Um, that title up there is a gross exaggeration/mis-statement (i.e. lie) on my part.
While our traffic here is still strong (but not as strong as it once was), there is no doubt that blogs in general have less attention than they used to enjoy due to the every day addition of new social media platforms. Military blogs are no exception.
Not too long ago, we pointed to the Thunder Run's two posts - here and here - about the dearth of military blogs and why they are dwindling. One reason that I agree with the Thunder Run's take on this is that I debated the DoD and the Army's PAOs on national radio and television about the crackdown on military bloggers, and I understand the policy, the inherent reasons commanders have for not wanting bloggers in their commands, OPSEC issues, etc.
If it seems like there are less and less military blogs than in, say, 2006, I think you'd be spot on. I want you to think about the last time you knew of five or ten enlisted combat bloggers that you read in one day, or even one week. Remember Eighty-Deuce on the Loose, Army of Dude, Questing Cat, Colby Buzzel, A Soldier's Perspective, Sniper Eye, Boots in Baghdad, A Day in Iraq, This Is Your War, Dadmanly, American at Heart, Rebel Coyote, Six More Months, Ma Deuce Gunner, Sergeant Hook, etc etc etc? And those are just some of the enlisted guys (some have been given access here to post when they want to). Combat Officers have been shut down too...
...With today’s social media tools, it is very much alive; and with the backing of the Defense Department, it has become more mainstream than ever.
There is some truth to the criticism: traditional blogging platforms, like Blogger and WordPress, occupy an ever-waning middle ground between mainstream media and Web 2.0 tools...
The major issue I have with this is that Major Burke proposes that issue is the platforms rather than the policies that are silencing the voice of the combat soldier. Well, that, and every example he gives are officer/general officer blogs or veterans (like me) who are free to blog/twitter/facebook about whatever we want to. It's not a reason to celebrate...
I agree that social media platforms have diluted the appeal of "blogs" as a platform, but that's not why soldiers stopped blogging. And they don't use FB and Twitter the same way that you would write a blog post about a patrol or an interaction with the locals (not to mention the cathartic nature provided by posting about your experience). You can't do with 140 characters what you could with a blog.
And as for the official blogs of the Flag Officers, go read them. They are sterile, heartless, and not what people want to read when they are searching for what is really happening on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Kosovo, or STWCSTM*. We have had some good interaction here with general officers ("Hi, guys!") who read Blackfive and even use this blog to engage in a conversation.
See? This is what blogging is about. It's about having a conversation. As a soldier, you can't have a real discussion in a public forum because of policy.
This is why they are dying. Or are already flat-lined.
And they sure as hell are not embraced by the Army or DoD. Sorry, man, as much as I wish that were true, that is just full-on, hard-core, propaganda bullshit.
*Some Third World Country Shittier Than Mexico