Like a few others, I have been trying to work out what a blog is. Specifically, is Mediations a publication that is on general release and should be regarded in the same way as a newspaper, magazine or book? Or is it a place over which I have some control and where I can expect some personal rights? My feeling is that very few bloggers who I read have resolved this dilemma.
I have a thought that may help.
If one considers blogging as a social media, we can think of the channel for communication as facilitator for use by groups of people who form the nexus of a number of relationships with the blogger at its core. If you like, the community that is connected through the blogger is a small hamlet. which has a tight knit community but which is part of a wider community (parish?) and thence to the breadth and depth of the network offering a connectivity, a penumbra of links. Such a hamlet is to an extent dependant on the channel but can use other channels (Usenet, email, phone etc) to maintain its existence.
Thus a blogger is the nexus surrounded by close and progressively remoter connections.
The nexus forms when its Hamlet has values in common and at its core these values (interests, ideas, passions) are very akin.
Thus to a definition of a blogger being the nexus of values at the core of a community of other people (who will be, predominantly) connected through blogging channels.
Where there is commonality of values across a wide range of individuals, they might be considered to be a public, with common values they share passionately (e.g. the notion of professional public relations). Thus, from time to time they coalesce, because they have common cause (many shared values). Such a coalition can, and probably would be, within the 'hamlet' which is the nexus around the blogger.
This has consequences for Public Relations.
It means that in thinking about building relationships, the practitioner will be addressing a wide number of individuals sharing values with other individuals. Public Relations is therefore about values that can be shared with individuals each of whom have, to an extent the same or similar values.
Endorsing values, sharing values and empathetically adding values is the means by which the practitioner can engage with bloggers and, equally how bloggers can engage with organisations.
This could be an explanation the viral effect of some notions. It is more than word of mouth, it is the sharing of values. Some, as we know can be very effective because they can be driven by emotional values. Shared emotion is very powerful indeed.
Of course, such an explanation may also help us understand why YouTube, and Flicker and del.icio.us are important because they help explicate values.
All good Relationship Value Model stuff.