The digital back channel

Business Week says:

Something powerful is at work here: The explosion of the global digital “back-channel.”

It’s a good piece that brings together a few of the elements of new media that are changing the world. Not discussed are P2P, TVIP and wireless devices.

Remember all of the hype about the World Wide Web back in 1995? And remember how with the dot com bust, the nay sayers were able to say, “See. Told you. Hype.” Well, it’s not hype now. It’s happening now. All of the world-changing potential of digital technology is coming to fruition, and the change seems to be accelerating, at least to me.

I’m reading Gillmor’s book now, and going through his history of personal publishing, it brings up some painful memories — painful because I knew back then what I should have been doing, but I wasn’t doing it. I was trying to build businesses instead of acting on my instinct about personal publishing. I remember telling a group of fellow journalists in Washington D.C. that the Web was going to change information flow in ways we couldn’t totally understand at that moment, that somewhere there was the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs working away in his garage developing some information delivery platform that was going to profoundly effect us all, and that the Web made possible a new age of pamphleteers. Well, no one individual can get sole credit for the personal publishing revolution going on now, but the rest of what I said has proven essentially correct.

As much as I loved pontificating, you would have thought I would have started a personal Web site back then. What I wanted to do, but felt I didn’t have time for, would be a distraction, wouldn’t help my career, was start a Web site and publish a weekly opinion column. I should have done it. Now, I see, it probably would have been the best thing for my career I could have done.

Instead, I came to the blogging game late (stared April 2002).

One observation’s of Gillmor’s I want to touch on — how Sept. 11 changed blogging. I find it ironic that the enemies of freedom and democracy played such an important role of spurring on a democratic revolution that no terrorist will ever be able to stop. What the net is and where it’s going (P2P, as Gillmor notes, is an essential tool in protecting freedom) makes effectively ever quashing freedom an impossibility.

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