Three years ago our cover story showcased the phenomenon. A lot has changed since then
by Stephen Baker and Heather Green
May 22, 2008
In the frantic news biz, where stories go stale overnight, one of our old articles is behaving very strangely. Year after year it continues to draw swarms of online readers, more than holding its own against up-to-date fare. Oddly, while technology races ahead, our story remains frozen in time. It describes a world in which YouTube (GOOG) has yet to emerge from the garage and Twittering, today's microblogging rage, is left to the birds.
The year was 2005, and the story was "Blogs Will Change Your Business." It marked our plunge into the world of bottom-up media, of news as a "conversation." Many people at the time—including a good number at this magazine and throughout the business world—considered blogs to be a publishing tool for trivia, banality, venom, and baseless attacks. This was all true, the article conceded.
But in the helter-skelter of the blogosphere, we wrote, something important was taking place: In the 10 minutes it took to set up a blogging account, anyone with an Internet connection could become a global publisher. Some could become stars and gain power. That was already happening. In this new world, any business that hoped to "control" information—and that included just about everybody—was in for a wild ride. This promised a seismic shock in our own media world. No mystery there. But it also posed challenges for businesses in practically every realm. Every e-mail or memo could be blogged. Every employee, no matter what rank, could become a voice for the company, either publicly or cloaked, some gaining more power than the entire public relations department. "Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out," we warned, adding: "Catch up...or catch you later."