Blogging has become “phenomenon”. I was surprised to read that Blog is an extended form of Content Management System; it has been there since long. After Google acquired Blogspot, the popularity became evident.
Overnight, people started blogging on their pet peeves, cats and dogs and their ex girl friends. Of course, it attracted huge amount of traffic of vouyers. Per se, the blogging phenomenon defies explaination. Why do people blog and why people read blogs?
Is it the fact that mainstream media has been unable to fulfill it’s obligations? What is the purpose of the media then? What kind of news ought to be called as news? What kind of news should get prominence?
These are tough questions to answer; but overall any observer would tell you that the newspaper or news channel would cater to local demand. Which is why, if most of the people complain about dumbing of media, they are excluding the vast majority of unheard, unseen people who lap it up majorly. The so called “K-Crap” is sucessful because it caters precisely to these tastes cutting across regional affiliations.
I come back to the previous question I just raised. What is the purpose of blogging in this case. Why do people blog?
I believe that in part it may be to form a community of like minded people in order to foster original ideas. Blogging in this respect may not be different from old style Bulletin Board Services; though I haven’t partaken in anyone of those. Another offshoot is the forums where by and large a community forms with similar or common interests.
Other purpose is to provide an alternative media channel to funnel discussions which mainstream media would either hesitate or refuse to carry out because of vested interests. In this respect, bloggers who blogged about Iraq war attracted huge amount of attention. They were often labelled as “authentic” even though it’s hard to disprove that individual biases creeped in while “reporting” differently from “embedded journalists from Pentagon”.
Blogging as a “phenomenon” has it’s limited aspect. It cannot wield influence as the mainstream press and it is unlikely to do so in the near future. Even though, the press as we know is increasingly focussed on the Internet.
I personally feel that there is a distinct urban bias towards issues. I cannot blog about rural way of life because I have never been through it. Similarly, it’s hard to believe people who profess and mouth “theories” but remain for most of their lives, arm chair critics.
Such people unfortunately abound in Indian Blogsosphere.
Blogging is a natural extension from employees who might blog about their field of work. Such blogs remain show pieces, kind of corporate PR and much of what is written is basically subtle advertisement. There in reader discretion is advised; it becomes difficult to seperate the chaff from the grain.
I keep thinking about these issues and whether they have a relevance to the present set up. I am glad that I have been able to attract intelligent audience; this often makes for lively discussions in comments for which the end purpose is solved. Plus of course, it gives me a reason to thrash the media for it’s acts of omissions; corporates who have huge amount of money power but almost next to nil ethics and burueacrats who are absolutely clueless as to why they are in power.
I believe that my motivation is based on all the factors I listed above; though by no means you would ever know what brand of underwear I wear or what I had for dinner!