The reality about blogging and influence…

Before I begin this post let me provide clear guidance on my position.

Firstly, I am a passionate advocate of blogging and the rest of the online tools.  I firmly believe that these technologies will have a major and profound impact on how we communicate – albeit these technologies may not ultimately look like they do today.

Secondly, I am by nature skeptical of surveys.  I think they provide interesting insight but you can always question their validity.

After many failed attempts I finally got around to reading Edelman’s 2007 Trust Barometer report. [Thanks to Piaras who sent it on]. It’s an interesting read – particular the growing importance of the environment.  The report only samples 35-64 year old high income earners – which means it potentially misses the more tech-savvy segment – and the sample of 3,100 is too small to be definitive, but it is interesting.

We listen to the digerati telling us how blogs are sweeping the online nation, how PR is dead and the press release is “deader” – and how we can’t use the word audience anymore because we’re all people.  Yet the report finds that bloggers rank below PR people in terms of credibility and influence (CEOs are rated #1 followed by Industry/Financial Analyst and a “person like you”).

In terms of credible information, analyst reports, business magazines, conversations with peers, TV coverage, newspaper coverage and press releases lead the way. Blogs again are at the foot of the table.

Of course it could be argued – quite successfully – that “conversations” are what Web 2.0 is about. And maybe in the future online conversations will make up a greater proportion of it…

But while Web 2.0 will continue to grow in influence and reach, when you step out of the cloud, the reality is that life today still remains far more analogue than the ivory tower types would have you believe.

So, just to confirm, newspapers, radio and TV will be with us for a few more weeks. In the meantime blogs, podcasts, social networking and IM will continue to grow.


I was giving a talk yesterday to a group of local practitioners on technology and new media.  It’s a talk I’ve been giving for about five years now, and the change has been profound.  While in the past participants wanted to talk about e-mail usage, web site design and the odd request about blogging.  The group yesterday was unanimous on the need to address blogging (and other Web 2.0 areas).  So the word is getting out there and I’m delighted to report there was a lot of fantastic discussion on the topic.


If you haven’t already read Edelman’s 2007 Trust Barometer I recommend it.