Saturday, July 14, 2007

On Blogging

I was reading this report that said that many people now were leading two lives-one was the usual real time one and the other was that of their avatar on the internet. Shy, mild mannered and gentle people could vicariously lead flamboyant lifestyles, or else at least portray a semblance of flamboyance on their internet avatars and social networking (notworking?) sites. This leads to a cathartic stress release and acts as stress busters or whatever, the report said.

There are millions who blog. It is in fact, a full scale revolution in itself. You can expose your writings to a readership that potentially spans the entire human race! And going through several blogs on the internet makes you wonder what makes the writers pour out such intensely private thoughts and feelings most of us would shudder to remind our own selves? I am not mentioning the details of what blogs I came across and what specific itch the writers bitched about in graphic detail (at the risk of being overly dramatical: "chill creeps up my spine"!), simply because details, at least in this instance are thoroughly unnecessary.

However, all this makes one think too (yeah, I grudgingly have to acknowledge, sometimes, it's good for health!). For instance, could I do what other bloggers were doing? Could I expose (in the words of Winston Churchill) "my soft white (?) underbelly" for the whole world to glare at? I am pretty private about what I need to tell the world about myself and coupled with my profound sense of cynicism, skepticism and general misanthropy, I can't even think of doing that.

What then, am I blogging for? What is the purpose of it all? Is it an example of herd mentality (is it cool)? Or is it that I write about things that are 'safe' and will not allow others a peek into my mind? What do I write for? And especially, why do I blog?

The answer might lie in the fact that it is flattering to write your own thing and be read and remarked about it by people. However, soon this captures your mind and instead of writing your own thing, you begin writing not your own thing. Maybe this is good, maybe not. Who the fuck cares? I, at least do not! Also, having installed a hit counter on my blog, I have been pleasantly surprised to have found that some humans do actually glance at this blog once in a while. Should my blog be dedicated to these random, unknown guys who read it (apart from myself) and write stuff they might like? I don't know.

If you generalise the question as being "Why does anyone write?", you can get answers like "because I like to", or "It reorganises thought" etc etc, but if you generalise the question as "Why does anyone blog?", then I think the answers like "because I like to" etc become rather weak. I think one blogs because other people can read him. If you are simply fond of writing then I don't think blogging is the thing to do (unless of course, somebody keeps commenting on your literary style etc).

Basically, writing for pleasure does not require feedback and therefore is not a justification for blogging. Those who assert (all too often categorically) that they don't care if others read their blog are probably deluding themselves. If they were to say "I don't care if nobody reads what I write", I could agree with them, but not if 'write' was replaced with 'blog'.

All this, however, does not take into consideration the phenomenon of citizen journalism which is done solely for disseminating information by the author.

My blog is hardly an online journal/diary that will document Abhinav Anand in his many mood-swings, nor is this for Lit activities. This blog, I now declare, is for disseminating information about stuff I think is important/worth disseminating information about.

Over and out!

1 comment:

Arvind Krishna said...

This article is so characteristic of you, something I have grown to enjoy over the years I have known you. (Don't worry. I am not being senti).

But consider this possibility to justify 'why blog' as opposed to 'why write'. It is so much more convenient to blog, especially if you don't know too much about computers. This is because the template is already done. All you have to do is to write in what you feel like and then voila: in a matter of seconds, it is published. It is so much more convenient than storing it on your computer or maintaining a diary in the actual paper form.

No doubt it is true that people write to be read, to some extent at least. But you can't get yourself to write(even a blog, at that), if your sole motive is to be read unless you really want to write. Most people are aware of the fact that their readership is limited to a single digit. But I don't think that bothers them really. But what I generally feel is that people generally (even on networking sites)are generally pretentious(maybe thats too hash a word). And it will always will be that way. Because they have a renewed attempt at showing the world, what they they really want to be(which is shrouded in fantasy) as opposed to what they really are.

But blogging is, no doubt, a revolution of sorts. And about writing for yourself.... its actually possible. You can actually choose at the time of registering, not to put up your blog on display. That way apart from Google Search (and by not telling your friends about your blog) there is very little chance of someone finding it. I have another blog in blogspot to jot down my innermost feelings. So I think it is possible to write for the sake of writing. I stand as evidence.

Man this is the biggest comment I have written so far.