There was a good discussion of identity and credibility with respect to blogs. All familiar topics in the blog-o-sphere. With a bent towards using blogs within a business context and using them to improve business opportunities, I heard something different. Businesses - or the business people posting to blogs - can only get value out of blogs if they bring traffic to the company and keep the organization in the minds of people.
A hard trick to ask of anything. Why do blogs do this better than anything else? The main argument is that the tool - the ability to post frequently and easily and not worry about design - makes it easy to establish a voice and reputation. Other publishing media (white papers, magazines, TV) have much longer lead time and expect a certain quantity and quality of the content. Blogs, on the other hand, lean towards short and informative. They get closer to the conversation than these other options. And, of course, as these writers tie together via comments, trackbacks and cross-links, conversations of a sort develop.
In a related sense, I asked about the concerns over inappropriate content from a legal perspective (a la this conversation with Jim McGee), and others asked about how a business could ensure the conversations happen both in a human voice AND in a voice that reflects well on the business. The workshop leaders suggested -- from experience -- that people tend to write better in these tools. Since they know that their words are going to be kept and archived, they take the time to consider their thoughts before dashing off a new note.
Update, 2 Aug 2005: Corrected the title. Corrected URL to McGee's Musings.