Where to begin...
It was incredible, once again, to meet so many people whom I admire. And it was great to reconnect with old friends. I'm already looking forward to next year.
In looking back at last year's MBC posts, I realize that this year's conference had a decidedly different feel to it. Partly due to the change in location and partly due to the fact that it was a slightly different crowd. I'm sure there is more to it but those were the two biggest factors, in my opinion.
As wonderful as it was to have hooked up with BlogWorld Expo, I can't say I am fan of Vegas when it comes to the MilBlogging Conference. I think that Washington, D.C. was a better location. I understand that logistically, and probably financially, it made sense to do it in Vegas (not to mention the fact that it's a heckuva lot easier to fly from Hawaii to Vegas than it is to fly from Hawaii to D.C.) but I'd prefer to have it in D.C. There's just something about D.C.
The panels were pretty good. I think the second panel actually answered the question posed in the FIRST panel better than the first panel answered it's own question. When you have to ask yourself whether you're still relevant, chances are that you are not.
I do think that the panelists in Panel 1 did a good job of clarifying their thoughts and explaining their individual motivations for blogging. Greyhawk pointed out that readership numbers are not the significant metric when it comes to justifying a blog. And CJ really got at the heart of the matter in that he will never set foot in a psychologist's office and that his shrink is at WordPress.
***My plane is about to board so I'll continue this later...***
Continuing on with Panel 1...Ward Carroll does not need to moderate any more panels. Ever. He fails to understand what "moderate" means and, on several occasions, overshadowed the panelists and the discussion with his sidebar comments and pot-stirring "insights". The point of a moderator is to facilitate the conversation, not dominate it.
The discussion came up concerning the reason for the decline in blogging by those IN theatre. Career concerns were put forth as a reason - pressure from above and concern over the career ramifications were set forth as a possible cause. Semper Fi's husband suggested an alternative theory - that it is not a strategic level issue but more of a tactical issue (and forgive me if I messed that up. I can't recall exactly what he said and I'm waiting for clarification which I'll post once I get.).
Secretary Geren made the point in the third panel that soldiers who blog from in theatre are the best ambassadors for the Army (when it's done properly). And he's right. But blogging while deployed is a risk and one that not many - especially senior NCOs and the lower enlisted side of the house - are willing to take. I would love to see more senior NCOs blogging - I think that their insight into the situation on the ground at that moment is priceless.
Bouhammer made the point in Panel 4 that, as opposed to the rate of information flow back in WWII (think "Letters From Iwo Jima"), blogging captures today what happened TODAY. He made the point that it was like comparing Generation Kill and Band of Brothers in terms of how quickly the stories are now told. In fact, I think they are told SO fast that many of fail to grasp just HOW important those stories are until a little bit of time has passed and perspective has been gained.
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering what John Donovan was talking about when he referred to the "mall guard uniform" in his question to GEN Bergner, here you go:
***Looks like my flight from LAX to home is finally about to board (we've been delayed by over 4 hours on top of a 4 hour layover. Ick) so I'll stop now and write more later. Stay tuned! ***