Review 2249

What’s GI Party, you ask? Well, let’s quote the people who run it. GI Party, according to Keith Morris one of the brains behind it, is a “website dedicated to offering insight into a military world through blogging”, and offers the ability “to publish entries to their own personal journals hosted on GiP so as to allow friends and family to keep up with the lives of those in the military”. Going on, Keith hopes, “/c/ivilians who might be considering a life of service could also come here to get a variety of perspectives on life in the military”, a surely honorable task.

GI Party currently hosts about two dozen blogs, each of which is maintained by a member of one armed force or another. Most recent blog entries are also reflected on GIParty’s front page, a quick first glance offers ten postings in four days, most of which are blog-the-news two-liners and in-house advertising for TroopTrax, a project aiming to send music to our brethren in arms in Kuwait.

Before I take you on a dive into the guts of GIParty, a quick glance at graphical and typographical execution seems justified. Graphically, this is certainly a good blog, its layout is fresh, the content nicely ordered, and most pages look equally good under Safari (that’s the KHTML engine), Mozilla/Gecko and Internet Explorer. Overall, a not too graphics heavy site, with well placed specks of color and imagery sprinkled throughout. Having two dozen bloggers under one standardized interface warrants some kind of “about this blogger” page, and sure enough, each individual blog sports a short description of the serviceperson in charge at the top of each entry. Nice one, there. Navigational elements are severely lacking, however. From each individual entry, visitors are only able to either jump to the bloggers archive page, his or her most current entry and the blogs front page. A ‘next’ and ‘previous’ entry navigation element would do wonders to improve the otherwise clunky site layout.

On to the content, shall we? Of course it should come as no surprise to find most blog authors leaning slightly right of the political center, and fairly opinionated when it comes to governmental and military affairs. Sgt. Mac, a 54 year old former Air Policeman, offers stories from the past as well as his take on current affairs, most of which are lengthy, well written, pieces. His blog I enjoyed, reading quite a chunk of his archived stories, until the ever-nagging cat of mine started reminding me to feed and pet him. Returning from my parental duties, I checked out Tina’s blog. Shorter, mostly egocentered, entries tell stories about her current life, the kind of blog exactly aimed towards the “friends and family”, GIParty’s mission statement mentions above.

Of the 24 bloggers, let me mention a last one by name. A long time ago, I met a certain SPC Schwarz, who’d later entertain millions of web surfers with his “213 things, Skippy can’t do” list. Robert Brewington, a relatively new addition to GIParty’s roster, attempts and mostly succeeds in offering is own ‘Things I can’t do’ list. This entry alone is worth the visit, dear reader.

It specialized focus aside, this blog is nothing out of the ordinary, however. Clunky navigation and the lack of good original content in most postings make it hard to recommend it as a steady read, the absence of RSS feeds add to this state considerably. Considering entries such as the collected memories of Sgt. Max, or Robert’s “Can’t Do” list, GIParty is worth a visit or two, though.GI Party

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