Well-written special report about blogging in today’s Washington Times. And a cool front page photo of yours truly taken by Wash Times photographer Nancy Pastor. Kind of a hall of mirrors approach. Do you get it? First she took a close up. Then she put the photo onto her laptop. She handed me the laptop and asked me to hold it up, covering my face. I thought it was pretty creative.

Wash Times reporter Chris Baker called me about 10 days ago. We talked at length. I told him about the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s blog, ACCABuzz, and who to contact there. (I wrote a case study about ACCA’s blog recently for WordBiz Report.) Chris did a good job on the story, other than “stealing” the ACCA blog opening from me. But heck, I was a reporter for 15 years and I used to do the same thing.

BTW, the Washington Times’ article doesn’t include any live links to the blogs mentioned below. I looked them all up. Not an effective way to post an article online. The article starts with political blogs and points to the dozens of bloggers invited to the Dem and Republican conventions. Then moves on to journalists’ blogs, including that of in-year-face TV pundit Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball. He’s part of a group blog called (if you can stand it… ) Hardblogger.

The report mentions inside-the-beltway blogs like Ana Marie Cox’s Wonkette. Maybe best know for outing Capitol Hill admin Jessica Cutler who recounted the juicy details of her affairs with various Congressman and staffers in her no-longer active blog, Washingtonienne. A coincidence, I guess, but today’s Washington Post magazine features a (not juicy enough) recounting of Jessica’s blog travails: Kiss and Blog.

Then the article moves on to the Do’s and Don’ts of Blogging, Inc., meaning business blogging. It mentions Nike’s concocted blog for the “Art of Speed” produced by Gawker Media. As for companies doing their own blogging, the reporter quotes an employment law attorney who cautions, “Blogging is just ripe for trouble.” The article notes that both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems let their employees blog “as long as they don’t give away trade secrets.” (I also pointed Chris to Microsoft’s “corporate blogging policy” penned by Robert Scoble, aka the Scobleizer.)

I’m quoted as saying: “Well (blogging) doesn’t have to be cool… all you need to do is be useful and useful can be as simple as linking to another Web site.” ‘Course I said a lot more than that… and more articulately. I guess he didn’t get it all down. Just kidding, Chris…

The article ends with two more D.C. blogs: timesnewroman.org written by Topher Mathews (a young lawyer and musician). I don’t know what law firm Mr. Mathews works for but I’d caution him to edit his blog a bit more carefully. It’s informal and chatty to the point of being ungrammatical. Remember, Topher, you may not be Jessica Cutler but your blog pages are public. The search engines can easily find them, as can your current employer.

And finally, a blog by Bethesda space analyst Phil Smith, who is readying himself for a future career as a politician. Smith purchased a copy of “Web Sites for Dummies” and decided to start blogging to prove he could “master” the technology. Er, what technology? Setting up a blog is the work of a few minutes, if you use a hosted solution like Blogger.com or TypePad. Hmmm… I couldn’t find Phil’s blog but he works for Futron Corp. I hope he’s using spell check to spell out his political platform on “everything from abortion rights to veterans,” according to the article.

Remember, a blog may look like – and even feel like – a private online journal. But it’s public and searchable. Good news for companies who are looking for a fresh way to connect with customers and prospects. Bad news for those who “don’t get it” and post their private thoughts or public foibles for all to read.