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Submitted for your approval, hopefully not your reprimand:

This is my first one of these ever, completely freehand.

There is but one element under my command...
and across the whole world my power has spanned
by so many people, like grains of sand..
(even though my domain has no actual land!)

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,
I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand
In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland
but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

But care is required; thought beforehand.
Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned
But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand:
What's my identity? Think you understand?

Hint 1:

If you haven't read the comments, "element" was probably a bad choice of words. Think "force" or "phenomena".

Hint 2:

Thailand could probably be replaced with a few other Asian countries, but it was chosen for the rhyme.

Hint 3:

One word shows up in the rhymes more than any other. The answer involves it.

Hint 4 (dead giveaway):

You'll need to use it to answer

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's not great practice to say this about an unanswered question, but this is a good one. $\endgroup$ – Travis Don Kindred Jul 8 '16 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ Is it referring to element as in an atom? $\endgroup$ – Areeb Jul 8 '16 at 18:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Augh, no. That would be completely misleading. Please interpret "element" as "force" or "phenomenon". (I'd edit it now, but I don't want to bump the question up the front page) $\endgroup$ – Mikey T.K. Jul 8 '16 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ Something related to Politics ?? $\endgroup$ – user26214 Jul 8 '16 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeyT.K. Would the Internet be considered a force and/or a phenomenon? $\endgroup$ – Areeb Jul 8 '16 at 19:27
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Clearly you are something in the area of

computers, IT, and communications.

Given the hints (the later ones especially) I think you must be one of two things. I will put one in this answer and the other (which I actually think slightly more likely) in another. So, perhaps you are

a/the keyboard (typewriter at first, I guess, then computer, and more recently the virtual ones on mobile devices).

There is but one element under my command...

Text, I suppose. Or, if we consider only computer keyboards, perhaps something more abstract like "Data".

and across the whole world my power has spanned
by so many people, like grains of sand..

Pretty much everyone uses them these days.

(even though my domain has no actual land!)

The written word; or, if computer keyboards specifically, what is sometimes called cyberspace.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,

They're everywhere.

I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand

I don't see any very direct clue here (my other proposed answer does better on this front). But computer hardware of all kinds is made in Thailand, and while there isn't much in the actual fields farms use IT as much as everything else these days.

In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland
but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

Pretty much everything that happens these days happens via a (perhaps virtual) computer keyboard. I'm not terribly convinced by "posh and grand" but perhaps we're looking specifically at the virtual keyboards on fancy mobile phones.

But care is required; thought beforehand.
Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned

An ill-thought-out email or text message can end a marriage or a career. I don't think any have started wars yet, but it's only a matter of time.

But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand: What's my identity? Think you understand?

(I think these lines are here purely to fit the rhyme and meter.)

Hint 3:

We're looking at "hand" here, and you use your hands to type on a keyboard.

Hint 4:

How else could I type this?

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  • $\begingroup$ Ha! I think this got accepted while I was typing up my other answer. I'll leave the other one there anyway -- I think it's arguably a better answer than this one :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 12 '16 at 1:07
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Answer:

I think you might be 'HTML', 'CSS' or maybe just the web.

There is but one element under my command...

and across the whole world my power has spanned

One element: 'document'? <span> ... </span>?

by so many people, like grains of sand..

(even though my domain has no actual land!)

Cyberspace.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,

I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand

In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland

but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

Early HTML/sites were simple, and now are sophisticated and complex.

But care is required; thought beforehand.

Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned

Time wasted surfing the web.

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  • $\begingroup$ Right track but no. As a hint, it is tech related. $\endgroup$ – Mikey T.K. Jul 9 '16 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, sounds like SQL injection (or code injection) ? Just guess it. :0) $\endgroup$ – Chris.C Jul 9 '16 at 5:13
2
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Are you a:

Nuclear Bomb

There is but one element under my command... and across the whole world my power has spanned by so many people, like grains of sand.. (even though my domain has no actual land!)

Nuclear Bombs utilize the strong force to blow things up. Also nuclear weapons were often tested in the desert, so I thought "grains of sand" was a clue.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand, I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

The first few nuclear bombs were plain and simplistic, no fancy stuff; however, now they have fancy weapons systems and everything. Also no one knew what they were until after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

But care is required; thought beforehand. Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand: What's my identity? Think you understand?

A bad call to use one could result is disastrous consequences for the entire world

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  • $\begingroup$ Grains of sand has more to do with number of people than the answer, unfortunately. This is quite a clever answer though, it neatly fits almost all of the clues. $\endgroup$ – Mikey T.K. Jul 11 '16 at 14:21
1
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I think you are

Electricity

I think it satisfies all the clues clearly enough.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's still good practice to explain why each clue fits, in case others don't see your point of view $\endgroup$ – Areeb Jul 9 '16 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ I like some of the pother answers better now. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jul 10 '16 at 20:53
0
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Are you...

A cloud?

There is but one element under my command... and across the whole world my power has spanned by so many people, like grains of sand.. (even though my domain has no actual land!)

One Element: Rain, Whole world has clouds, no land

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand, I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

Farmers would know the weather forecast as well as the newspapers, used to be water droplets, now you are a grand cloud!

But care is required; thought beforehand. Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand: What's my identity? Think you understand?

Large storm clouds that aren't anticipated can be very damaging.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice reasoning, but nope, that's not the answer. $\endgroup$ – Mikey T.K. Jul 8 '16 at 19:55
0
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Are you:

Wireless communication

There is but one element under my command...

This would be radio waves.

and across the whole world my power has spanned

Radio communication is possible basically anywhere on earth at this point thanks to satellites.

by so many people, like grains of sand.. (even though my domain has no actual land!)

Ham radio operators began spreading wireless communication as individuals, at this point most people on earth are spreading the range of wireless communication via their usage of cellphones and the building of towers that it proliferates.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,

Most people on earth have heard of wireless communication today.

I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

In it's early days signals were quite thin and carried much less information. Today we stream movies and more over wifi.

But care is required; thought beforehand. Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned

It's quite easy to cause damage with radio waves. You can easily mess up navigation systems or sensitive electronics, and that's why ham licensing is required.

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0
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Similar but slightly different from some other answers

The internet

There is but one element under my command...
and across the whole world my power has spanned
by so many people, like grains of sand..

Information? The internet is all about communication between computers which boils down to 0's and 1's.

(even though my domain has no actual land!)

The internet is just a massive peer-to-peer network, it's not actually a "thing" that is kept somewhere.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,

Internet is pretty ubiquitous, pretty much everyone in developed countries knows about it.

I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand
In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland
but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

When the internet first started it was very rudimentary, but is now so advanced that much of society even revolves around it.

But care is required; thought beforehand.
Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned

You can easily get malware or spyware, or get scammed, if you aren't careful.

But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand:
What's my identity? Think you understand?

The internet

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0
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As I remark in another answer, clearly you are something in the area of

computers, IT, and communications.

Given the hints (the later ones especially) I think you must be one of two things. I've put one in my other answer; here's the other one. (I think this one is a little more likely than the other.) So, perhaps you are

a/the telephone (voice-only analogue ones at first, but now the miraculous devices we carry in our pockets). Perhaps specifically the mobile phone.

There is but one element under my command...

Air (of the four classical elements), maybe. Or perhaps something more abstract like "data".

and across the whole world my power has spanned
by so many people, like grains of sand..

Pretty much everyone uses them these days.

(even though my domain has no actual land!)

This works best if we're looking specifically at mobile phones.

Most people know of me, from cowhand to newsstand,

They're everywhere.

I was not always like this, from farmland to Thailand

I expect a lot of phones are made in Thailand (though ... are they? Or is it all China and Taiwan?)

In my early days, you see, I was quite lean and bland
but now with my influence, I can be posh and grand.

Phones have evolved from boring appliances you use to talk to other people, and for nothing else, to pocket-sized supercomputers with access to all the world's people and knowledge, some of them expensive and prestigious. ... But I'm not sure about "lean"; today's phones are thinner than ever before.

But care is required; thought beforehand.
Much damage is caused by my usage unplanned

An ill-thought-out email or text message can end a marriage or a career. I don't think any have started wars yet, but it's only a matter of time.

But enough about me, and my remarks so offhand:
What's my identity? Think you understand?

(I think these lines are here purely to fit the rhyme and meter.)

Hint 3:

We're looking at "hand" here, and you use your hands to hold a phone and to control it.

Hint 4:

You don't need to use a phone to answer this question (and indeed I'm not doing) but you do need one to answer a phone call.

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protected by Community Jul 8 '16 at 22:50

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