ArmyTimes Article on Army Bloggers (and their tips for bloggers)
Date Published: 08 March 2005
Unfortunately they missed ArmyAdvice.org, but all the same, the latest issue of ArmyTimes has a story on Army Bloggers. There are quite a few out there, and I’ve just added ArmyAdvice to the MilBlogs webring, something I’ve been meaning to do for some time.
The print version also included 10 tips for posting your blog, which I can’t seem to find on the ArmyTimes website. I don’t think they will mind if I rephrase them here so I can add my $.02 (and if they do mind I’m sure they will let me know):
- Determine logistic needs (lists a few free blog sites). This (armyadvice.org) is the only free blog site I know of that is strictly for Army bloggers (but feel free to comment if there are others I’m unaware of).
- Have someone stateside maintain the site (since Internet connectivity from warzones can be fickle). Again, not an issue for this site, since it is professionally maintained by Orcswebon my dime.
- Write under the assumption that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and your mom will be reading (quotingGreyhawk of Mudville Gazette). Good advice.
- Always remember Operational Security (opsec). Definitely. Do not discuss numbers, times, dates, specific units. It’s best not to write about anything involving combat operations until well after the fact, and take your cues from news services as to what is already public knowledge. When in doubt, talk to your commander and public affairs.
- Listen to your chain of command and remember your job is to be a soldier, not a blogger. Good advice.
- Write often; don’t hold back. This is good blogging advice, but must be tempered by the previous tips. Obviously, you have to hold back if you are to observe OPSEC. But there are so many mundane things you can write about that people at home will be interested in. How you feel today. What chow was like. Some funny story that happened with ‘the guys’ today. Those are the kinds of things people aren’t seeing on CNN and want to know firsthand from people who are right there.
- Retain legal advice before blogging. Getting legal advice is never a bad idea. I’m not sure I would stress it for an Army blogger, though, since soldiers aren’t subject to the same legal system as civilians. Thus, talking to JAG, your chain of command, and public affairs would all be more worthwhile, I think, than a civilian lawyer.
- Blogs can be ready by anyone with Internet access – think of each entry as a press release. This just seems so obvious to me I’m not sure I would have listed it as a ‘tip’.
- You can make money blogging. True, if you get enough visitors, you can make some money as well as offer your story and advice to others.
- Just try it, but remember it isn’t easy. Sticking with it is the hardest part. Personally I find it therepeutic to write in my blog from time to time. While I was deployed it was an easy way for me to update everybody back home on how I was doing. Even a mundane post about the weather would be enough to everybody I was still ok, without my needing to send dozens of individual emails. And the nice thing about blogs is that you can leave them and come back to them later, although the most popular blogs are updated frequently.
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.