I am involved in a group debating the benefits of blogging for the group members. George Siemens @ Elearnspace has created an excellent list. What does blogging give members?
# Fostering the fringe - ideas are evaluated based on merit - not on source of origin.
# Filtering - ideas with merit are filtered through various blogs. Significant thoughts or posts receive multiple-links and spread viral-like across the blogosphere.
# Multiple perspectives - one-sided perspectives of newspapers are replaced by passionate debates exploring virtually every facet of an idea or concept.
# Barrier elimination - society is about barriers - actual or unspoken. For example, I don't run in the same circle as Bill Gates - a socio-economic barrier (at the absolute minimum!). In society, this generally means that I do not have the benefit of Mr. Gates' wisdom...blogging, however changes that. Opportunities now exist to hear regular thoughts from people like Ray Ozzie, Mitch Kapor, and Larry Lesig.
# Free flow - any idea can be expressed...and accessed by any one. The process of blogging separates good ideas from poor ideas. The process itself has built in quality control - try that in traditional media!
# Real time - discussions and interactions happen right NOW. Waiting for tomorrow's newspaper or radio program seems like an eternity compared to real time blogging. # Links and connections - the complexity of an information heavy society requires specialization. Yet specialization is futile if a process is not created to link specialties. Blogging serves this purpose extremely well. Disparate fields of interest and thought are brought together (and dissected) in the machinations of bloggers.