It's with joy, trepidation, love and paranoia that I return to BoingBoing for two weeks of happy mutantdom.
Blogging at BoingBoing is truly one of the most rewarding and overwhelming experiences I've ever had as a writer. It's an extended feeling, where each thought shared in a seemingly quiet, casual, and social space is actually broadcast to a universe of many different kinds of people. Some kind, some interested, some intrigued - others acerbic, quick to judge, and already possessing pretty established perspectives on the way things are. And four million of them, each coming to BoingBoing for his or her own reasons - some for knowledge, some for entertainment, some for connection, and some for a good fight.
I return to BoingBoing a changed man - indeed, changed from the experience of being here. I used the platform both as a way of propagandizing my own opinions about our culture and economy, as well as to get honest feedback on what I should spend my time and energy on. As a result of the conversations here, I started a radio show on WFMU, began working on an alternative currency project, wrote a very different book than I would have otherwise, sponsored a short film about the book for those who don't read, began a column for the new online-only version of Arthur, started a new Frontline documentary about digital culture, and - in an effort to practice some 'new' media rather than just write about it, I even signed up to write some back story and graphic novels for a new video game. I decided to teach at the New School, where you don't have to be matriculated as a full-time student to take a class. And I'm gardening vegetables on what used to be a suburban lawn.
While I may have done a couple of those things, anyway, I certainly wouldn't be doing them the way I am - and the feedback and comments I got through my experiences at BoingBoing catalyzed and informed each of these decisions. I still hear the voices in my head.
I'm back for the same sorts of reasons I came before: to promote bottom-up, cyberpunk, mutant culture, and to extend these approaches into the economy. I think we are in one of those rare moments of opportunity where the bank-based speculative economy is imperiled and ineffective enough to make alternative currencies and collaborations seem more reasonable. The more we experience putting food on the table and smiles on our faces by exchanging something other than bank-issued cash, the more we will begin to believe in our own ability to create value for ourselves and one another, without intermediary institutions.
I am here to promote the hacking of the economy, one step at a time. Not crashing the economy that exists, or even negating its usefulness for certain kinds of exchanges and efforts - just building something else from the bottom up that addresses the myriad needs ignored or repressed by the one-sided system we have today.
An economy that actually worked would be a wonderful thing - and I believe we can make it right here.
mutant but not mute,
Douglas Rushkoff - author of the book Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back - is a guest blogger.
Winner of the Media Ecology Association's first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other's values. He is technology and media commentator for CNN, and has taught and lectured around the world about media, technology, culture and economics. His new book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, a followup to his Frontline documentary, Digital Nation. His last book, an analysis of the corporate spectacle called Life Inc., was also made into a short, award-winning film.