A learner in the course I teach (online) on new directions in public relations for the Royal Roads University M.B.A. program in public relations and communications management recently pointed me in the direction of Marc Andreessen's relatively new blog. Andreessen is the co-founder of Netscape, co-author of Mosaic and currently involved with the social software company Ning. A blogger for about five weeks, he reflects in a recent post on "eleven lessons learned about blogging so far."
The top three from my perspective are these:
Idea One: "Blogging is the single best way to communicate and interact . . . Blogging is clearly the second coming of high-quality Internet conversations." Although he has turned off comments because he can't manage the volume (not a problem I face evidently), he is convinced the exchange of ideas among independent, but referential and cross-linked, blog conversations will improve public discourse . . or at least make it more fun.
Idea Two: Traffic to blogs is a function of original content; the more original the content, the more likely that people will come and return. I would add to this that the more original, distinctive or useful the "voice", the more likely it is that readers will derive enough value to bookmark a post or subscribe with an RSS reader.
Idea Three: Blogs have influence, and the points of view expressed can change the direction of people's thinking. Politicians and companies which have faced a high profile public crises know it, as increasingly do they media. As Andreessen says, "We are definitely entering a world in which bloggers are taken super-seriously by political candidates, company PR departments, government officials, and book editors, among many others. That trend is just starting -- but people who have spent their careers dealing with professional press now definitely 'get it' that what happens on blogs matters just as much, or more."
So far, so good Mr. Andreessen. I have your RSS feed . . . keep up the interesting work!