Military Blogging Goes Mainstream

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A long, long time ago — in the year 2003, to be exact — when Facebook was a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye and twittering was still for birds, blogging was the now thing. For troops heading to war, it was a revelation. Through personal blogs, they could send letters home to friends and relatives in a single dispatch. They could mock commanding officers in ribald, and anonymous, prose. They could describe combat with the immediacy of Ernie Pyle, without the filter of actual editors. Many discovered, to their shock and glee, that thousands of strangers were reading their posts. A new genre was born, milblogging. By 2007, there were thousands of military blogs, written by not just troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but also parents, spouses and veterans. They even had their own aggregator, Milblogging.com, created by an early practitioner, a soldier named Jean-Paul Borda. But in the years since, the military blogging world has changed considerably. There are fewer blogs about combat today and many more about life back home. And the Pentagon, which once tried to control or even shut down bloggers, has now joined the social media craze. Generals blog, the armed services all have Twitter accounts, and scores of company and battalion commanders maintain Facebook pages. What once had the hint of sassy independence or even underground rebellion has gone mainstream.


Military Blogging Goes Mainstream