New York Fed enters the blogosphere

Regional Fed’s research and statistics group project aims for “direct dialogue” with web users
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The New York Federal Reserve on Monday became the latest regional Federal Reserve to launch a blog.

The regional Fed's blog, Liberty Street Economics, will comment on current economic topics, including macroeconomics, finance and trends in the regional economy. The first post on the site, by economists Meta Brown, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee and Wilbert van der Klaauw, looks at consumer deleveraging, noting that by 2009 consumers were diverting $150 billion away from potential spending in order to reduce the debts they had built up.

The blog has been developed and managed by the regional Fed's research and statistics group, members of which will post each week. The New York Fed said the blog offered "a platform for members of the New York Fed's research and statistics group to share their individual analysis and insight on current issues and to engage in a direct dialogue with a broad online audience".

However, its success in fostering such engagement may prove limited. "The history of in-house blogs is not a happy one, especially if the organisation is hoping to get feedback and conversation. But it may get going, and even if it doesn't, blogs can still be a good way to put out informal thoughts that you wouldn't think of putting on an official site," David Bowen, a senior consultant for Bowen Craggs, a company specialising in web effectiveness, told CentralBanking.com.

"My instinct is to wait and see if it gets momentum. It's very difficult to know whether it will but at least it's on the right side of the Atlantic," Bowen added. "The real issue is whether it appeals to a community of economists, which in turn depends on whether it offers them something new, how respected the NY Fed contributors are, whether economists are the sort of people who like talking online and so on, which is more to do with social anthropology than anything else."

New York is not the first regional Fed to enter the blogosphere. The Atlanta Fed already has four blogs: macroblog, South Point, Real Estate Research, and Portals and Rails.

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