AN OPEN PLEA TO MILBLOGGERS |
June 17, 2009
AN OPEN PLEA TO MILBLOGGERS
Name: Old Blue
Posting date: 6/17/09
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog: Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure
There is a disturbing trend among milbloggers; they fade away. So many who have written during their deployments come home and eventually shut down their blogs.The groundswell of on-the-spot literature detailing the experiences of so many and giving unique insights into the minds of America's fighting few is as temporary as a Facebook profile or a Yahoo Personals ad. That's a loss, because we few, we happy few, we band of bloggers, are writing history and then deleting it.
Last year I was contacted by a graduate student in history who sought permission to archive my blog. I'm sure I was not the only one. In a recent conversation a friend of mine, Susan, a PhD Professor of Journalism who is fascinated by the phenomenon of milblogging, lamented two things. First, the fact that so many female milbloggers just go away, as they provide a unique insight into a war in which females have shared the burden as in no other. Second, the fact that so many milbloggers cannot find what we decided to call a "post-deployment voice." I know I struggled with this, and a quick check of my archives after my return from the lumpy sandbox will show the struggle. Eventually, I found that voice. Many don't.
Susan also pointed out that there are dozens of Iraqi blogs that are maintained even if the principal author is killed. These are insurgent blogs, and at this rate their history will overshadow our own. Win the war, lose the history. Hey, it's happened before. It's not like there aren't, or won't be, any revisionists out there. Ask a holocaust survivor.
Troy, the author of Bouhammer, and I discussed this as well. He had the same trouble. We talked about the number of blogs out there, some quite popular while the author was in a theater of combat, which just faded away, and eventually were removed from the rolls of the blogosphere. Some of these bloggers had their own domains and perhaps just got tired of paying for them. Some just quit writing, but instead of leaving the blog up they deactivated it or deleted it.
Here is my plea: Don't delete your blog. Please don't delete your blog. Whether you realize it or not, whether you can find a post-deployment voice or not, whether or not you feel that you can share the experiences of being a veteran warrior returning to a country that seems to have forgotten or chooses to ignore, please don't delete your blog. You have written history, and someday there will be those who wish to know what you saw, how you felt, how the events such as the summits, the conferences, the elections, the official high level stuff that others will care to prognosticate, spin, alter and otherwise fold, spindle or mutilate affected you as an entity who wore one pair of boots. Someday your story may affect someone's perception of how the big picture looked, and how your little picture fit into the big picture.
It's bigger than you. If you are paying for a domain and you wish to stop, get a blogspot address and import your old posts. Please. It's too easy.
Every historian wants to be the one who unearths the next treasure trove of long-forgotten letters from the front in an old trunk in an attic. We have done more documentation of this war from the ground level than any other war. Except this war, which has been so well documented via electrons, is likely to be the least well-documented for posterity because electrons fade away or are deleted.
So, from one blogger to another (among thousands of others), please keep your blog up on the net, even if you never write in it again.
Readers, if you have a favorite milblog that has disappeared, put the name and an old link to the blog in the Comments section below this post. We're going to start a list of now-defunct blogs and perhaps we can prevail upon the authors to restore their blogs, if not their voices, to the blogosphere.