I haven't decided yet whether I like the Journal of New Communications Research. It is fussy in its formal academic style (constant parenthetical references to old studies), often pedantic and filled with self-important syntax. But there are always some nuggets of information or insight . . . the latest in the spring/summer 2007 issue in a peer reviewed piece by Christa Hines called "New Tactics in Public Relations: Opening Dialogue Through the Use of Weblogs" (who calls them that anymore?).
Corporate bloggers, it seems, are happy with their leap into digital dialogue: "Whatever form of measurement used (if any), respondents (ed. - 54 of 150 surveyed) resoundingly felt their blog was a successful communications medium (92.3 percent), resulting in enhanced corporate reputation and trust (66 percent) and increased stakeholder satisfaction (43.4 percent)".
Their motivations for starting a corporate blog are also interesting and realistic and only minimally concerned with media relations and direct promotion of products. According to Hines' research, "Most (69.2 percent) established their blogs as another way to communicate with their stakeholders and to enhance their corporate reputation and trust (61.5 percent). Some companies (36.5 percent) also use their blogs for media relations purposes and to promote products. A handful of companies use their blog for issues management (7.7 percent) and crisis management (1.9 percent)".
All I can add is that many companies are missing the opportunity inherent in using a dialogue-based communications tool for managing issues and crises . . . a stakeholder-focused exercise if there ever was one. Social media help manage the intangibles better than most other communications, in particular when it is the intangibles that matter most.