For Steve, blogs "further the conversation", which is a great way to look at things. The big issue for him is how it's getting harder to trust people in our scandal-ridden society, and Edelman's research has found that peers are one of the most trusted sources of all. That's where the Internet comes in, as it creates so many new ways for people to connect and interact. From a PR perspective, the big challenge is how do you tap into social networking to help build brands.
Bottom line for him - advertising still works, and PR still works. To be successful you have to find ways to engage these online audiences, and to do that, "you have to go where people hang out". So, whether it's blogs, Youtube, Myspace, etc., if that's where your market is you have immerse yourself in those places. He gave some great examples of this, and clearly, blogs are playing an increasingly important role for reaching online communities. Steve also noted that new business models are emerging, and he thinks that subscription-based models will work, and this is really causing havoc for the TV networks. But when you look at the success of things like iTunes and even residential VoIP, there's definitely credence to this.
As to how do you know who the good ones are, he noted that the community is self-monitoring. The credible bloggers will keep their following, and the wannabes will fall away in due time. Blogs and the Web are simply too transparent for it be otherwise. Good stuff.