The Pew internet & American Life Project just released a preliminary report entitled “Buzz, Blogs and Beyond: The Internet and the National Discourse in the Fall of 2004” (here – via smartmobs). One of their conclusions is:
“The blogosphere is clearly a major addition to the national discourse…But we need to be cautious with respect to the power of particular political bloggers. That power waxes and wanes depending on the sort of information available, the behavior of other public voices, and the tendency of internet forms and formats to evolve in a very short time.”
I have not read the full report yet but it sounds like it contains lessons that are applicable beyond political blogs.