Tue, 17 Dec 2002 07:46:03 GMT

November 1995 was the month that the Internet became more than just an online library for PR professionals everywhere.

It was the month that Intel’s Pentium flaw became a mainstream news item thanks to newsgroups on the Internet.

The story wasn’t news in the technology community where EETimes, having found out about the flaw in the newsgroups, had already ran, according to Howard High at Intel “a fair, balanced piece”.

But when CNN stumbled over the same newsgroup postings during Thanksgiving, they ran it as a major story and it was picked up by every major magazine and newspaper across the globe. In the end it cost Intel $470 million.

Although Intel made some mistakes after the CNN story broke (such as refusing immediate replacements) overall the incident had a positive outcome in terms of awareness and the added benefit for Intel of direct interaction with end-users.

But there’s no doubt that the Internet demanded a lot more respect from communications professionals from that moment on.

December 2002 may be remembered as the month blogs began to seriously impact reputation.

John Podhoretz at the New York Post has an interesting piece on how blogs were responsible for leading the charge against Trent Lott and his praise for 1948 segregationist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond.

Podhoretz credits blogs with driving the story onto the media agenda after it had been pretty much ignored by traditional media outlets.

It may not be *the* defining moments for blogs, but it’s a strong indication that their importance is rising and you need to understand the implications for your clients and your business.

Of course I realize I am preaching to the converted 🙂