Sunday, June 18, 2006

cutting a path with your blog

Wild. Tangled. Hostile.

Those words describe both the natural wilderness of unmolested forest and desert regions ... and the digital landscape of the blogosphere.

The blogosphere is so Wild, Tangled, and Hostile, many business leaders and CEOs are scared of blogs.

They fear flamers, hard questions, complaints. They want sales, not suggestions. They want product orders, not improvement advice. But the reality is this, amigo: you can't and shouldn't trust any company that has no blog, no wish to enter into candid conversations with consumers.

They're idiot cowards who will not be around when Absolute Switched On User Empowerment is fully installed in this saha world.

So...if you're active in the blogosphere, you've got balls (or castration blades, ladies!) ... whereas the CEOs who shun the blogosphere are dickless blunders.

I sporadically study the history of the concept "wilderness", with Wilderness and the American Mind, a book by Roderick Nash, as my guide.

In biology, wilderness represents an archive of unmoderated ecology and rich genetic material.

In philosophy, wilderness symbolizes the peaceful, quiet refuge of the deep thinker.

In religion, wilderness is the place of training, testing, and purification.

In leadership, wilderness stands for an escape from the imbecility of the crowds, the mass hypnosis of media, and society's pervasive antagonism to change and innovation.

My relatives, Tyler age 8 and Andrew age 5, spent a few days here at Vaspers Headquarters. When they visit other adult relatives, they tend to gravitate toward the boob tube or dorky video games. The adults often want to "stay inside" and soak up the sissy air-conditioning.

But I teach them how to cut a path in the overgrown woods behind our house. I used a military machete, and they used hard sharp sticks. We chewed a hole that stretched a full city block. It looks like a tractor went through there. Then we followed the creek to the bitter end, halting at a fence where the interstate highway begins.

While we were tromping through the woods, I taught them how to identify poison ivy, how to handle sharp sticker branches, and how to crawl over huge fallen tree trunks.

Toward the end of the stream, we saw a Mystery. A little chipmunk, sitting still. I touched it gently with a stick. It didn't move. It was freshly dead. In its face was an iron rod that was poking up out of the ground. The rod was right next to his hole. He must have jumped out and, in a hurry, forgot about that stupid rod, its destined death trap. This was very sad. Chipmunks are so cute.

When we got to the end of the creek, we hiked up a steep hill and re-entered civilization, a street, Dries Lane.

When we got back home, they wanted to go do it again. Last Thanksgiving, they cried when stickers cut their ankles, branches whipped at their face, or burr pods stuck to their socks. This time, there was no crying, no fear, no frustration. They have been successfully processed.
When young relatives come to visit, it's training time, not just toys, Kool Aid, and cartoons. They learn by doing. They learn about God and nature and computers when they hang around me. I'm pretty popular, because I talk to them like they're intelligent, sophisticated colleagues. They like that.

And I almost never yell or scold. I try, instead, to inspire and instruct. I ask them questions, from philosophical to mathematical.

I am the Anti-Ritalin. I speed their brains up, not to wear them out and make them sluggish and docile, but to make them think faster and more clearly.

You know that ADHD is a largely a ridiculous myth, right?

You find ADHD diagosis by crooked physicians trying to scam money out of single moms who cannot control their energetic boys.

Attention Deficit is another term for "multi-tasking", "rapid spontaneous focus shifting", and "active, non-binding curiosity."

Hyper-activity is another term for "being a boy".

I have the cure for the alleged ADHD disease: discipline, deprivation, and chores. One of the best corrective measures is to send a child to a study hall, not to a playroom. To lock a child in his own room, a paradise containing toys, games, music, television, telephone...this is no punishment.

Cutting a walking trail through the woods is similar to what we're doing with our blogs.

Your blog is cutting a pioneering path.

You encounter sticker bushes and quicksand. Snakes and bumble-bees. Thickets of overgrown weeds and bramble. Yet, you march on.

You experiment with various add-ons and blog functionalities. Some work well, others are abandoned as failures.

You experience frustrations and defeats. You waste time on blogs you thought were going to be informative or entertaining. You discipline yourself to post valuable, beneficial material to your blog. You spend time visiting other blogs and posting comments at them.

The blogosphere is a wilderness, an anarchy of ideologies and beliefs, a hodge-podge of pleasures and vendettas, a swirling, whirling mass of personal and corporate communications.

Hold your free speech machete high...and chop down the barriers to Universal Democracy. Use your blog as a blade that cuts through the layers of deception and the malaise of mediocrity.

You, as a blogger, are a pioneer.

Cutting a path. Paving a road. Blazing the way for future generations of Free Communicators.

[PHOTO BELOW: The great and glorious champion of wilderness, my mentor in environmentalism, Roderick Nash.]