Mark has written on how blogs have become part of our resumes, David has written about corporate management blogging personally and unfiltered on their own private spaces, and how that makes corporation-employee-rest of the world relationships change.
I thought I'd share my points of view regarding how blogs improve relationships amongst co-workers, providing a very interesting tool, particularly for those who work "oceans apart"; although it does also help a lot to get to know people who seat only a few feet away as well.
The relationships people have with their blogs is quite amazing. I am no psychoanalyst; yet you don't need to be one to get to notice the way bloggers open up when writing; some things will remain undisclosed, yet many will be told, if not directly, at least in between lines. Even those who have a strict non-personal blog policy can say a lot more than they consciously intend to.
Most non-professional bloggers will have a wide span of interests and topics, that can span from work related to hobbies going all the way through music and personal, just to name a few. Through all of this one can get quite a broad idea of what's on other people's minds, way beyond what would be considered polite asking.
As with most things in life, this is a two blade weapon. On one side, through posts and comments, relationships can be built, opinions can be exchanged and conversations can take place. All of this can enhance team spirit, boost collaboratin and bonding. On the other hand it can be quite easy to mess things up.
Yet, messing things up (or watching others do so) can also teach and help relationships. As with marriages, it is only through crisis that the real potential and skills show up.
The real treat about personal blogs is that people write about what they are actually interested in, as opposed to what they are asked to do. In a perfect world, there should be a coincidence there, but that is not always the case. On the other end, people only read what they are interested in; it actually is one piece of a democratic way of communicating.
Finally blogs also help to tear down some hierarchical barriers. The useless ones at least. While blogging, both managers can notice what's on their managed people's minds, and employees can see what the management is thinking about. That way horizontal conversations can, and will, happen.
You can get to know a great deal about the people you work with through blogs. This might sound odd, but in today's flat and globalised world it can be the only place where off-topic conversations can happen.