The question in many people’s mind is “Why is there a military track at Blog World?” The answer is that members of the military (as opposed to the military itself) have been at the forefront of using and pushing the boundaries of new and social media. As they have done so, the military and a host of other institutions have begun to take new and social media seriously.
Milblogs have long served two distinct and important purposes. A number of them were started simply to keep family and friends informed about a particular individual, or a small group of
people. They let those interested know how they were doing, what it was like wherever they were, and some of what was going on at that location. Others started up to share broader information with those interested, to overcome the lack of reporting and in-depth analysis of events and plans, and – in some cases – bad information.
For the first time in history, a broad audience could have access to current information on events, activities, conditions, and much more at the front lines – as well as the rear, the middle, and even during transit. Those blogging from overseas helped push both the technological
envelope for new media, as well as the social envelope by helping establish that blogging was an effective and responsible means of sharing information.
As social media evolved, these same groups of people began to use Facebook and other platforms, then Twitter, and, well, you get the idea. As members of the military have moved forward on various fronts, they have also helped advance new and social media in the process.
Today, members of the military are still pushing those envelopes. As new platforms and technology are emerging and evolving, they are being given a trial by fire, in some cases literally. As they demonstrate the maturity and/or the efficacy of platforms and technology, they are also showcasing the effective and innovative uses to the world.
This year, we have an interesting line-up of panels in the military track that we hope you will consider attending. They are not just for the military or even the military-interested public: they are for those interested in innovative uses of social and new media, tech and
use trends, how social media can be done and how it works under less than ideal conditions, and even those interested in separating myths from reality. We even hope to have a surprise or two for you:
Panel 1: Surprise for now
Panel 2: Social Media: Force Multiplier for Spouses?
Panel 3: Media and the Military: Myth versus Reality
Panel 4: Ideal versus Field: Social and New Media In Less Than The Best Circumstances
Yeah, we are still working on that last title…
In the days ahead, you will be hearing more about each panel and the participants, and even getting to meet the participants a bit. We are not out to recruit; we are not out to debate tactics, and we are not out to bore anyone. What we plan to do is talk about new and social media and explore its use, its future, and trends that will be of interest to all. With a bit of context from a specialized group that has pushed the envelope and helped shape what is and what is to come.
C. Blake Powers
Blake Powers has been blogging since 2003 at laughingwolf.net and milblogging as Civilian-in-Residence at http://www.blackfive.net since 2005. He is a consultant on new and social media and has reported as a blogger from Iraq.
His background includes working as a project manager on several Spacelab missions, serving as Director of Outreach for NASA’s Space Product Development Program, worked for the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, working with (and serving as furniture for) wolves, and has co-founded the charity Cooking with the Troops.
Yes, that is a real wolf in the photo.