Saturday, March 01, 2008

Blogging Thumbs Up

Last May when I went to the Milblog Conference, there was talk about us being in the last days of milblogging. That military was cracking down on blogging from the front. Being someone who has spent a fair portion of the last 4 years blogging from Iraq, I’m beginning to think it was all a Net Myth.

Unlike many of the anonymous Milbloggers, my real name has been attached to my blog since day one and all over the internet. I talk to our Public Affairs Office (PAO) on a regular basis. In fact, I know for a fact that the New Media Division on the Marine side is embracing blogging done by troops on the ground.

We follow the same rules under the UCMJ that apply to anyone in uniform. They compare it to talking to a Rotary Club, we’re not allowed to say anything that could be embarrassing to the military or talk bad about public officials and to follow OPSEC and the Privacy act. That’s a bare bones description but it covers the basics.

If you watch the news about Iraq, unless it’s something that goes boom or there’s an argument for or against us being here, we really don’t get much air time. The official military sources (PAO’s) are putting out stories every day but are writing for mostly a military audience, unless you’re connected with the military, you’re not going to see much of their work. Main Stream Media is geared towards finding that big story, something that will sell papers and grab peoples attention or something that they can run for 24 hours for most of a week.

I call it the “cute missing blonde story”, notice how much airtime blondes get when they go missing? To me, that kind of news is totally worthless and the cable news people who make the decisions to try overwhelming the public with this garbage are no better then spammers. Maybe there is a reason why bloggers talk so bad about the MSM sometimes. The News could be great if they only had a brain in control.

Between the PAO’s stories and the main stream media, there’s a huge vacuum with thousands of stories that are left untold plus an entire demographic of folk who spend a major portion of their lives just reading blogs. Ignoring them would be a waste and that’s where people like me come in and fill a small corner of that news vacuum. We try giving you a glimpse of our lives and occasionally, you’ll find a diamond in the roughness of cyberspace. Take what we write with a grain of salt, you are getting an objective story told by one person, not the big story, just what I see.

Back to the point, as Milbloggers, we all follow a loose framework of rules, no one tells us what to write as long as we fall inside of that set of boundaries and if we get outside, we try policing each other before the powers that be notice. I’ve talked with the guys in charge of keeping track of blogs and they haven’t asked me to change a single thing about my writing nor push forward a message. They prefer us to be raw and original and I’m totally okay with that.

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