Wednesday 9 January 2008

Milblogging: how it might change military history

Whenever I read milblogs and hear people talking about them, I become more convinced that blogging must transform the whole discipline of military history.

In the first instance, understanding morale, combat cohesion, and the battlefield experience of Afghanistan and Iraq should be much easier than previous wars. No need to go searching through the archives or getting hold of family letters that have been locked away in an attic for 50 odd years. Instead, you can log on to the Internet and track down some blogs. You'll also have access to photos and video.

Second, I believe the insights into combat provided by bloggers might help us understand previous wars. Bloggers' willingness to share their personal feelings, for example, might provide valuable insights into PTSD. This knowledge could then be used to re-approach studies of 'shell-shock' during World War One, where the condition was barely recognised, let alone discussed.

Third, military historians will have to get to grips with understanding blogs as a source. Blogs may still often resemble the personal diaries that soldiers in previous eras kept but they have significant and fairly obvious differences.

Historians will have to understand why people blog; what their motivations are; how the process of writing on a computer differs from writing with ink on a page; what difference publication, reaction and comment makes to a blog; the extent to which military censorship of a blog is similar or different to censorship in the past.


Nixon said...

I get so jazzed about milblogs just because they are a straight forward outlook that doesn't have the traditional political agendas of the mainstream media. Awesome.

skyline.colors said...

I do agree with u. I am an Iraqi high school student, I recently began blogging. And I have to say that it is a great platform for me to convey a message to the world.

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