Instead of representing Communicators Anonymous, I was at Blog World Expo this year representing my day job employer, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES or commonly referred to as the BX/PX). AAFES is developing new media tools to better communicate with our military community. What better place to go to begin to understand the milblog community than this conference?
LTG William Caldwell then addressed the audience with opening remarks via video. By empowering his staff to tell the military story, LTG Caldwell expressed the necessity to confront change with change. "Information is currency," said LTG Caldwell. It was evident that he means what he says, but led to the question of the day - Is this openness to new media trickling down to tactical level?
LTG Caldwell requested "what happens in Vegas (at the Milblog Conference) is heard around the world." (Not sure he meant the Penthouse party.) Thanks to eMail Our Military (eMOM), this message is being syndicated to a larger military audience! Be assured, you were well represented.
The first panel addressed the relevance of milblogs. Panelists included, Ward Carrol of Military.com, Phil Carter of Intel Dump and Obama for America, Matt Burden of Blackfive, Greyhawk of The Mudville Gazette and MilBlogs and CJ Grisham of Soldier's Perspective. Undoubtedly, the milblog is still needed, but roles are evolving. There remains a tension between op sec and enlightened information, however, dialogue between is open. To CJ, Wordpress remains his psychologist and his blog is relevant as long as the author deals with his demons. For Matt, his blog and mission is evolving to more main stream media content and that scares him. All agree the stories are not just about the war, but of the American patriot family and good of our country.
"The vision of human liberty unfolds with each post." -General James Cartwright
Lauren Vargas, Community Relations Manger at AAFES, is based in Dallas, Texas. She is a well known public relations blogger and speaker who has developed an expertise in integrating social media tools into marketing and business strategy.