Stephen Waddington has put together a useful collection of articles, The Business of Blogging, in which people who regular comment about communications consider its contribution and relevance.
I was flattered to be involved, but also a little uneasy. I think it is quite difficult to asses the impact of blogs when the form is so difficult to define. Judy Gombita talks of "long form" blogging platforms, I talk vaguely of of "pure" blogging - and Richard Bailey wants us to stop using "blogging" at all, preferring "personal publisihing." We are all trying to talk to about posts that take a little bit of thought, and are probably several paragraphs long.
The contributors all have blogs, and see them as part of their work. They show some of the author's personality, but in a professional context. They read, review and edit their contributions, not least because they are expected to be a significant factor in their online reputation. At the same time, many write positively about the benefits of blogging as a way of thinking out loud, of focusing and refining thoughts.
A harsh criticism of the essays would be that they the self-reinforcing thoughts of a small group of people who are pretty much chatting amongst themselves.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Social media and online communications have radically changed the way most of communicate, and find out about the world, so it is not in the least surprising that the evolution of the public relations discipline has been, in part, negotiated on blogs.
It is splendid that we can all join and contribute to loose communities of people with similar interests, all over the world, but very difficult to say anything meaningful about a medium that ranges from corporate blogs representing Fortune 500 companies through to Mediations.