A New Forum For Our Troops

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A brand new blog/forum: us-troops, is looking for current or former members of the U.S. military to share their day-to-day experiences or memories of life in a war zone. The author of this blog, Susan Rowen, has dedicated this forum to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines as a place where they can talk about their lives, their hopes, their fears and their plans and communicate with some of their greatest fans, American bloggers.

If you are a current or recent member of the military and have something you would like to share, this is a great place to share it — this is, as I said before, a brand new blog and a brand new forum; and right now us-troops is looking for its first of what will hopefully be many posts from our troops. Your pictures and videos are very welcome along with your thoughts and experiences but please, lets keep this a place where entire families can come to meet the people who have kept them safe and learn from them what it means to be in the military, without being exposed to unnecessary profanity or scenes of blood or gore.

Soldiers May Ask: Why We Want to Know

We want to know about you and communicate with you through this blog because, as ‘corny’ as it may sound to some, you ladies and gentlemen in the U.S. military, who have given up a considerable piece of your lives to fight for us and for your country, are our heros! Each and every one of you deserve (and have earned) a special place in our lives and deserve to have whatever we can give you in return for your service — this space on the Internet is just symbolic of our real debt.

The public is constantly presented with the views of journalists, politicians, educators and other “experts” who gladly color our involvement in the Middle-East (and other places) with ‘brush strokes’ that enhance their own personal political perspectives and it is about time the public heard the real story from the real experts, those of you who are doing the fighting, the peace-keeping, the training and the re-building; those of you who have earned that moniker: our heros!

To Join Us

To join the forum, simply go to us-troops and click on the “forum US-troops” link to register. Hope to ‘see’ many of you there!

This post is being sponsored by the us-troops website and forum and has the wholehearted endorsement of “My View From the Center”.

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Bashing the Blogosphere

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by Whymrhymer

In Sunday’s “Between the Lines” column on ZDNet, bloggers had the opportunity to preview some of the thoughts of Andrew Keen, the author of a soon to be released (June 5th) book titled “The Cult of the Amateur.” The subtitle of Keen’s book is very telling: “how the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values;” the democratization of the digital world is, of course, a reference to bloggers, specifically non-professional bloggers.

Add to that title/subtitle pairing the following quote from Keen’s book and you’ll begin to get the feeling that Keen is no more than an intellectual snob; an elitist who, one might surmise, would love to see restrictions placed on who is allowed to publish a blog and perhaps even what they would be allowed to say.

Here’s the ‘money quote’ from Keen’s new book:

“. . . instead of creating masterpieces, these millions and millions of exuberant monkeys [Internet users] — many with no more talent in the creative arts than our primate cousins — are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity.”

If you don’t feel sufficiently insulted and/or diminished from that small quote, I encourage you ‘no talent monkeys’ to run out and pre-purchase your copy of Keen’s book — let him finish the job.

The ZDNet columnist who provides us with this review, as well as his own thoughts on non-professional bloggers, is Dan Farber and while he does not appear to be totally in sync with Mr. Keen’s negative assessment of the blogosphere, he apparently does agree that there is a lot of “noise” out here. Here’s a quote from Mr. Farber:

“Along with the millions of voices churning out blog posts and the long tail of conversations spawned by them comes the noise, and the noise to signal ratio is way out of whack.

The assessment of non-professional bloggers as nothing more than noisemakers certainly broke this camel’s back — that might even be worse than being considered an exuberant, untalented monkey inhabiting a “digital forest of mediocrity.”

In my view, the professionals such as Mr Keene and Mr. Farber are not as worried about the quality of life in the blogosphere as they are about their jobs — jobs that to a major extent rely on that same blogosphere; if I made my living as they do I’d probably be worried too. I’m sure they both realize that any problems there are with the blogosphere will resolve themselves over time; cream will always rise to the top and the majority of readers of blogs will continue to be smart enough to know when facts are being twisted to make a point. And while misinformation may prevail in some (or many) cases in the blogosphere that is also certainly no less true of the main-stream media . . . and it is especially true of columnists and commentators, many of whom have an abundance of opinions, an overabundance of hidden agendas and, consequently, little obeisance to the straightforward reporting of unbiased fact.

Links:

ZDNet’s Between the Lines: Reflections on the first decade of blogging

The Blog Herald: Blogging Making Publications Bans Impossible To Enforce?

From the blogosphere:

Squash: 10 things I learnt about blogging in a year

Webomatica: I Don’t Read Newspapers, But I’d Read Your Blog

News and commentary by: Whymrhymer can also be found at the Blogger News Network and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals