Why do I Brainstorm(s)?
One of the primary reasons is that Brainstorms uses Caucus. My affection for Caucus, and my interest in seeing it being well-used, is how I learned that Brainstorms existed. My early experience with Caucus conferencing was on a small scale. The number of participants was not large enough to maintain any momentum of active conversation.
I tried creating a few conferences for my own purposes using Caucus, but none of my efforts ultimately solved the problem of attracting a critical mass. Much as I loved the software, I had only ever witnessed it being under-used. When I questioned whether I would ever witness the platform being used to the fullest, I was pointed to Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms, as an example.
There, I found a membership that included people from around the world. I was presented with more conversation than I could process. And, in a short amount of time, I realized Howard’s idea of raising the bar of civil, adult conversation was being lived out by an amazing collection of brilliant and creative minds.
On Brainstorms, I learn what is going on in other parts of the world, often, as it happens. I consider myself one of the people who read more than they post, and what I read causes me to think. I am inspired to think about my own opinions and consider other perspectives. Oftentimes, I contemplate whether I have my thoughts organized enough to post a contribution to the conversations. Whether I end up writing, or not, I have been led to consider my opinion.
My world has been expanded by my membership in Brainstorms. I have attended gatherings of members in Chicago and San Francisco. I have discovered a kindred spirit and true friend in Portugal, and traveled across the ocean to commune with him, in person. I have exercised my ability to communicate in writing and taken advantage of a vehicle for sharing my poetry, prose, and photographs.
Brainstorms is akin to having hundreds of pen-pals. Brainstorms gives me an invisible friend with multiple personalities who informs my real life and listens to what I have to say, day or night. Brainstorms can be habit forming, but if a habit is healthy…
I still believe there are a limited subset of people who align with whatever it is that makes conversing online in a community of people you don’t already know, attractive. It’s not for everybody. But I am forever grateful for the vehicle of the internet and Caucus software, and that there is a core group of other like-minded souls who continue to feed my passion to commune online at Howard’s amazing creation, Brainstorms.