Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Are Blogs a Fad?: Over at Hill & Knowlton’s blogging community, Darren Leroux recounts a conversation I’m sure most of us have had with colleagues or clients “about the ‘fad’ factor that continues to linger on in my head. The discussion we had focused around the early mass-popularity of the Internet, when everyone and their mother were creating personal Web pages…. It didn’t last. These personal sites were abandoned as the novelty of it wore off….

“Which brings us to today—I can’t help wonder if blogging is following this same trend. Inevitably, millions of voices will grow quiet as the novelty wears off.”

This seems to me to be one of those discussion—along with the “most blogs are just shrill egotistical garbage” that misses the point. Yes, most political blogs consist of little more than partisan supporters spewing rhetoric. Yes, most blogs of all kinds will fail to create anything by way of a community. Yes, the majority of bloggers will one day grow tired or bored and their blogs will fail.

So what?

No one is suggesting that PR people reach out to every blog. But there are a handful of blogs in every space—politics, sport, technology, marketing, PR—that have already established themselves as trusted sources of information, that have established communities of like-minded individuals, that already enjoy influence as real as any mainstream magazine.

Identifying those blogs, knowing the difference between them and their soon-to-be-defunct rivals is one of the reasons companies need to hire experts to guide them through the blogosphere. It’s why PR people need to learn to identify the most influential citizen journalists—the same way they identify the most influential mainstream journalists—and reach out to them, while not wasting time and money and energy on the mass of mediocre, self-indulgent bloggers.

4 Comments:

  • At 6:11 AM, Blogger LeverWealth said…

    Paul, to some extent I agree with you. In a recent post, I identified 25 channels used for communication in PR and Marketing. Most of them have been in common use for less than a decade.

    But is we look at how they find their communications slot, we see that they meet specific needs.

    People still create their own web sites, no organisation can be without a site because they need a repository of information. Usenet has gone back to its roots and is an academic discussion list again, Chat is for girls, boys and sex, listserve is still great for software developers and medical advisors and so on. Some channels have changed. Instant messaging has gone corporate, and email has become a backbone communications channel.

    Where will Blogs, SMS and other channels eventually end up is not yet clear but they will be part of the mix but there is a range of channels that are very important to watch.

    The place where we keep our personal information about those things that are emotionally important to us; the place where we meet the people we like and love; the place for our favourite music pictures and movies and the place where we can find out about stuff is very important. Its all in a modern mobile phone. Its in our purse and in our pocket, broadband and configured for our own passions. The convergence of the mobile with web is really important.

    Once we read newspapers and magazines because, as Guy Consterdine put it 'was a friend dropping in'. We had (have) and emotional attachment to favoured media. Now we have a cell phone.

    It turns the digital age from a three legged dog into a real revolution.

     
  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Darren Leroux said…

    I agree with your point to a degree and perhaps I could have made mine more clearly.

    Given the sheer number of blogs popping up today and those that fade away, it's pretty much impossible for PR to reach out to every blog, and I don't suggest that at all. As communications professionals, it’s our job to try and weed through the mess in the blogspehere and focus on those "already established" citizen journalists and those journalists that have found a new outlet beyond their traditional ones.

    However, I don't think many PR organizations (or marketing organizations for that matter) have the magic solution to targeting these folks.

    There's a definite opportunity for PR organizations to capitalize on this new form of Social Media, but now there's a race to figure out just how to it effectively. As communications professionals, it is our job to help clients understand the impact of Social Media and to then develop the best method help to them address this new and growing group of 'credible' writers.

    Those organizations that can figure out a quick, simple and cost-effective means to do this are the ones that will succeed. It also means those organizations that have savvy PR folks that understand the media, can identify credible outlets and establish relationships with those outlets will have a decisive edge.

     
  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is Blogging a Fad?

    4:41 pm

    By Arnold Kling

    The Internet has produced significant social phenomena, such as email and the Web. However, it also has produced its share of fads and failures. One phenomenon that currently ranks high on the hype meter is web logs,or blogs.

    http://www.corante.com/bottomline/articles/20020621-875.shtml

     
  • At 6:21 PM, Blogger davidmaister said…

    Whether something is or is not a fad is probably unknowable in advance, and may be irrelevant anyway. Even if something does turn out to be a fad, surely the course of wisdom is to particpate, experiment, stay flexible and be ready to adapt. If you wait until its a sure thing, you will probably have lost most of the potential benefit.

    This is true of all business innovations, and I don't think it's more or less true of marketing communications. You owe it to yourself (and your clients) to construct agood experiment, jumping in and giving things the good old college try. Bi-planes were only a fad, but you couldn't get to be a jetplane manufacturer if you waited only until you saw where things "ultimately" went.

     

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