October 01, 2006


Get your math right

I read an article spewing venom (via Sambhar Mafia) on bloggers with great amusement. Such is the ferocity of the attack that, for a while, it made me wonder if it actually is a blog post. The author is entitled to express her opinion, however tainted, misinformed, judgmental, unsubstantiated and preposterous it might be. So, no red flags to her freedom of expression. Here is the gem from the article (Emphasis mine).
Every 10 minutes, some three million new bloggers invade the WWW with a vengeance.
That would be 18 million new bloggers per hour, 432 million per day. With world population of 6.6 billion, within 15 days the entire human race should blogging to the glory! Six Apart, will you let me invest a few thousand dollars? Puhlleeeze.... And, I'll move over from Blogger to your platform. Promise!

These bloggers might be "half-wits, religious maniacs, failed writers, sociopaths and cold-blooded killers", but, let's give them their due for getting elementary math right.

Dear Shobhan,

Now that you've published this article - which I found closer to the truth than many bloggers would dare to admit - expect many bloggers in India to engage in name-calling, vitriol and basically trash all that you've written, directed at you. And do not be perturbed when they do, because that would be entirely in keeping with the nature of the blogging activity. May I say that do not let any of that stop you from writing more such articles, but perhaps with a bit more depth, now that you've ploughed the surface?

Nothing in how I think and what think about this matter can be generalized, but there are large sections of bloggers that behave in a monolithic fashion, like groups of teenagers, except that most bloggers are only slightly more aged than teenagers. Statistics on Indian bloggers are scant, but I suspect you'd find that a majority of them are in the under-30 age group. Those who are older go through phases of realization that unless they behave like a teenager, they don't get too many clicks and definitely not comments. When you combine impressionable age, fascination and awe with technology, the freedom to express, and most important, have enough time on their hands - these young men and women seem to really have nothing productive to do, which I think shouldn't be surprising given how little of any use actually happens in India - what you get is, unfortunately, all the low-quality stuff. Blogging is closer to tabloid "journalism" than most bloggers realize.

The problem with the blogging activity is that there are no readers. Everybody is a writer. Blogging converts the hard to master skill of "listening to understand" into this "listening to respond" activity, hence the cacophony. Even worse, the younger generation of internet savvy boys and girls think that this "listening to respond" is all that is needed and that the more articulately and the more louder you shout, the more response you'll get. Again, like a teenager a typical blogger would refuse to even register that there is such a problem. That, my friend, has got to change. I hope you'd spend some time thinking about these deeper issues in your next article, should you survive the mud-slinging in the aftermath of this article!:-)

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