Blog: it's better than bad, it's good

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- With the Air Force continuing its transition into the digital communication age, it's no wonder the idea of newspapers are a thing of the past and communication mediums like Facebook, blogging and microblogging (i.e. Twitter) are taking over.

As a journalist, I came up in the Air Force during a time when we were "cutting and pasting" articles onto a tabloid-sized draft sheets before running it through the presses at a local newspaper publisher. We had to select ads from local businesses, make printing plates and get the color perfect before even considering producing 30,000 newspaper copies for delivery the next morning. Though the process was long, I still felt a sense of accomplishment on Thursday afternoons as I heard people unfold the tabloid pages I worked all week to put together.

Nowadays, articles, photos and commentaries -- and in this case, blog posts -- are accessible with just the click of a button. Don't get me wrong, the sense of accomplishment is still there. With this, I actually get immediate feedback from the audience, which is something I never could get with a newspaper except in letters to the editor.

Take for instance the Marines Blog at http://marines.dodlive.mil/. At first glance, this blog has everything one can find in a copy of the New York Times. It's full of news and features, eye-catching photos and most importantly, thought-provoking commentary. In addition to its Twitter feed and feedback sections, one can even link to the Marines' YouTube and Flickr pages. The Marines have a huge following for a reason, the two-way communication. People are able to comment on stories and share "value added" thoughts.

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Most of us communicators give props to the Marines for their incredible ability to share and tell their stories. And we want a following like that!

Like the Marines Blog, the Air Force has one, and your very own Spangdahlem Air Base has one as well.

Spangdahlem Live literally went "live" a few months back to commemorate the inactivation of the 81st Fighter Squadron. Since then, we've highlighted events such as the 606th Air Control Squadron deployment, Air Force Chief of Staff - Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force visit, a few "extreme" re-enlistments, and most recently, Diversity Day.

Now at this point, I'm supposed to throw statistics at you that support my argument about why Spangdahlem Live is the way of the future and how readership has increased since its launch.

But, I'm not.

Instead, I'm just going to ask you to check it out for yourself. We're anxious to hear your input on what you want to see on our blog, and, of course, how we can improve things. Let us know the good, the bad and the ugly.

To find Spangdahlem Live, go to http://spangdahlem.dodlive.mil/.  We look forward to blogging with you.