Echo Chamber

One of the background reasons for quitting a few months ago was the realisation that TuS was no more popular in 2022 than it had been in 2018. Though more than 6 000 followed it on Twitter, very few shared the posts and even fewer accessed the full text in the blog. Typically, 1 to 2 000 visit the blog each day and judging by the comments it’s largely the same people – the already converted?

What can we do?



31 thoughts on “Echo Chamber

  1. I frequently signpost others to your blog, John, so important do I consider it. If I could make one observation, it’s that at times there are too many articles issued each day. I would frequently just read the email headline and truncated opening paragraph. It was usually all I needed to confirm what we already know and despise about the media. So my suggestion would be to limit yourself to one or two major articles each day, based on the most potent examples of your observations and analysis.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Hi John,
    I sympathise with your quandary about the echo chamber effect. It’s probably true of a lot of independence events, blogs, etc. At least in the first instance.

    For example, I’ve used your blog a lot as a resource when I want to polish up my knowledge about a particular issue – NHS stats is an example where I’ve done that. I’m sure I’m not the only person to do that.

    I’d be very sorry if you decide to stop posting.
    Kind regards.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Hi John, we’re pleased you’re back.
    Your posts are shared regular to the political site I’m Admin of Pro-SNP/Indy a “Private” Group on Facebook with 9,600 members and growing. So these viewers won’t register with WordPress.
    Wordpress are not doing either yourself or Paul “Wee Ginger Dug” Kavanagh any favours on sharing posts as they recently stopped providing a direct share link from emails which is surmountable by tweaking but slightly irritating. No idea why they took this share facility away

    Liked by 6 people

  4. It must seem disheartening at times but for me you provided useful info, had interesting guest posts and a safe place for twitter shy folk to share their thoughts. Yes there is an element of preaching to the converted but your info provides us with facts, figures and ideas to take with us to discussions with others. It would be pointless me retweeting links as I have only about 8 followers, mostly family, but I do share links to posts to friends and occasionally in replies to tweets by conservative politicians. I also have included at least one link every time I email my local (tory) MP in the hope he might do a bit of wider reading, but not too hopeful about that!

    I hope you continue, as I say I find it a safe place to share views but I don’t always have time to read every article. I’m still working and spend more than enough time in front of a computer as it is and somedays just can’t face reading anything more. Cutting down on posts as Geordie says might work better for you but I don’t think there is anything wrong in building a small following rather than huge sprawling sites which eventually implode as voices get shouted out or scared away. Depends I suppose if you would like to be a bigger player in the indy field but you’ve shown more stamina than many. I used to follow 5- 10 blogs in the run up to 2014 and you and wee ginger dog are all that is left.

    Liked by 10 people

  5. I value your work as it keeps me well informed. So I can shue my point from a knowledgeable position.
    I do not share your posts as often as I don’t want to bore my friends with my views to the point where I put them off reading your content

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I’m not great for leaving comments on here- I tend to do that when sharing (usually via Twitter).
    The value of this resource for us is hard to define- the research is already done and we need do is read, hopefully take it in, then share.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. The converted need facts, figures and morale boosting stats to counter the negativity and lies from the unionist media and the “national broadcaster!” I really missed you when you stopped but understood your reasoning for doing so. It is unrelenting and can be discouraging. I always retweet your posts, as I do those from Gordon McIntyre Kemp. I think you should be offered a post at The National as a rebuttal service. It does help to have facts on our side. Please don’t give up! We need you!

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Your contribution is extremely valuable, John. I have 24,000 followers on Twitter are routinely tweet your insights. They are often followed up and re-tweeted to God alone knows how many people. I admit it’s a gamble but from time to time your work will be read by many, many thousands of people – and many of these will either be educated while already endorsing your views – or will have their mind changed by your arguments. And in addition you must annoy the fuck out of the BBC, the Scottish broadsheets and Unionists in general – always a good thing, in my view.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. No real answer, John, but as Hollywood always knew–any publicity is GOOD publicity, so get your “name” in the MSM by……………………………..

    Being controversial
    Tell us the truth about the b’stards.
    There is always political gossip out there, so find a reliable source at Westminster or Holyrood, and tell us the stuff we cannot read in the MSM. A Scottish online Private Eye.
    Name names if you can prove it, and drop hints if you cannot.

    Be even more radical.
    Republican (like me) and publicly advocate social unrest (not violence) if the “ballot box” route to independence is deemed out of bounds for Scots by Westminster/Supreme Court.

    Make a noise, a fuss, a stushie, but dont end up in the pokey.
    We need you FREE and LOUD!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi John. Your research and published results are invaluable. I have absolutely no doubt they are ‘pinched and published’ by other resources. As is well quoted, ‘We need you’!
    As Ann B says, the family and friends all know how we feel. I share my TuS education out and about, whenever the opportunity arises. Best blog around lad.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think there might be something else happening today that is distracting people for the moment.

      It is really good to have you back but as I said in another pace yourself possibly, as someone above suggested by doing fewer, but still important, posts each day

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Twitter is now under the the control of Musk… A lot of Nationalist feeds got throttled from 2013 onwards…
    Musk wants to publish the algorithms and ban the bots… we will see!
    It will be interesting to see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Don’t get downhearted. As other folk above have said, we value your posts greatly and I certainly take time to read every one.
    I’m not on Twitter as I couldn’t be doing with all that carryon but I’ve often got very helpful statistics from your posts which I’ve used when on a Pensioners for Independence street stall, talking with the naysayers or with a switherer.
    You also boost morale among your Yes-supporting readers and until I started on the stall, I hadn’t realised how important that was. Folk often say it’s good to see us out campaigning and even though I might feel some days we’re not exactly setting the heather on fire, if we’re there with our flags, banners and leaflets we’re showing that the Yes campaign is alive and well.
    The other thing I’ve learned to enjoy is that we annoy the hell out of some No-voters; I love to see a sorrowful shake of the head from a passer-by or even better, a full body shudder as they go past the stall.
    So you’re doing the same good work but with a much wider reach so please, please “do not weary in well doing”.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. John
    I share your posts regularly on my fb feed, and share them to groups.
    After reading I share posts that I feel may equip people to rebuff unionist propaganda .
    The quandary as to why there isn’t further spread and sharing of your posts is an eternal issue, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink.
    It’s a frustration for me. But we must keep on trucking.
    I’m greatly encouraged by the council election results. The Tory unionist vote has been ‘re shared to labour, lib dems ,and they’re both claiming progress. But in reality they know that they have a limited unionist vote. Meanwhile Indy declared parties have genuinely increased their share.
    It’s all good.
    You’re work is paying dividends, even if it’s not immediately apparent .

    Liked by 3 people

  14. John, I can only imagine what it took out of you to debunk the endless daily stream of unionist misinformation, especially when the SNP did not. If, as and when Nicola calls Indy2, will be the time to get back in the fight. Here’s hoping that will be soon. Please don’t burn yourself out fighting till then. All the best. Bill

    Liked by 3 people

  15. As a rebuttal service, second to none with street cred. You have no idea just how often your info is brought up in conversation. Your a persona non grata as far as places like FB are concerned, can’t remember the last time you appeared there and I think that’s indicative of how politically biased they are and what a thorn you are to the state funded media, which is actually all of it with the tax breaks given to these organisations.
    I would go for 1 or maybe 2 articles a week that dealt with the worst media outrages with the comments left open. People will keep coming back to pick up on new comments and links.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. John, just come across this – busy day.
    You know how much you sound like me? I share your frustration. But I think, having considered this a wee bit that there are a couple of things our frustration must be set against.
    It’s not surprising your “readership” on Twitter is higher than for this site. The Daily Record has a higher readership than (say) the Herald for a reason – not everyone wants a long read, particularly about a political point of which they know little.
    Secondly, the influence of anything on the net that is read by at least one person goes further than that single person, for it influences them and their interaction with others. It’s a bit like what is the readership of Metro – it’s not just the number of papers, but how many are left on trains or buses and maybe read several times.
    Thirdly, you arent going to win a subsequent indy ref on your own John. Each of us are like little ants beavering away, hoping the big ant (Nicola) will finally push the button and we can spring into action. We each of us make our own contribution in our own way, however small it is – and that could just be persuading even a single wavering No voter to either abstain or even vote Yes.
    This leads to the next point – the indy blogosphere is a competitive place, but also somewhat conflicted. The big cheese in Bath has spontaneously combusted in the great ball of bitterness that some forecast. His occasional sparing partner – though Stew seldom recognised an equal (as you know, I think) – has gone off supporting Alba, and while he still does a service with his psephology (though he is no John Cairns), his significance is exaggerated imo.
    None of that really addresses your point though, does it – more about expectation though I think these things are important.
    I understand your frustration, but as all the posts from others make clear you do have influence in a crowded market place, so while I understand your sense of frustration I think it is, to some extent misplaced. There are, for instance, other ways your arguments influence the public domain without someone visiting your website (eg copy and paste to put on FB page or send to others).
    However, let’s get the bull by the horns. I never taught Marketing at the University – not enough intellectual content (ha ha), but your issue is more readership. Unless you are the kind of self publicist exemplified by Kelly or (especially) Campbell, it will have to be on the strength of the website and it’s reach to others.
    The website is already very strong – see comments by others – but can it be made stronger. Stewartb and I pile in with extended pieces every now and again. Can others be persuaded to do the same thing? For instance how often do folk send letters to the Herald and they never see the light of day? It’s happened to me several times – particularly irked about the one about testing capacity early in the pandemic (in fact I have just written one to our local paper about Baillie saying the same thing as Sarwar – was looking for an email address and found I had sent them the same letter in October and they didnt publish it either – might be luckier this time but not breath holding) Different readers are looking for different things – some want the wee short piece that tells them what they want to know without embellishment or background, while others (not as many) want the whole thing and arent happy without the background, the logic, the sources etc. John it’s your website, but you dont have to do it all (and even now you havent) – look to delegate some more, which will be good for you and the site imo.
    Secondly to see John Robertson’s site you need to come by it (or read his twitter account). It has always seemed to me that the indy movement had a need for a website for all indy bloggers, where we could put short introductions to a piece along with a link. A sort of indy supermarket website. I dont know how you get to this. I was having an online conversation with to someone else about this and he suggested Business for Scotland, as they have loads of stuff, but the same problem as us all. Would a single site that directed you to those things you found interesting, not be an asset.
    Anyway, chin up mon brave. Left foot forward. Now the right, Then the left again, then the ………

    Liked by 2 people

    1. soccerdock said:

      “Secondly to see John Robertson’s site you need to come by it (or read his twitter account). It has always seemed to me that the indy movement had a need for a website for all indy bloggers, where we could put short introductions to a piece along with a link. A sort of indy supermarket website. I dont know how you get to this.”

      I would suggest that a site that approximates to matching that description is

      Voices for Independence

      I don’t recall having seen any of Johns recent articles linked on there so perhaps that would be worth looking in to?

      p.s. Glad you are back. Please take it easy this time, at least until this ‘phoney war’ period moves on somewhat towards some kind of progress!



  17. oh and btw, it will always tend to be the already converted that is why back in the day each of us read a particular newspaper. You must remember the old gag that the Times was read by the people who ran the Empire, the Torygraph by the people who think we should still have an Empire, the Daily Mail by the people who think we still have an Empire, and the Sun by people who dont care who runs the Empire as long as she has big tits. People read very often to confirm what they think.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I agree with suggestion of maybe a couple of articles a week. There have been times when so many notifications from you arrived in my mailbox over a few days that most of them got deleted without being opened. Fewer would be better. Choose what interests you most. Or choose the worst examples. Might lead to a less hectic week for you too!


  19. I share your posts every time and was gutted when I thought you had given up.
    You are the best source of debunking on social media.
    Lang May yer lum reek John

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I’ve been away for a couple of days, hence the late response. Having read the comments above, I’ll just highlight the bits I relate to:
    1) I’m not on Twitter and follow no political sites on FB
    2) I found your blog via a recommendation in the Grauniad and have been known to recommend it to others the same way. Ditto Believe in Scotland.
    3) I use the facts I find here in ordinary conversation as it arises (often on the allotment, which shows up nowhere but still counts!)

    4) I don’t mind lots of posts, because I feel I need to learn more than most on here BUT
    5) to prevent burn out I’d suggest maybe 1 or 2 posts you feel strongly about and maybe ask for long reads from, eg stewartb and soccerdoc?
    6) I DEFINITELY agree you ought to write for the National – if James Kelly can, you certainly should – and you cover areas that people like Richard Murphy don’t. If not articles, how about their Fact Check bit?

    As a self-confessed ignoramus, who tends to give people the benefit of the doubt for far too long, I’ve missed your blog and am glad you’re back. But, as others have said, don’t risk burn out by trying to do it all yourself. Your debunking is going to be needed very shortly, I think

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Firstly John please do not get disheartened you will be surprised how far your reach and influence extends beyond these pages. As many have already said here they use the info to counter all the negativity/distortions/lies that spew from Unionists. I’m not politically/media savvy enough to advise how to develop TUS going forward to broaden its appeal but please do not stop your contribution is invaluable. That said if you feel the lack of funding is restricting your ambitions then I for one are more than ready to contribute.


  22. My deepest apologies John, I am a regular reader but have never commented.
    I do value your articles greatly and use them to counter the tired ‘education/ hospitals/ Scotland’ is failing schtick from yoons I encounter. Very pleased to have you back in the game👍


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