James W.D. Stewart

James W.D. Stewart

Embrace "The Suck"


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Offhand, I don't know when blogging really became well-known throughout the Internet, but I do know that I started to blog once I created my Web site though.  A friend of mine told me about adding a blog to my Web site — gaining the attention of many bloggers.  It was a great idea as now I have the opportunity to first-hand speak to many veterans through my blog, without having to leave my home.

Once I started my own blog, and began reading up on what it takes to blog, I soon realized that there are a lot of military members from around the globe who also blog themselves.  Never would I have thought that I'd take to blogging, but here I am.  Mil-blogging, like homecoming, is a journey — not a destination.  My newspaper and magazine buddies make jokes about how all bloggers must write while wearing pajamas…  I'm, simply, happy that they think I'm even wearing pants nowadays.

/blog/2017/04/22/military-bloggers/

https://forces.army/blog/2017/04/22/military-bloggers/

Military Bloggers

Count Words — Reading Time
by James Stewart
Published: 
Updated:    Spelling
Location:  Greater Sudbury Public Library, 74 Mackenzie St., Sudbury, Ontario, P3C 4X8, Canada
 

 

Offhand, I don't know when blogging really became well-known throughout the Internet, but I do know that I started to blog once I created my Web site though.  A friend of mine told me about adding a blog to my Web site — gaining the attention of many bloggers.  It was a great idea as now I have the opportunity to first-hand speak to many veterans through my blog, without having to leave my home.

Once I started my own blog, and began reading up on what it takes to blog, I soon realized that there are a lot of military members from around the globe who also blog themselves.  Never would I have thought that I'd take to blogging, but here I am.  Mil-blogging, like homecoming, is a journey — not a destination.  My newspaper and magazine buddies make jokes about how all bloggers must write while wearing pajamas…  I'm, simply, happy that they think I'm even wearing pants nowadays.

Imagine some of the soldiers, who survived the Battle of Gettysburg, stopping the next day to write their dramatic tales — and, people from around the world, instantly, reading them.  If that battle had been fought today, no imagination would be necessary.  The military has sought to take action towards blogs, as many blogs are posting a lot of images that the military says could be a threat to their military tactics.

With that said, I've learned that blogging has created a new world for many.  A world where many can go to get away from the images of the battle field, find other people in the service dealing with the same issues, a place to express their thoughts and feelings, and a place where people can keep in touch and make new friends.  Defence community members (i.e. moms, soldiers in the field, veterans, wives, etc.) are jumping onto the blog bandwagon and helping the overall veteran community on a whole new level.

 

The first wave (2001 – 2007) of mil-blogging was defined and dominated by first-person (i.e. boots-on-the-ground) narratives, unmediated by news editors, broadcasts, and/or publications.  Some of these, such as Matt Gallagher's blog, later grew into larger, book-length works:

There are also published collections of mil-blogs.  Such as:

The alchemy of blogs-into-books is important, because technologies change — print stays.  The popularity and influence of mil-blogging culminated some time after 2007.  One favourite anecdote from the Internet trenches…  In 2007, President George W. Bush met with a group of mil-bloggers for a hour-long chat in the Roosevelt Room.  Here's a useful report from that event, written by John Donovan:

The President acknowledged, so to speak, the rise of the blogosphere — which he seems to see as complementary to the [Main Stream Media], a view to which I subscribe, as well.  We're another vector that people can use to disseminate or gather information — whether the MSM is gate-guarding it because of their biases, or simple economics.  There are only so many air minutes, so many column inches, and the MSM is a business.  They have to make editorial decisions.
 
If anything, the blogs hearken back, really, to an earlier time in the growth of the Republic.
 
We're the "broadsides" of this era.

The second wave (2007 – 2014) of mil-blogging happened as blogging platforms became more ubiquitous and easier to use.  More people deployed and/or had family members deploy.  More people started writing and sharing their experiences.  At the same time, others had returned from one or more deployment experiences, and sought to put those experiences into more context.  Without the content of more-immediate experience, many turned to new analysis, opinion, and/or advocacy.  To paraphrase one mil-blogger of the time:

Some of us went political.  And, some of us, went bat-shit crazy.

Blogging was cool…  Everybody was doing it.  However, in the later years of this period, mil-blogging began to decline — as did all blogging.  That's because Facebook happened…  Tumblr happened…  Twitter happened…  Tablets and small-screens happened.  Blogging turned into yesterday's news.  However, mil-blogging isn't dead — at least, no more than journalism is.  It may be evolving, we might not recognize it, but it as sure as Hell ain't dead yet though.

The third wave of mil-blogging?  You're soaking in it.  The third wave (2014 – Present) of mil-blogging is being driven by new blogging platforms, which de-emphasize comments sections — once the engines of blog-traffic and engagement — and, focus on providing to readers a professional-looking (although, somewhat generic) and tablet-friendly visual experience.  The focus is back, on words and content, and reasoned argument.  Authors are often policy analysts, strategists, and/or other communicators.

As I've observed, "journaling" and "journalism" share root words.  It's all about documenting events, making informed arguments, and sharing stories.  Using that definition, I was blogging before there was an Internet.  And, I'll be blogging long after the Internet is put-up onto cinder blocks, as the media and technology change.

The writing is the thing.  With humour…  With argument…  With news-you-can-use…  Even, with poetry.  At some level, it doesn't matter what you're writing, only that you're engaged in the conversation.  That's particularly important as we try to stitch together what the last two wars have meant to our countries and their militaries — and, how we move-out smartly from here.  Every type of writing — literary, genre, professional, academic, journalistic — is an opportunity to bridge the civil-military divide.

Recently, a group of movers, shooters, and communicators established an on-line confederation called The Military Writers Guild.  I'm pleased to find that it seems to be a mix of young turks and salty dogs.  There are digital immigrants and digital natives.  There are soldiers and sailors and fellow travelers — and all of them, naturally, are story-tellers.

The mil-blog isn't dead — long live the mil-blog — and, keep writing!

 

If you're a member of the defence community, what has blogging — whether you're a contributor and/or subscriber — done for you?  Leave your responses in the comments section.  If you're a member of the defence community, and would like to contribute an article(s) to this Web site, please get in contact with me.

 
Categories:  Social Media  
Tags:  Self, Writing

 
Syndicated to:

 
References:

  1. 10 Talking Points Prior to a Mil-Blog Conference
    by Charlie Sherpa Published: 
    Referenced: 
  2. First Impressions of meeting with the President
    by The Armorer Published: 
    Referenced: 
  3. 'Milbloggers' are typing their place in history
    by Mark Memmott Published: 
    Referenced: 
  4. MilBlogging Influencer Conference
    by Milblogging Referenced: 
  5. The Military Writers Guild
    by Innominate Referenced: 

 

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Creative Commons Licence :: BY-NC-SA James W.D. Stewart by James Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  Based on a work at https://github.com/jwds1978/jwds1978.github.io.