Gentlemen Prefer Blogs

Recently the Small Wars Journal blog, a superb site for professional information and discussion, printed a note from Vice Admiral John C. Harvey, Jr., director, Navy Staff. The comment initially appeared in the U.S. Naval Institute blog

Here’s Harvey’s take. (Check out the Small Wars Journal blog. It’s worth reading.)

“… We just need to remain steady in our approach and steadfast in our resolve, and I think we’ll come through the next few years of ongoing conflict and economic crisis in fine fashion. There’s lots of opportunities in every crisis, and we’re poised to take advantage of them.

With respect to your comment concerning participation in the blogosphere and the upcoming milbloggers conference, let me speak pretty plainly — most of the blogs I’ve dropped in on and read on a regular basis leave me pretty cold. Too many seem to be interested in scoring cheap — and anonymous — hits vice engaging in meaningful and professional exchanges. There is also a general lack of reverence for facts and an excess of emotion that, for me, really reduces the value of the blog. Incorrect/inaccurate data and lots of hype might be entertaining for some, but it just doesn’t work for me.

My best example of a truly worthwhile blog — worthy of our time and intellectual engagement — is the Small Wars Journal. The tone is always professional, the subject matter is compelling, and the benefit from participating is significant.

All that said, here I am — I recognize the reality of the blogosphere and the potential that exists for worthwhile exchanges that enhance our professional knowledge and overall awareness. My intent is to continue to participate when I can and where I see I can make a contribution to a professional exchange, but my view today is that the bloggers generally see their activity as far more meaningful than I do right now. I do, however, remain hopeful.”

It seems our style at “Inside the Headquarters” might not be Harvey’s thing. With rough length limits, one irreverent sentence can be worth hundreds of words, and we rely on myriad conventions to communicate the information and take some chances while we’re doing it. Our comment at both blogs:

Harvey is correct on some points, and many blog authors are frustrated by inaccurate content. It negatively reflects on defense blogs as a whole.

That said, there are accurate blogs designed to inform and entertain. They often are provocative and irreverent. They target different audiences. They pique interest and can be a call to action. Their authors look at things a little differently. Our blogs are a 250-300 word snapshot of a topic.

At Inside the Headquarters, we’re accurate and often irreverent. Yeah, we’ve received calls from senior leaders, though no one has questioned our accuracy.

Harvey is correct: Small Wars Journal is superb. But tastes vary, and there is a professional place for the less conventional.

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