Blogs have the same flaw as Web sites: it is trivial to start one, but it takes a major effort to maintain it up-to-date.
True bloggers get into a bind: bloggers want people to read their site; readers only come back if there is new material; bloggers have to add new material continually, thus becoming chained to their blogs. A decent entry can take up to an hour to write and then fine-tune.
Right now, I'm not particularly busy, so I am adding major articles to this blog, as well as my Gizmos Grabowski blog. I even had time to add an item to my third blog, The Canon S1is Fan, a site whose previous entry was date-stamped Oct 7, 2005.
You can see a sample of the "let's start a blog" rush over at the official SolidWorks blog. A bunch of entries, but then the most-recent entry is date-stamped Dec 07, 2005. Three weeks of silence should be an embarassment for the corporation. It might be an idea for SolidWorks to assign an employee the following task: blog something every day (including holidays), except weekends. If nothing else, leave a note explaining the gap: "We're on our Christmas break now, see you on January 2."
(Another tip: drop "Learn more about our products and services" from the header. It's a kind of self-evident statement.)
Blogs are so highly visible that the content (and lack thereof) broadcast to the world intended and unintended images of the individuals and corporations behind the blogs. Here's a recent example: we're in the middle of a federal election campaign. A Liberal Party of Canada worker hosted a blog that compared the face of a female rival with a dog (the rival and the dog also share the name, Chow), and used foul language about other rivals. This sort of adolescent yuk-yuk goes on behind-the-scenes in all political parties, but this time the internal hubris was broadcast to the world.
The lessons to be learned:
* The offending blog's gone now, except it isn't, because it still resides in the Google cache.
* The Liberal Party explained the blog was only meant for close friends, except that it wasn't, because blogs are accessed by "anyone."
* The worker has been fired (perhaps), except he wasn't, because the stain of his blog's content remains.
While blogging makes it easy to output your views to the Internet, the "most-recent item first" format of blogs is a terrible format for the kind of content I and others produce. The inability to integrate clever comments is a serious problem reported by other blog owners. Perhaps a better format is the Wiki-style of updatable information.