Saturday, March 22

War Blogs

The invasion of Iraq is a very different kind of war in more ways than just the shock-and-awe tactics employed by the Allies. According to a report from Lisa Bowman on, advances in technology are giving people around the world immediate insight into war-related events--and people's feelings about them--more than ever before. And, she says, no medium is doing it faster than the blog.

Elizabeth Lawley, an assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology's department of information technology, said blogging has made the conflict with Iraq much more human. "When we went into Vietnam, television changed how people saw the war," Lawley said. "I think blogging is going to do the same for this war." According to Lawley, during previous conflicts people had to turn to op-ed pieces or water-cooler gossip to tap into feelings about the conflict. Now anyone with an internet connection can scour the web and find like-minded blogs or those that give a snapshot of life in a country at war. "Blogs give us a global forum to do what we already do in the hallways," she said.

Indeed, war blogs are quickly moving up the list of the most popular blogs according to, a site that tracks the popularity of the web diaries based on the number of links they get. One of the most widely linked-to blogs is "Where is Raed?" which run by a man living in Baghdad. The blog--which can be found at the every day life of an Iraqi dealing with the realities of war, including frustrations with bank closures and two-hour waits to buy gas.

Blogs by conservative commentators are also attracting thousands of links--but don't look for similar success among liberals, Lawley said. "The left has been much less effective in leveraging this technology," Lawley said. "In the same way that conservative groups have used talk radio to reach people, they have been effective using blogs as well." Interesting development, isn't it? The conservatives are more progressive than the progressives--at least in this regard.

Of course, we all pretty well knew that this was going to be a technological war--with smart payloads, precision missile strikes, and tele-communications psyop hijinks galore. But who could have ever predicted that the conflict would thrust personal technologies like video phones and web logs to the forefront of public awareness and cultural discourse?