Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Bevan Foundation-sponsored 'To blog or not to blog?' event on Tuesday night at the Assembly (the downside of working in London!), but was very interested by some of the issues and debates that were discussed (as read on various blogs).
Matt Wardman is right when he says that the blogosphere and bloggers should not be treated as one entity, or even one community - it never was and characterising it as such was simply lazy journalism for those back in the 90s who thought the internet was some kind of fad that would quickly disappear.
For professional politicians, it's an opportunity to get their message across without the constraints of a reporter or a sub-editor getting in the way; for online journalists it's a way of drawing attention to issues that they consider important but might not be covered in the mainstream media, for whatever reason; others just want to get their two-penneth worth out there - whatever the reason, as long as it contributes to debate or gives me a new angle on the world, then, personally, I'm interested in reading it.
There have been a marked increase in Plaid/Welsh nationalist blogging in the last year or so, and with good reason - being the bottom up party that Plaid is, being a Plaid blogger means that there is a good chance that your ideas will be read, analysed and discussed at all levels of the party and, if people agree with you, acted upon.
On that basis, one of the fascinating developments for me has been watching the development of a Welsh economic policy on the internet by Plaid bloggers - a quick scan of blogs by Adam Price, Leanne Wood, Rhydian Fon James and others shows Plaid members, elected or otherwise, using the internet as a means to open up policy for debate and putting issues out for discussion, not hatching it behind closed doors, scribbling figures on the back of a fag packet.
It's the democracy of the internet that allows participation - and it's that democracy (even if economic policy is a little harder than 'learn three chords and start a band!) and interaction that makes blogging worthwhile.
After all, why write a paper and wait three months for a response when you could have people telling you what they think later on tonight?