Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ~ Benjamin Franklin
The internet is an amazing thing. Nothing has revolutionized the diaspora of information like the web. It is the most important advancement in communication history.
And that is why the governments of the world want to regulate (read: control) it.
Never before have so many individuals had the audience and platform that the web offers. Basement bloggers can become media and cultural influencers overnight. Aspiring rock stars, writers, bike racers, cupcake baking moms, and social commentators are no longer held hostage by the top-down leviathan of corporate banalities or the establishment hierarchy of record, book, or publishing “deals”. Political dissidents can speak truth to Power, even while that Power continues to disseminate (using the web itself) its lies about the dangers of being lead astray into a wilderness of misinformation. President Obama lamented to a group of college graduates that “some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction…” and that “…All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”
On the contrary, the internet, and its related technologies, are empowering the rising generation of technophiles, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators. Enabling them to operate outside the traditional publishing scheme or state-sponsored approval racket.
The only people who are feeling any sort of pressure from a cheap, open, and easily available internet are those whose monopoly on information is crumbling into dust—newspaper dinosaurs, tenured academics, establishment newsrooms, and politicians. The so-called New Media is now, or quickly becoming, The Media.
Power is no longer power. Links, friends, and followers—pageviews, comments and likes—are the new currency of influence and Power. Subjects (known as Citizens outside government circles) are no longer forcefully subjected to the revisionism, propaganda, and tyranny of ad agencies, government, and “authority”. Instead, individuals collectively collaborate to determine value, social mores, and economic activity. Those nefarious “crazy claims” that the President warned against are instantaneously vetted and properly dismissed, or embraced. After all, “crazy” is subjective and fluid, and not necessarily untrue. Legitimacy, demand, and market power are determined online in the same way they they always have been, that is, by people. Only now it happens on a much faster, broader, and more impactful scale. Spontaneous order. Anarchy—the good kind.
Which is, again, why authority seeking narcissists want to turn the internet into television. Regulated. Censored. Controlled. They know that a diminished web is an aggrandizement and continuation of the power they still think they have. But, as Hosni Mubarak has learned, the authoritarian control of information is impossible.
I believe that governments (and others in positions of perceived authority) are constantly trying to obstruct the ascendancy of the individual. That we are so often grouped into generic, stereotypical herds—Christians, liberals, conservatives, rich, poor, black, white—and ascribed vague and oft-outdated or blatantly incorrect ideologies to match those stereotypes by news-media, politicians, and federal agencies is a reflection of that effort to dehumanize the individual. That federal economic policies attempt to guide, or in many cases coerce, those faceless crowds in certain politically and financially beneficial (only for those in power, naturally) directions is another manifestation of the disdain that The Collective has for the individual.
To quote the French political economist, Frederic Bastiat: “Men’s interests, under the law of justice, tend to adjust themselves naturally in the most harmonious way.”
The internet is the last and great test of free speech. The ultimate tool for dissent, patriotism, opinion, and revolution. It is the perfect expansion, and example, of individualism. Of the collaborative and voluntary, spontaneous community. It is, philosophically—if not actually—the world’s only remaining free market. A reality that collectivists—as is their wont—have always rejected, and sought—seek—to eliminate.
The point—and I do have one—is that an unregulated web is important. Unbelievably so. Never has there been an equalizer like the web. It is the great equalizer. And this space, while hardly revolutionary or influential, is mine. My voice. My ideas. My life.
It is my little corner of that free market.
And as such, I want to expand and grow that corner.
A Wide Angled Scope
This blog started as a simple training diary. But it evolved. It became less about the results of my training, and more about the process, the experience. And during that evolution I unexpectedly realized that I loved—love—to write. Even to the point now that the delusions of grandeur I normally reserve for bike racing and ski touring are bleeding into the realm of the written word. Words like “published” and “author” have trickled into my vocabulary. I’ve always been a storyteller. Even in the most rudimentary sense of that word. We all are. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the world’s 2.3 trillion* blogs are obvious validations of that.
I’m just delusional enough to believe that other people might like to read the stories I write, or see the pictures I take. That you are interested in my little world here in Utah. That what I might do or say or write will somehow inspire, or at the very least, entertain or inform. And so this space has existed (even thrived, at times) for over 5 years. However, as I discussed earlier this year, blogging is a lot of work, and I had become rather fatigued. I considered, more seriously than I realized, walking away for good. Like Jerry Sloan. But I also realized that there are still stories I want to tell. Even if nobody is reading. Writing—like riding—has become therapy. Exercise. An attempt to externalize internal thoughts and document the vast experiences that the pursuit of singletrack entails. A place to make “crazy claims”. And if those claims happen to “put pressure on our democracy” well, then I must be doing something right.
*I made that number up.
I’ve wanted to make a change of address for at least a year. But I’ve hesitated for a couple of reasons. Chief among them was that I feared it would be a gigantic hassle, and that I’d lose any search rank I had built over the last 5 years. In trying to research the process, I became lost and bewildered by technical terms that I was too lazy to try to properly understand. Luckily Jeff Higham understands the language of 301 redirects, htaccess, and other terms that I do not. He spent a few days helping me make this change. It happened fairly easily, very quickly, and with seemingly no negative side-effects. Thanks Jeff!
The result is GrizzlyAdam.net.
And why did I bother?
A few reasons:
1) Epic Riding is vague. Search “Epic Riding” in Google. This blog appears, but so do articles about World of Warcraft, horseback riding, and all manner of other generic uses of two very generic words. Not that searching “Grizzly Adam” is exactly focused either. But for my purposes, it works better—I hope.
2) I wanted to broaden the scope of this blog. This space has become a place to better my writing skills, tone, and voice. But not everything I want to write about fits cleanly into the categories of bike or ski. Rather, I want to expand into the political, social, and economic aspects of the outdoors—rather than simply sharing trip reports or the occasional rant about the BLM. Don’t panic. I’m not going to start writing about politics. Not in the partisan, MoveOn/RedState, Us vs. Them sense of the word. Not at all. For the most part the content here will remain as it always has. I suppose I am simply reserving the right to explore new, or lesser addressed topics. e.g. Boots not Bikes.
3) GrizzlyAdam as a domain immediately connects the site to me. Narcissistic? Maybe. Self-aggrandizing? Absolutely. But it also reinforces that the things I write here are mine. My opinions, my experiences, my thoughts. And while that has always been the case, I think a personality based domain name strengthens that case.
All of this has been done with one primary hope in mind: that the content here will improve. I’ve tried to elevate both my writing and photography skills over the last several months. And I’ve done that with the idea that doing so will make this blog better. If the content here is better, then so will be the other content that I am attempting to create. That is, my blog is an experiment. An embryonic form of the greater topics and voices that I am mulling and channeling. As I write, and rewrite this “book” that is currently sitting on my desktop I’ve realized that most of it is based on the content here. It’s been elaborated upon, properly exaggerated, and hopefully refined. But it’s roots are firmly planted here.
Maybe what I am trying to say is that going forward, I hope to use this place with more focus and intent. More writing, rather than the common “this is what I did today” reporting. Certainly those posts will still occur. They have to. I don’t have daily essays in me. Not yet, anyway.
Finally, I hope you all know that I appreciate your visits here. I don’t check traffic numbers very often, but I do know that 2010 was a record year and that 2011 is off to a great start. As I said earlier, there are 6.8 trillion* blogs on the web. That you visit mine is flattering. I hope that I can (continue to?) provide meaningful, entertaining, and unique content. And if not, well, perhaps my nutty, dangerous, freedom-threatening ideas will be at least be snort-worthy.
*Yet another completely fabricated number.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ~ Benjamin Franklin.