Questions on Blogs, and Do They Represent the Voice of the Common People?
Q.Why does your blog attract so few comments?
A.Thank you for your questions. I’m quite pleased with the number and quality of comments although I’d like to see more on the main issues. Many people prefer to make short, quickly written comment on the “juicy” stories. More considered comments take time to write.
Q. Is it because you receive less visitors than the anti-Frank blogs?
A. I have less than one-fifth of the readers of Coup 4.5 but I’m reasonably happy with 35,585 visits last month.
Q. Is it because visitors agree with what you say and see no need to comment, or do they disagree and refuse to waste their breath?
A. There’s no way of knowing but I think people read the blogs that are closest to their way of thinking. Traffic sources shown that many people read Fiji Today (a usually balanced anti-Government blog) and my blog. I think many of my readers also read Fiji Today. None of my visitors visit directly from Coup4.5 which is probably the most unbalanced and unreliable anti- blog.
Q. What percentage of comments do you delete?
A. Between 5-10%, for the obvious reasons.
Q. Do most people who visit blogs live overseas?
A. For my blog, comparing the World with Fiji, yes, but Fiji leads individual countries. Last month’s figures were: Fiji 9,587 , Australia 8,349, NZ 5,352, USA 3,970, UK 1,296 with smaller figures from other countries. I think many overseas readers are Fiji emigrants or people with close links to Fiji.
Q. Does this mean the voice of the common person in Fiji has not been heard in the blogs, and if so how can the anti-Frank camp or you say what is happening?
A. We can’t know what the common person thinks, and we are likely to be informed by those who share our opinions. It is very difficult to determine the value of information and present what one hopes is overall balance in a blog.
Q. People in Fiji know their views will be censored. They can't say anything against the current powers-that-be. How then can we trust what people there tell us, particularly when we Fijians have a tendency to tell you what we think you want to hear?
A. This is a very good question with no simple answer but if the ‘common people’ tell no one what they really think, there’s little point in asking that their voices be heard. Historically, ethnic Fijian society has been conditioned to allow others to speak for the common people. Hopefully, this is now changing. because if it’s not, even voting is a sham.
You did not mention the other ethnic groups that represent over 40% of the population. For many of them, individualism is more evidence and they are more likely to say what they are thinking, censorship apart, of course. But I think most ‘common people,’ irrespective of ethnicity, are concerned mainly about their everyday lives and are not too worried about politics or censorship. These are the concerns of the ‘middle classes.’
* I have slightly compacted the questions to save space. Your opinions are important. Please comment on this posting.