Thursday, October 15, 2009

They also serve: Spose Bloggers

The panel Begins with C. Blake Powers, aka Laughing Wolf, this year's executive director of the MilBlog Track, reading welcome letters from GEN Ordierno and  GEN Petraeus.

Panel: Tammy Munson, householdsix
Barmy Mamma
Delta Whiskey

They discussed how things Spouses may blog about  can sometimes have a negative impact on their husband's career.

Jihad Gene asked about a standard of OPSEC (operational security) and how spouses know how far they can go when writing about their spouses' activities.   Tammy scrubs posts for locations, names, etc. but there is certain information that has to remain or the story becomes too impersonal.

Barmy Mama blogs because she wants to let her FRG know what's going on, rather than sending out mass emails.  He husband is the unit's historian, and asked her to set up the blog.  The good thing about the blog vice other means of communication is that people beyond the FRG--extended family, friends, etc. can feel like they are included, and can stay in touch with their soldier and each other.

Tammy's husband was recently reprimanded for a post she wrote.  CJ asks "Do you think, since the Army has publicly embraced blogging, but then come down on soldiers who write contrary opinions, that spousebloggers will increase in telling the soldier's story, if the soldiers become "gun-shy" about blogging?"  Barmy Mamma already tries to be very careful about what she writes, because it will come back on her husband, officially or otherwise, and tries not to share details that will identify him personally.  Keeping her name anonymous helps her to say what she (or her husband) really thinks, without fear of retribution.

Tammy identifies herself on her blog, and has had soldiers contact her and tell her that they can't say what they want because of fear of retribution.  (Again, official or unofficial retribution.)

Mrs. Greyhawk identifies that National Guard/Reserve units FRGs could greatly benefit from a unit blog, especially one run by a spouse.  Delta Whiskey agrees, because there's a book called "What to expect when you're expecting" but no "What to expect when you're husband's deploying."  What does a new-to-the-Army spouse need to know?  What things will she need to have or do if her husband deploys?  These are recurring issues, I (Chuck) thinks the Active Force does a pretty decent job of this, but the geographic separation of individuals in the NG/USAR can definitely cause an exponential level of difficulty for sharing information with the spouses.  NG/USAR Spouses writing a group blog, and getting official sponsorship from the Army and NG Bureau, with input from experienced spouses to write and share what to expect would be tremendously effective for communicating the message.

Back to OPSEC and spousebloggers:  Loose tweets sink ships.  You may be excited because Johnny will be flying home tomorrow, but keep it off Twitter!  Flights, movements, etc.--just use your brain.

Question:  What are some of the good things that you've found from the Army's official Social Media networks?  Tammy has used the various official twitter feeds to get specific questions answered, but none of the panelists really don't see much value in the current efforts, or don't know what is out there.  DW chides the USAF for not doing much to teach spouses what to expect.

Blake asks:
Best Moment as spouseblogger
    Tammy:  Work with a wounded PFC recovering from wounds--medical needs were met, but had lots of trouble dealing with the stress.  His 1SG asked spousebloggers to "send some love."  The outpouring of love from the various spouses directly helped his recovery.
     Barmy Mama:  The feedback she's gotten from doing things for charity.  She's written about things she's done/doing, and the outpouring of help has been amazing.
     Delta Whiskey:  The number of people who've asked her for ways to show support for the troops, and her ability to help them. 
Worst moment
   Tammy:  When people attacked her personally for something she and her husband wrote about how they felt, the troubles they've had, and things they've been through.  People also attacked her husband personally and professionally.
    Barmy Mama:  No bad moments--yet.
     Delta Whiskey:  Being told that since her husband wasn't currently deployed, her blogging wasn't important.

Greyhawk:  Have any of you gotten feedback from spouses Chain of Command?
Tammy:  Fort Carson has pushed back--hard.  They don't want spouses blogging, thy don't want soldiers blogging, and have asked her to take down posts that didn't violate OPSEC, were personal experiences, and were factual.  She refused, but maintains her husband's unit and Fort Carson have tried to make it difficult for her and her husband.
Barmy Mamma:  Unit really supported her blog.
Delta Whiskey:  Nobody reads my blog.


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