Hard to believe, but my persistent obsession with my own traffic has led me to a new hypothesis today.
I hypothesize the rise to prominence of the political blog in Singapore. Mr Brown, Mr Wang, Tomorrow.Sg et al, (i dun read alot of local political blogs) all appear to garner decent following by critiquing local political developments, particularly in today's election climate. My posts have experienced traffic spikes whenever I remotely have political jibes inside and it is a prevalent trend that I pick up new readers whenever I blog about politics, a rare occurrence that simulataneously explains both my turtle-paced traffic growth and short-lived traffic spikes.
What does this trend portend? I see it as a natural progression and maturing of the local blogging circle. After all, if anyone tracked the popularity of Technorati during its nascent stages, blogs on politics and technology formed the twin pillars that propelled the growth and adoption of its search engine. Whereas Singapore blogosphere does not have technology blogs as the other pillar to bolster its growth, in its place, we had Xiaxue/DawnYeo/DaphneTeo to liven up the blogosphere while the mainstream bloggers figured out the learning curve via the political route.
Now, with political blogs, we might see the advent of a new dawn for the SIngaporean blogosphere, where a major proportion of young Singaporeans (that account for roughly 30-40% of Singapore's electorate, according to LKY) have their eyes and mind trained on.
Which also brings me to the point of the "walled-garden" approach of the ruling Administration on the podcasting ban for the upcoming elections. Such bans might have been intended to clip the wings of the more internet-oriented strategies of the political opposition (perhaps taking a leaf out of Howard Dean's success in online political rallying during the US Presidential Elections?), but its symbolises a slap in the face for the more tech-savvy youths of Singapore, the so-called "apathetic" bunch of people a new liberalized and politically-inclusive Singapore was supposed to reach out to. Whats there to fear from the Opposition even if they have podcasts? They can't even get their own ship in order and come on, potential podcast listeners are most likely to be highly well-read netizens of divergent political views readily available on the web. You think they are dumb enough to believe and lap up every single morsel of criticism from the Opposition?
Rather, the Administration should have looked towards the future benefits of a more liberal internet policy. Increasing access to political views via the convenient Internet pipeline to the hearts of Spore youths is a long-term strategy that will reap returns in the next series of elections over the next decade. Although podcasts might seem inconsequential in the overall array of internet communication tools available, the current ban heralds narrow-mindedness and petty politicking that will not go down well with the online community. I understand the lack of policing and controls on the internet might have contributed to such a conservative policy, but hey, if the incumbent political party leave all the innovating to the opposition, history tells us the more creative underdogs will save the day eventually.
There's a disconnect somewhere. I think we have reached a watershed for local political devt currently because the timing could not have been more opportune after the made-for-TV interview of LKY vs Young Sporeans. Vivian Balakrishnan should now shoulder the burden of mustering his team and pondering how to generate political goodwill amongst the young, internet-savvy generation of Singapore.