by RAE in New Trends on Saturday 28 April 2012

While most of us have the luxury of browsing this site for all things shiny, we might forget there is still a war very much being waged in Afghanistan. Sure there may be an occasional short segment on the nightly newscast about what’s happening thousands of miles away but for the families who stay awake at night wondering if their loved ones are safe on the battlefield, the lines of communication are often nil.

That silence became a lot less deafening when two-time TED Fellowship recipient and award-winning photo-journalist Teru Kuwayama decided to embed himself and a small team of “mobile media operators” with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. Using only an Iphone and social media, the Basetrack team began communicating with the Marines’ loved ones and those interested in real-time news of the war. It started there and got ‘too big, too fast’ where the military abruptly shut down Basetrack, fearing possible breach of security or a military network “going negative” on the Afghanistan campaign. Since then, other military units decided this type of connection was like a form of ‘life support’ to people back in the US and invited Kuwayama back to replicate the project. Kuwayama’s end goal is to re-engage a broader public with the longest war in US history.