A lot of people tend to look at the blogs on level of importance as something that comes far after the mainstream media. I politely, disagree.
As an experiment two weeks ago I decided to post just 48 hours or so before VON, when many people were getting ready to leave for Boston, that we all recognize VON Founder and VoIP impresario Jeff Pulver by wearing the standard Pulver VON attire, the Hawaiian shirt, on Jeff's birthday on the following Tuesday in Boston.
The VON Crowd responded and as Jeff pointed out in his blog over 150 people wore Hawaiian shirts.
So let's look at the significance of this. First, not every person attending VON saw the post Some had already started their travels. Another portion do not own a Hawaiian shirt, and then even more relevant to VON is that Hawaiian shirts are more a guy thing, so you have to deduct the female contingent that participates as well.
So to get over 150 people to don non-business garb at a industry trade show on less than 72 hour notice, in a conservative town like Boston, in the fall months, allows me to draw a few conclusions using fuzzy logic.
1) People have an adoration for Jeff Pulver, recognize his place in the industry and are willing to express it. They read blogs and they respect the opinion of the authors.
2) The blogs are what people in the VOIP industry are using as their primary source of information.
3) Without blogs a lot of what's new in VoIP would never see the light of day because the mainstream media focuses on what the masses are ready for.
Now let me point out another power of the blogs.
Last year during VON Level3 hosted a dinner at the Harvard Club and server really lousy wines something I commented on in my blog last year. This year I got a call from Level3's Cynthia Carpenter to help pick the wines, and to Level3's credit they poured them, and recognized both me and the fact that they had gotten ripped in the online community from the podium.
It takes a humbled company executive to do that, and back at the scene of the 2005 faux pas, the Harvard Club, no less they did just that. One more point in the favor of blogs and their reach, power and clout.
A third indicator of the power of the blogs is how my first Video blog post from VON spurred a war of words that continues to rage. Pal and iotum CEO (and agency client) Alec Saunders explained why he wouldn't vblog. That in turn got Blip.TV diva Dina Kaplan to respond twice, as well as engage me in an offline email discussion. This entire tete d' tete has spurred some 186 blog posts and more comments according to Google.
But this all pales in comparison to the success of LonelyGirl15, a 19 year old actress represented by CAA. The search term brings up over six million hits.
If that's not an indication of the power of the blogs I don't know what is.
Mainstream media isn't going away, it's not even dying, though it is suffering from the online world. Instead the MSM is realizing that blogs, the Internet and next gen forms are now more a part of their world. The successful MSM operators will not oppose the future, they will embrace it, or they will die off.