The Digital Launch Pad

In the digital world, voices all tend toward sounding the same after a while. Bits, bytes, hums and whirs. There is no human voice here, only the sound of electrical charges and discharges. But just the same there is a language. A growing and important form of communication, greater – more powerful – than anything ever devised or envisioned by mankind.

Yes, it could be our downfall. But so, too could have been – and was – said of the printing press. In some senses, it did bring down many. In other more profound ways it provided the power necessary to bring literacy and education to millions upon millions of humans who would never have known the benefit, liberation, freedom and liberty found through education. In this downfall, are found the seeds for the greatest expansion of knowledge ever attained in the history of mankind.

A Matter of Perspective: Is It Not?

Technology is cursed – and blessed – with being a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways: Good and Bad. However, it’s not the sword that initiates the cutting; at least not the initial energy needed to consummate the act. No, the sword is merely an instrument. It must be guided to have influence; we are that influence. It is us – humanity – whom swings the sword: or stops it.

Thus it is how we wield this new ’sword’ which tells the tale of our future as living organisms; as community; as spirits. The power we now have is so mighty – that it pales into near insignificance the pen of yesteryear. The digital world will control our every being. Well, at least to the extent we afford it control.

And that – IS – the key is it not? Personal Responsibility or in another word, Choice. We make the call, as it were, and live with the decisions. Nothing has changed in that scenario. Only now we engage a choice and feel the outcome much faster. A powerful club to wield.

How well we choose, determines the character behind the choosing. How well we live with the errors we make, that will be determined by the level of Personal Responsibility each of us assumes under our own control.

BLOGSTROM: the term

The word BLOGSTROM is a figment of my own creation. Many interesting, stimulating and innovative terms have been attached to this incredible tool we call the Internet. Since making it’s public debut back in the early days of the public technology revolution of the early ’90s, many new and powerful tools have become self-powering entities of and on their own.

Even earlier, when the only thing people knew of the forthcoming Internet … were the few bulletin boards (BB’s) making the rounds on the new-fangled personal computers coming out. The likes of IBM, Tandy/Radio Shack, NorthStar, Phillips, TI, Kaypro, Commadore, Compaq, Altaire, Amiga, HP, Apple and more were a few of the computer platforms that became the hardware (solid) tools of engagement. But the software (fluid) tools of communication were those connectors, evolved from the BBS, we knew as, CompuServe, Delphi, GEnie, Prodigy and others, including the scurge that is still with us, AOL, became our life-links to the new digital communication frontier.

Through these links the pioneers of the digital frontier gained voice. It has been this voice – evolving over the last decade and a half – that we now see being spread through the rapidly developing tools of personal journalism.

Dave Winer, former owner of Userland Software and creator of the first powerful, computer-resident blogging CMS tool, Radio, that brought the BLOG to a recognizable level. Winer began calling the arena in which blogging was taking place – or would be taking place – the blogosphere.

A good enough name. I felt it accurately described the AREA, the space, where the conversation was occurring. But, in my mind, blogosphere did not aptly describe or define the ACTION taking place. Thinking about this lack of definition is what led me to refer to the happening – the real VOICE – the vocal plasma – of what going on in the Blogosphere- as the BLOGSTROM. Thus a technical and working definition for blogstrom could be:


chaotic, turbulent, energy charged whirlpool of change; plasmic exchange of ideas, concepts and connections; the Voice of the Blogosphere.

The word Blogstrom was inspired by a relatively serious study of the word maelstrom. – one of my favorite resources – defines maelstrom as the following:

  • A violent or turbulent situation;
  • A whirlpool of extraordinary size or violence.

I believe this very aptly describes the happenings going on inside – and outside – the blogosphere today.

Blogstrom expresses, by the second, the violent forces of change. Changing much of what is said and how it is said is a condition that is definitely turbulent. The Blogosphere is also a ‘war zone’. Old media are falling right and left – along with the long-held belief that only the trained professionals can – or should even have the right – to dispense news and thought provoking information. This is nothing short of a social coupe! This is a radical change and change is, by nature, violent. But, can it be good if it is so violent a place?

The Blogosphere is a violent and turbulent place. Does this mean it’s not safe?

Well, yes – in some sectors that is true. Just like that same truth applies to certain areas on planet earth: not all are human conflict generated, either. Walking up to a feeding predator – such as a grizzly bear, tiger, lion or lepord – will grant you a very large opportunity to be the viande du jour! Undoubtedly a violent environment – with a high potential for a violent end.

As well, there are many places where one can be within dangerous proximity of such natural violence and yet remain safe: distance, vehicle, containment – of some sort where you can be near, but not in danger. See the violence – even experience it a bit – but, without experiencing damaging results. The blogosphere is quite similar and the blogstrom is our gauge in levels.

The Blogstrom is a whirlpool of immense size and violence; there’s that word again!

A whirlpool – the physical characteristic of water, not the appliance manufacturer! – is, according to…

  • A rapidly rotating current of water; a vortex.

    • Turmoil; whirl.
    • A magnetic, impelling force into which one may be pulled.

Once again, a perfect description of the happening within the blogosphere. It’s not quiet in here! We the bloggers – now podcasters, vidcasters and social networkers – who create and are – the Blogstrom, cause a great amount of uproar, noise, stir and general all-around commotion! That’s what we are. It’s who we are as well.

The Blogstrom is a vortex. again provides us definition for the word vortex:

  • A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it.

Many of us take great delite in ‘playing’ in the very eddies of its fateful vortices. Staying but moments from disaster; daily. That’s the Rush! the Thrill! the Reason… we continue on dancing the step of dare with the ebb and flow of the Blogstrom.

Eventually, everything will be sucked into this ever expanding vortex until we’re all absorbed by it. From the looks of things today, we may not be too far from that time and place.

But are we talking of something bad here?

In my opinion, that depends on the – to whom – you pose this question. Some feel the Internet (blogosphere by association) is the worst blight to hit the human race since we arrived on the historical stage. At the same time, others see it as a miracle cure for the disease of knowledge exclusion. Again, it’s the case of the double-edged sword. Which way it swings depends completely on us: You and Me. Finally a simple definition for blogstrom emerges.

… the change insurgency stimulating the blogosphere



This blog is about that swing. The, as Dow Chemical has now coined, the “Human Element”. We are the maelstrom at the center of the vortex I have named the Blogstrom. It is humanity that has the power to control which way the winds of this change-agent will blow.

Will we step up and guide – with wisdom – the swing of the blade? Or, will be carelessly loose concentration and let the blade swing wildly where it may?

Listen in as Voices From the Blogstrom sifts the bits and bytes of the digital hum for whom the blade shall toll next.