08 December 2008

Results are in: 3 out of 5 blog to keep family and friends updated

Last week's poll asked what prompted you to enter the blogosphere. Most (3 out of 5 ... yes, only 5 responses this week, again quite unscientific) said the primary reason was to keep family and friends updated while deployed or out of the country for other reasons. 40% (2 people)said that is was because they felt strongly about a topic. I certainly realize these polls are not scientific and are, therefore, not valid for adding to the academic discussion (congratulations, by-the-way, to the Milblogging.com webmaster - The World's Coolest Dad!). They are, however, a source for some commentary ... and, perhaps a way to generate some more discussion. Thanks again to the participants -- now PASS THIS LINK ON SO MORE PEOPLE WILL VOTE IN THE FUTURE!!

Despite the very low sample size, the results corroborate what I'm finding as I survey milblogs. The majority, so far, exist (at least at first) simply to share stories with folks back home. Several of the top ranking milblogs then morphed into something a bit more - reaching a broader audience. But, even those that have grown large readerships remain primarily focused on sharing accounts of events that the author has been involved in. These personal accounts are what seem to attract many people to milblogs - stories that they can't get from main stream media. This also, by-the-way, matches the reasons that you stated you read milblogs - to get the Soldiers' sides of the story and their opinions about it.

As I see it, there's not much the Army can do to change the motivation for Soldiers to try their hand at blogging - it's not something we can (or, admittedly, want) to do. However, for those that are interested in a way to keep family and friends up-to-date as they're deployed, a blog offers a great method! And, importantly, the Army should do a much better job at educating them to blog as effectively as possible because, unlike e-mail or an old-fashioned letter home, blogs are immediately accessible by anyone who wants to read. Therefore, every Soldiers blog is a piece of the Army's communications whether we like to admit that or not. Not that every Soldiers blog should be controlled by the Army (in fact, as discussed previously, even the perception of control detracts from the credibility.) But just as we owe it to our Soldiers to train them to be successful with the various weapon systems they use, we owe it to them to train/educate them to be as successful as possible using new media.

The detailed (?) results from the poll, if you're interested ...

What triggered your entry into the blogosphere?
  • 3 (60%) Wanted to keep family/friends updated while I was deployed/away.
  • 0 (0%) Wasn't satisfied with what was out there about the war(s), so I started my own blog to write about it.
  • 0 (0%) I enjoyed online discussions so started a blog to control one.
  • 0 (0%) Really enjoy writing, so a blog seemed like an obvious thing for me to start.
  • 2 (40%) Felt strongly about a topic (wars or otherwise) and wanted to write about it.
  • 0 (0%) Just wanted a place to rant, share my opinions, etc.

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