I found a fantastic article called Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in the Blogosphere recently. Required reading for all green bloggers and written by Edelman and First&42nd, it dives into the many issues important to bloggers in general and how social issues fit into the big picture. They came to a number of conclusions, all of which are listed here:
- The majority of CSR and sustainability blog conversations focus on the environment.
- NGOs and companies alike have shown little interest in engaging the blogosphere on CSR issues.
- Traditional NGO campaigns addressing CSR topics do not register among blogs.
- The main CSR influencers in the blogosphere are individuals, not institutions.
- Bloggers are commenting on CSR and sustainability topics – they are not reporting new information.
- The main source of CSR and sustainability information for bloggers is the mainstream media (MSM).
- The blogosphere is open to any institutional voice ready to engage.
Fascinating. What caught my attention most was the fact that green blogs (as a whole) tend to take information and comment about it (similar to many political blogs) rather than report real news. Some of the best blogs are really taking on the reporter role: interviewing building owners, sharing new technologies via video and "taking on" companies that appear to be green washing or flashing green bling with no larger green strategy in mind.
The other interesting tidbit was the fact that companies and NGOs have not caught on to the power of these thousands of individual reporters and their networked relationship to each other. In some ways, having bloggers separate from companies makes their reporting more credible / third-party, but individual bloggers need really deep pockets to investigate issues that companies and NGOs are more easily able to address.
I can't tell exactly, but it looks like this article was written in late 2006. I feel confident that some of what they suggest has changed, but it's good intel regardless.