Small Business Trends reviews Blog for Business, and in the process drops some great quotes:

Blogs are places where we can stop and reflect. Filter out. Slow down. See a different side of an issue. Get the benefit of someone else’s thinking, but in a personal way, not just as another place we have to absorb more information. It’s certainly not a new idea that reading enriches our lives. But blogs are a way we can incorporate reading without having to change what we’re doing (sitting at the computer) and still enjoy some of the pleasure of conversation (most blogs allow comments if you have the time and the urge). And it’s that personal touch that makes blogs different from all the other data we must take in.

Do blogs HAVE to be personal communications channels? No. Is there something built into the technology which forces them to differ from a frequently updated site using traditional HTML publishing tools? No. But there is a cultural norm at work. Most blogs take the form of personal communication in a voice different than the web content from a few years ago. As a group they present a new trend, causing new interest in a reevaluation of communication style.

As a result perceptions of the nature of online communication are changing. People are seeing for the first time the realization of the “personal publishing medium”. This is what the homepage was supposed to provide for people back during the early 90’s when the web first arrived on the scene. Now, a decade later, blogs are filling the role that the personal homepage was supposed to. What’s different now? It could simply be that there’s a critical mass of users online, enough that personal publishers are able to attract a readership that justifies their investment of time. Maybe it’s that users are now comfortable with the web, and they’re psychologically ready to make the move from consumer to producer. I’ve heard others say that it normally takes about 10 years for a technology to hit wide adoption. They use the cell phone as an example. No one is absolutely definite what caused the explosive adoption of cell phones - was it size of the cell network, size and weight of the phones, awareness of the public, etc - but at some point the industry experienced explosive growth. The web is just over 10 years old now. Maybe it’s just hitting puberty.