Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Impact Of Blogs

Bobby @ TulsaTopics blogged I ran across this white paper yesterday regarding the impact of blogs. The paper was published by Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations firm, and Intelliseek, a marketing intelligence firm and provider of one of the Internet's leading blog portals. I would imagine with the "hustle and bustle" regarding blogs as of late, corporations are beginning to take notice and trying to figure out how this would fit into a marketing plan.

I haven't read the complete report, but one of the first paragraphs stood out:

According to Edelman’s 2005 Trust Survey, peoples’ trust has shifted from authority figures to “average people, like you.” In fact, 56% of Americans trust only the opinions of physicians and academicians more than they trust the opinions of people like themselves. What does this mean? The average person does not want canned, neatly packaged messages; the average person wants to engage and be engaged in conversations. And blogs—short for Web logs—have rapidly emerged as one of the newest technologies driving this shift.
I believe that in addition too "wants to engage and be engaged in conversations," the average person is becoming suspicious of traditional news sources. When traditional news sources start making their own news or swaying public opinion to fit their personal agenda, i.e. Rathergate, Tulsa World/Great Plains Airlines connection, etc., the integrity of the news source is tarnished and should be questioned. People are just looking for alternative sources of news and comment to replace the lackluster drivel that has been available until now. The internet.... What a wonderful and scary place it can be!

The report also says Because of their speed,bloggers can and do alter the volume and tone of any conversation. Gone are the days of waiting months to get reliable feedback on an initiative.The new reality is this:any blog author with a passion for what you’re selling knows what you’re doing the minute you do it —and maybe even before. Bloggers comment immediately,and marketing and business professionals can quickly lose control of the conversation.

This paper is focused on the effect bloggers can have on marketing, but their effect is the same on political matters and the distribution of news about a specific topic. I have never run across one, but I would presume there are recipe blogs, and Aunt Mabel's recipe for Oatmeal Cookies can spread across the Blogosphere as fast as news about what some politician says.

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