Saturday, 25 April 2009

Propagation of nation specific internet memes

There's a petition currently running on the Number10 website calling for the Prime Minister to resign. Usually disagreeable petitions get rejected before they take root in the nation's consciousness, but this one has been accumulating signatures for over twenty four hours now.

Its mostly been the blogosphere driving it from what I gather, here are the times the politics blogs I've seen it posted on.
The Register - 24/04/09 12:01
Iain Dale - 24/04/09 16:42
Order-Order - 24/04/09 16:57
Raedwald - 24/04/09 17:41
NHS Blog Doctor - 24/04/09 22:14
Samizdata - 24/04/09 23:50
Charles Crawford - 25/04/09 09:30
Here's a graph of how the petition has accumulated signatures so far. The number on the petition website updates every half hour.

So, last night when the blogs were first mentioning it, there were about 500 new sigs per hour, and today its been a steady 170 per hour.

Its been doing the rounds on Twitter and facebook too, but with these things it drops off the bottom of the screen pretty quickly.

Uncle Guido reckons it'll keep going on Monday morning when people start emailing, but I'm skeptical. I've seen these petitions before, there's rarely a second act.

Charles Crawford notices...
What struck my eye was the list of the petitioners themselves. The latest five first names are Harriett, Stephen, Chris, David and Allan. And so on. And on. And on. All classic English names.

Among the first 500 names listed are only a handful (five or so?) that might be said to reflect, hem, the 'diversity of modern Britain' (ie having some sort of Asian/Middle Eastern/African/Islamic/Latin American/European resonance).
Is the British political blogosphere so unrepresentative of 'modern Britain'?

Maybe its just the demographics of people who sign petitions? Like how the demographics of people of go on protest marches

How to encourage a more diverse mix of people to sign it?

Is someone at Number10 actually going through the list of names and cross checking them with some other list of 'the usual suspects'?


  1. Is the British political blogosphere so unrepresentative of 'modern Britain'?I'd sat it's as much that the kind of people who want the current PM to resign are disproportionately Tories, hence disproportionately middle class whiteys.

  2. it was 10,058 when I signed it at around 9:30 last night!


    as of Wed

    Kalvis Jansons 22 October 2009 27331