Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Assault on Web 2.0

As today's The Washington Post covers how "Blogs Chronicle War from Soldiers' Perspectives," there is bad news out about how Defense Department regulations are curtailing the online speech of military bloggers. The same day Wired reports that the "Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death" and publishes the Pentagon's new rules, which include prohibitions on uncleared e-mail.

This blog has been reporting about how the military has attempted to control the informational practices of its soldiers and determine how they constitute online communities. Some of this is obviously part of a policy of message control, when regrettable user-generated content like these Iraqi boys running for a water bottle reaches the public. I would argue that it is part of a larger cultural clash in which the culture of knowledge (represented by institutions like the military) is threatened by an emerging culture of distributed information. National Public Radio reported on the military's YouTube channel this afternoon in "U.S. Military Uses YouTube to Get Its Story Out." Apparently the current multimedia offerings feature a kidnapped man being returned to his family and soldiers blowing up soccer balls for youngsters. See the Virtualpolitik take on the site's launch here.

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