Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogs; the New Samizdats

I was contemplating the awesome power of blogs today, partially inspired by the attention lavished on blogs recently by Michael Dell, Dick Hunter, and Direct2Dell Guru Lionel Menchaca et al in an effort to plug the leaks popping up everywhere in the hull of the good ship Dell.

Then it occurred to me that I had seen this exact thing before, it was deja vu all over again.

Many people are unaware that one of the most valuable tools of dissent in the former Soviet empire was the SAMIZDAT. The word itself was coined in the 1940's and it means "self published". Faxed, photocopied, hand printed or pressed, they were passed around from person to person. It was a way to get the news out to the people, despite the efforts of the Government at propaganda and suppression.

One of the last great Soviet dissidents still active in Moscow and Russian Politics is Vladimir Bukovsky. He described the Samizdat in this way "I myself create it, edit it, censor it, publish it, distribute it, and [may] get imprisoned for it".

Well, except for that last bit, he is describing a blog... and sadly in some countries where blogging can induce flogging, it is an EXACT description of a blog.

But here in Canada, I can, within reason, say pretty much what I like. No Gulag for me if I say Michael Dell is full of shit and his mom wears Army boots. Not that I would say that, it isn't my style to be crude or un-necessarily rude, and everyone knows you don't bring someones mom into the tussle.

The power which is contained in the blogosphere (that is a lousy word, can we come up with something better??) has yet to be unleashed, we are just learning the strengths and weaknesses of this new tool , but I have a suspicion that if a Samizdat could help bring down the Iron Curtain, then a modern day Samizdat can bring down a curtain too, the curtain on this sorry mess at Dell.

Tonight I realized how powerful the tool at my fingertips is, it will be fun to see where it goes in the future, not just in the battle with Dell, I will be interested to see how this tool is used in the hands of other people, in other countries, with all sorts of political or Consumer issues.

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