The article on Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble in the current issue of The Economist ends on a pondering note:
Will corporate bloggers start to get tongue-tied and sound just like tedious press releases? [...] Will [Scoble] criticise only the small things, but toe the line on the big issues? As his page views, fame and influence increase, it might become increasingly difficult for him not to feel self-conscious, and to resist the deadening effect that this can have on any writer’s prose.
Could happen. And if it did, who would suffer? Well, as the article implies, both Scoble himself and Microsoft would be worse off if the ongoing peer review called the blogosphere calls him on his (at this point hypothetical) suckage. That’s the thing about blogs: anyone can have their say on one, and if the influential nodes in the network are of the opinion that you are full of BS and nothing more than a PR puppet, well, word gets around.
Look, the only reason Scoble has credibility is because he has earned it. Earned it with whom? Sure, with his employers at Microsoft. But it’s the credibility he has earned with the blogosphere that makes him so influential.
The key thing to remember is this: When it comes to credibility, the blogosphere giveth and the blogosphere taketh away. I’m pretty sure Robert Scoble understands this perfectly. How long it takes other companies to cotton on to it is another question entirely.