Caught an article published recently in IHT on public relations and blogging. With the investment by PR firms like Edelman in monitoring the blogosphere, and then making fake blogs - varied thoughts come to mind about blogger transparency and the ability or inability of successful PR activities directed towards bloggers.
Monitoring the blogosphere is one thing, but PR companies would have to tip-toe very discreetly around the blogosphere if they decide to use it for positive ´messaging´ purposes (as they call it).
Bloggers that write, review, rant and rave about brands or products do so because they want to. It will be interesting to see how PR manages to influence bloggers or use blogging as a marketing tool because it would go against what bloggers stand for: real, untainted opinion. Besides, the intelligence levels of bloggers (and their readers) must not be undermined, surely they will see through subtle PR tactics.
Having said that, will PR companies start having a blogger-list on their media lists? will they end up paying/bribing influential bloggers to blog for them? Will these bloggers compromise the integrity and credibility of their blogs for a few bucks or a nice lunch? Will their readers buy that?
We read blogs because of their genuinity - they are real voices of ordinary people. In contrast, blogs on big-brand websites have no credibility, they are advertorials and I doubt they get a decent hit rate.
I think the blogosphere will loose its charm and purpose of ´raw communication´ if it gets tapped successfully by manipulative marketing personnel. Fellow bloggers, let´s not let that happen.