I’ve blogged before, and (alas!) every one of those blogging efforts always came to an end. So why start again?
One reason is that blogging gives me room to write. I send a lot of material to Google+ and to Facebook for communities there that I’ve built who’ve subscribed to me, and I certainly interact with people who choose to comment there. (I’ve even got an on-again, off-again relationship with Twitter.) But commenting on articles to start the ball rolling doesn’t allow for longer arguments to be built.
The other is that I — like Dave Winer — believe that the open web does matter. So it’s incumbent upon me to put some things out on it, outside the walled gardens that large (by market capitalisation or expected IPO returns) companies build, maintain and control.
This is it. I hope you enjoy it.
What to Expect Here
I shall try to post regularly. Some of those posts will bring a number of articles together — the social media gardens will get them as I come across them, but here’s I’ll bring several together with a common commentary — and some will be generated from scratch.
What interests me is the state of our world. So you can expect to see things on energy, on the economy, on politics, on transportation, and on social trends. I do think we are standing at or very near the precipice: much of what we’ve institutionalised as “the way things are” is about to break. I believe that twenty years from now we will be living very local lives, and so small neighbourhoods and communities will matter far more than they do today. How we’ll live in that world is always in the forefront of my reading.
Yet — despite the “gloomy” cast that looking at the precipice can bring — I’m not a pessimist. True, I’m not a techno-optimist: I think we’re out of time for most of that, and I can do just enough of the math to realise that the world is running out of easy ways to do many of the things technology depends on. But it’s not the end, either: the future will simply be different. I look at things like Transition Town Totnes in the UK (there are many others) and I see that there are good reasons to expect that we can pull through this transition, without having to hope that our “culture of the giants” comes through with us.
Being Canadian, and living in a part of the country that’s not managing its decline from grace and favour well (Southern Ontario), I’ll have more than a bit to say about local conditions. But I’m the sort who (thanks to the magic of RSS feeds into Google Reader) reads things from all over the world, and (thanks to the magic of iTunes and its podcatching) listens to people and media from around the globe. So I can be equally snarky (and with luck occasionally insightful) for other parts of this wonderful globe, too.
Politically I am best described as a red-green tory. There is no political party for me, but here’s what that means: I believe there is a bond between generations. We inherited much from our forebears and we owe that a duty of care, not to casually throw it away, for we may not be able to recover it. (On the other hand, institutions we set up are always in need of reform, but with an eye to why we created them.) I believe that we are both individuals and part of something larger than ourselves, and so while our individual liberties matter, so, too, do our obligations. I believe that as we push scale we should prefer networks of small entities to do that rather than create big superstructures: this is what Europeanists called “subsidiarity” (take all decisions as locally as practical), something the EU seldom practises, alas, not that Canadians, Australians or Americans (to pick but three continental-scale nation-states) do any better. I’m not a rabid climate change type — I am very attentive to the problems of models of all types — but environmentally concerned, since I think only a fool fouls his own nest. You’ll find these ideas coming out repeatedly in what I have to say.
So, again, welcome. I hope we build a good conversation here as the weeks unfold!