10 December 2008

This week’s poll: what value are “official” blogs?

As you’re perusing the discussions on this blog (and leaving your comments since you're an active participant, right?) don’t forget to voice your opinion through this week’s poll (top right of this page). In this discussion about Soldier engagement of new media, I’m curious about what folks think about official military websites and blogs. Specifically, this week’s poll asks you what you personally use them for. Thanks for your participation!


  1. The only "official" blog that I have looked at with any consistency has been the ARSIC-South blog in Afghanistan. None of the others has much in the way of new information or unfettered reporting or commentary on reality on the ground or in the fight.

  2. I find the only blogs I follow with delight are from the "Joe's" on the ground. Yes they can be negative about their conditions and rules that hamper them but are the most interesting and give a picture of what they are going through. Official blogs are seldom looked at except if they are linked in a story and I follow on to it. I read Lt Nixon daily but started with him when he was in Iraq - most of guys I have started with while they were there and now when they are back they comment on MSM and official news - especially if they are still in the service. My son is in the "theater" now. He is an AF officer & doesn't blog or talk about what he is doing so I'm hooked on Army or National Guard guys. I have also stumbled on Iraq people writing about what it like living under the conditions they live under - but they are very negative and sad. I search for new blogs of people who are actually infantry and tell it like it is - language and all. I have all kinds of opinions I have gathered from all of this but it is beyond comment writing. Bottom line - I don't use official military websites and blogs. Thanks for asking for my opinion - few people do - but I give it anyway.

  3. Thanks for your comments, lorraine, about which blogs you follow and why. You make a great comment about what keeps you "hooked" after the Soldier blogger returns from deployment - if they stay engaged in the discussion about the wars.

    I do think official websites and blogs have a role to play but we're not doing the best job of projecting the image we desire. Bill and Bob bring up a good point about the perception of them not presenting much new or insightful information. The other big problem with any official publication is the perception of it being propaganda.

  4. i think "soldier blogs" could be a great asset to historical archives.However my experience with the 20-(30 somethings even),that use outlets such as MYSPACE forums to "BLOG" their experiences,are nothing more than a way for these BOYS to attract attention to themselves,gain access to pornography,and make "friends" with online prostitutes.All of which is,as far as i know is prohibited by US military regs.One such blogger I know in particular is currently serving in Iraq,in the USMC,has openly published photos,comments and such relating to drug use,abuse of women,and openly dicusses matters COMPLETELY UNRELATED to anything military.He does write about his experiences granted ...in a blog.but that is the extent of the use of it.Its use is primarily a way to seek out what he is unable to and in some cases forbidden to,while deployed.The only blogs I have found to be of honest and genuine sincerity have been those of veterans of various military services.It disturbs me greatly that some younger soldiers have little to no respect for the service for which they joined and the country for which they represent overseas.The young and VERY immature Marine i came to know as quite frightening in character,should not be permitted to post blogs,comments ,photos and opinions of the content which I was so shocked and horrified to see as published content on the internet.It makes not only the military he serves look bad,but the country for which he is standing for suffers and may suffer more as history could keep these blogs alive.

  5. A disturbing anecdote, Lucrezia. I've heard similar stories about the use of MySpace, but hadn't heard something quite like this from a blog. It is these examples that scare our military's leadership away from encouraging - or allowing in many cases - Soldier use of new media, Web 2.0, whatever you want to call it. Troubling, indeed.

    So, the question that comes to my mind is: how can we make the most of the good, and limit the bad? Not an easy question, to be sure.

    Another question that comes to mind is: if a Soldier is indeed doing illegal activities and posting stories and photos about it, how stupid is he? That kind of crap makes a terrible name for the military service and is so easily accessible that it's only a matter of time before they're "outed" and standing before their commander.

    Many Army organizations have a policy that all their Soldiers must report all websites that they maintain (blogs, MySpace, Facebook, personal website, etc) to the unit commander. It's then up to that commander to decide how to monitor what's going on. I think this policy is reasonable. We don't want to make Soldiers feel like "big brother" is always watching, but we also want to ensure they are motivated to do the right thing and behave responsibly - something we expect of our Soldiers on and off duty ... now, I suppose it also applies to on and off line.

  6. Check out the conversation going on over at CGB ... some interesting discussion.