of parties contesting the election (I recall a blog post by Antony Green with links to all the parties as a starting point).

My initial idea of waiting for responses from the parties before doing the write ups obviously was a non-starter. I was wildly optimistic on how responsive they would be. In fact the recurring theme of the project was a gradual disillusionment, interspersed with occasional positives.

The number of xenophobic right wing parties is worrying. Fortunately they seem less organized than the few on the left and centre. There's also a few that seem to be people who haven't thought through the whole political party thing, and only one of those had the self awareness to admit it (The 23 Million for the record).

The engagement of the parties with the people was a mixed bag. The smaller parties made better use of social media such as twitter, but the majors also had an active, although more one way presence. I won't comment on tv coverage, because my only tv sources were Media Watch, Gruen Nation, and The Hamster Decides. Most of my news on the campaign came from watching #auspol and #ausvotes on twitter. Both hashtags were quite busy.

One last disappointment, it turns out the Google Doodle shown on election day isn't unique. They have two different ones they use that they just swap the flags when they use them for different countries.

About a third of the way in, I started to realize just what I'd got myself into, but even though at times coming close to hating the project I kept slogging through (pre commitment to a full series helped with this). This was partly frustration with the subject matter, and partly time pressures (in the two weeks before the election it took up most of my free time). One thing that kept me going was the feedback from people, which was consistently positive, so thank you to all those who did give feedback. A curiosity was a friend who liked nearly every entry on facebook while taking a position of avoiding the election as much as possible to the point of reviewing a different movie each night. I hope I wasn't his only source of information (I'm pretty sure he would have done his due diligence before voting).

The series represents about 10% of the total all time traffic to my blog.

Will I do this next election? I'm not sure, but the odds are in its favour. I'll still be doing research on all the parties around then, but I don't know if I'll blog it all like this time. If I do I'll probably be a bit more organized about it, making sure I have more time. That also assumes a reasonably full term has passed. If Abbott tries to swing an early double dissolution, I will probably still be too over it to get motivated enough to do a full series.

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