Wednesday, October 24, 2007

House Call

Yesterday NPR did a story about Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt's Blog. In "Human Services Secretary Takes Blogging Seriously," Leavitt claims that reading and writing blog entries has changed his stand on some policy issues, although he was reluctant to specify which ones.

Leavitt obviously understands more about Internet communication than the creators of the truly terrible State Department blog. I like the fact that he doesn't moderate out well-reasoned and well-developed counterarguments and that he writes the posts himself and reflects on the activities of blogging. But I thought that there was certainly room for improvement in how he used this particular variant of the genre.

Given that the aim of his blogging is informational, I was surprised to see so few links to service-providers, sub-agencies, and primary sources. One particularly egregious instance of this failure to provide context through a link-back was Leavitt's posting that responded to a reader who was a critic of his anti-SCHIP legislative agenda without letting readers easily find the original source to judge for themselves.

He also doesn't use category tags in a very useful way or take advantage of the blogroll feature to show related discourses.

Obviously, mechanics aside, I found the heavy-handed emphasis on Reaganomics ideology hard to stomach for those who might not share Leavitt's values. For example, he closed his entry on a visit to the home of Microsoft giant Bill Gates, with pablum about the challenges of being wealthy for which the tens if not hundreds of millions who are uninsured or underinsured probably don't have much sympathy.

Life’s circumstance has provided the two of them with a remarkable opportunity and the heavy burden that accompanies it.

The stewardship of wealth is weighty. They carry it well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an inexperienced blogger, he did ask for feedback and suggestions. What might be a more useful way to use the categories (I am curious too)? Good point on linking to the original SCHIP comment, you should leave that suggestion on his blog- he seems very open to blogging suggestions.

12:53 PM  

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