Thursday, April 27, 2006

MilBlogging Conference AAR - Part II

Part I
Editorial note: I thought I was in it Saturday during the conference, but I found it Monday driving home....
The comments from the conference are mulitplying (go figure!) and posted at Andi's World. Great reads all, but the best one is this one from Steve Schippert from Threats Watch just goes to show you how a simple effort can help someone else.
I added Black Five's discussion at the top of the entries, for I think it's worth keeping in our thoughts as we blog: What is the "max range" of your blog?
I've had a little time to think over the MilBlogging Conference adventure. Here is some detail to go with a "take away" point:
From Part I:
Top levels “take away” points:
1) “Stay in your lane” is good guidance. Blog on what you know. With a rule like that, you should be bulletproof if a question is posed about how factual your commentary is.

In regards to that direction, have you noticed how hard it is to tell the person who just told you their story that they are wrong? If they told you another person's story, it can be picked apart. When it's yours to tell, just what will they say? Nada...or they'll just whip out the ad hominum stuff and tell you how stupid you are. So...stick with what you know for sure.
The focus of 2/3rds of the Conference day was essentially discussions centered on blogging issues dealing with current world ops in the GWoT. Certainly, that provides an essential foundation for future MilBlogging, for the comments on "think carefully about who is reading this blog" is a fitting framework for all other blogging for the community (not a bad idea for everyone else, too...what if kids on MySpace posted based on what their parent's reaction would be...but I digress).
I see several subdivisions of MilBlogs and by wrtiing this, I think it will help frame what people are doing, as well as maybe someone reading this will realize they may have a part to play as well.
1) MilBlogs that are fundimentally daily diaries. Smash and CJ got their starts there, and so much of the active duty blogs today are in this "model." At the conference, CJ admitted this was his venting method during his time in theater, and Smash initially did it to get the word back home to his family (he has since matured, or "evolved" to being our BlogDaddy, so I'm looking for a present at Christmas this year). Begun as coping mechanisms, they are, in fact, history being recorded from a first person's view, with out the Monday Morning Quarterbacking. One other blog like this of note is no longer active, the 365 and a Wakeup blog of Capt Danjel Bout, CA National Guard, but is one of the finest pieces of writing I have found.
2) MilBlogs that are designed as support networks, out in the open bulletin boards. The panel discussion on this topic was amazing. The power of the Internet, combined with some family members wanting information, turned these early seekers into mentors for spouses and parents all over the country. Carla, of Some Soldier's Mom and Deb of Marine Corps Moms are two like this. Included in this area would be blogs such as Soldier's Angels.
3) MilBlogs written by non-active duty people with significant "discrete knowledge" and usually are analysis/commentary on geo-political/military matters. Not constrained by DoD rules, and also "out of the loop" of current tactical/startegic info, these blogs stand to be a powerful part of the "Army of Davids" that Col Austin Bay referenced several times during his conference remarks. The insight provided by these blogs can help either the MSM or just plain old citizens understand the issues in military operations more consisely. Threats Watch is one of these, and the work of Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail is another of note. I would also put Eagle Speak here, for he runs a great blog on stuff that tends to the leagl side of maritime affairs, with piracy being a major topic these days.
4) Personal historical MilBlogs. Cheaper and easier than publishing a book, and you don't need an editor to tell you to do parts over...lots of veterans fit here, such as much of my current work. I have also found it quite rewarding to document storeis of many of the older vets I find.
5) Organizational blogs designed particularly to support the troops. There are many, but at the moment I'm thinking it's pretty late and I can continue this discussion later.
As far as the blogs mentioned above, I linked them for some quick examples, but I know there are many more that fall into the same groupings. My blogroll has plenty of them to pick from.
That's about enough for the moment. Again, as I got taught: to tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Here's the wrap up: By categorizing the main discussions of MilBlogs, I think it will help each blogger frame where "their lane" may be, and therefore keep the work applicable and effective in the greater discussions of our society. I also think the rest of the world will better know where to go to read, and some of them will realize they are an intergral part of the MilBlog community, they just haven't taken the time to get going yet. Later, it will help subdivide our networking for any efforts we undertake.
Comments welcome.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

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