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ClearedJobs.Net’s Kathleen Smith recaps, shares thoughts on MilBlogging conference 2009

Posted by Kathleen Smith

milbloggingHaving attended many conferences over the years from internet marketing to defense and intelligence, I did not know what to expect when I signed up the MilBlogging 2009 conference that took place in Arlington, VA on April 24-25.

I had heard about the conference on Twitter. On Twitter, there is a large and dedicated military community of active and retired military personnel from all branches of the military, spouses, children, charities and anyone and everyone connected in some way to the military. The passion with which these people reach out, connect and support each other is truly remarkable and it reminds me of the commitment and sacrifice that our servicemen and servicewomen as well as there families make each and every day.

How MilBlogging came to be…

What an amazing group or people this was to meet! This conference consisted of about 150 people committed to blogging. Jean Paul Borda, who can be found at @MilBlogging on Twitter,  started this event to keep in touch with friends and family while he was deployed in September 2005. Prior to Milblogging, Borda ran a military blog from Afghanistan while he was deployed with the Army National Guard during Operation Enduring Freedom. His original military blog, The National Guard Experience, was written as a means to stay in touch with family, friends, and supporters while on deployment.

Frustrated by a lack of media coverage on the positive accomplishments of the U.S. Military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wanting an easy way to find military blogs, Borda decided during his deployment to create an aggregator site of military-related blogs from around the world. The domain name “Milblogging.com” was registered in late 2005 after Borda returned home from deployment, and the website was developed over the following months.*

This small beginning evolved into a passionate movement with the creation of even more passionate groups that connect all branches of the military, different levels of the military, military spouses children and charities who support the military

This year’s conference took place in one of the smaller ballrooms at the Westin Arlington. Usually in a small room, I tend to get a bit nervous but any nerves I had today were overshadowed by how humbled I was at the energy and commitment in the room.

Mind blowing surprise!

I had missed the opening receptions the night before as well as the morning presentations since I had been attending other events inside the beltway but I finally made it to the afternoon presentation which was completely mind blowing! I walked into the room and there on the large screen was Major General Oates calling in from Iraq! General Oates, who is a blogger himself, was sharing his strategies on everything from blogging to how to keep his troops informed and their morale up. It was very clear that in every part of the military blogging is a main source of communication and collaboration.

Well-deserved respect and recognition

It was also gratifying to see that these passionate bloggers are getting the respect and recognition they deserve. Prior to the conference, many key individuals who are recognized leaders of this community were invited to special conference at the Pentagon to meet with the U.S. Army Public Affairs as well with other key military officials to not only talk about these new communication tools but some of the key topics in the blogs such as the public perception of the military and veterans affairs. The morning before the conference 7 key bloggers were given a private tour of the White House, and one blogger was able to sneak out a Tweet on Twitter before heading into key areas of the White House.

Afternoon presentations

The afternoon presentations ranged from Taking Care of Our Veterans to New Media Agora (marketplace). What is most compelling is that there are many stories out there from military spouses not being prepared for PTSD to confirming that our large war strategy will not win the small wars, and that this information is shared by thousands of bloggers worldwide.

Charity auction concludes conference

The final event of the conference was an auction to raise funds for Soldiers Angels. The one auction item was a Super Bowl 34 baseball cap signed by over 20 famous football stars. This worthy cause truly deserves the funds it raises to help our military and yours truly was only very happy to keep the bidding rising as much as I (and my bank account) could withstand. We are now the happy owner of a wonderful piece of sports paraphernalia and it will show up again somewhere to raise fund for another great group.

All posts from the conference can be found here:
http://www.milblogging.com/index.php?category=15

…and the Milblog Conference on Twitter used the hashtag #mlblgconf2009.

* From About US on MilBlogging

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:39 am

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