Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Thots on blogs

A debate ensues here regarding whether a blog, or to generalise, a writing is big because of its popularity or content.

The debate was sparked by some of us who have followed GreatBong (I personally have followed him for three years) and witnessed his rise in the blogworld. It followed an addendum to an earlier post of his regarding leveraging blog hits via marketing gimmicks.

It's the popular vs. meaningful debate. Does trying to cater to too many at one go mean the lowest common denominator of actual meaning? Does attention per se sometimes takes away the original spark of originality and genuineness?

A couple of years ago, i was in a funk and some blogs helped me come out of it. One of them belonged to a guy who had come out of a similar situation as me, was the same age and trying to rebuild his life in a new place too. every day he wrote about some very little thing. i discovered the blog after a year of its posts and sat through the night reading it. sounds very reader digestish but the resonance the guy unfailingly evoked was very deep. things which had mattered to me and i had always discounted, been almost ashamed of. i lost the link soon after; and i remember that the blog had no comments.

Similarly, i remember a single post in a blog of a NRI sitting in a cafe missing his homeland which moved me very much. it remained the single post without a comment for almost a year till i stopped logging to it.

And there have been bloggers who I have seen fall in the trap of popularity, who try to reach out to so many, that there is none they touch deeply enough.

One of the comments in the discussion mentions the need of the blogger to respond to comments. It made me feel guilty two-ways - not responding to the comments on my own blog which touch me, and not having encouraged those bloggers whose blogs I avidly and silently follow. Perhaps, the point is more relevant to a discussion - the sort GB initiates, objective and usually impersonal. I feel lost many times for words and feel silence is the most respectful comment. I remember a photoblogger I almost followed from scratch who got very popular who irritated me immensely with her inane replies to some very deep comments, often clubbed together as responses to 7-8 comments at the same time.

I really don't know where this is going.

Perhaps, it's like a basket of our needs. We need somewhere a resonance in the universal themes which go with our identity as a culture, a nation: news, discussions on national themes, popular culture -- the bigger the agglomeration, the more superficial the resonance. Every outer layer of our identity and self which unpeals reveals a deeper self within, seeking a deeper resonance. As the self contracts, so does the possibility and the resonance is rarer and more specific to that self. perhaps, it's a balance; and always has been.

But so many people remain unaware of those layers within, and the beauty their resonance evokes.

My own following of GB was partially evoked by the uncanny similarities of his style and thoughts to my best friend from college. Many things he said seemed to come from that friend. Now that personal flavour is mostly lost in his writing; I almost hear him clearing his throat every time he climbs the pulpit of yet another blog post.


gayatri said...

I think blogs are a good time pass just like facebook or orkut. In the middle of work it provides a refreshing change. Esp. true of friends blogs because u can relate to the person penning down those thoughts.
Problem with GB is that it tends to get trite after a few readings. Its the same critical story following similar patterns of disection-ing of some movie or book. After the initial enthu, I stopped reading GB cos it stopped providing variety which I think a lot of friend's blogs- which may not be as popular as GB, manage to give.
I think DM is a lot better than GB, but again lots of times he gets into this Mallu-Panju comparisions where it tends to get boring after a few readings. But his blog is better in terms of variety that GB's.

Nothing Spectacular said...

Blogs are good because they are many-to-many. Communication networks theory says that chaos is the best medium of communication. This is what blogs do. The NRI missing his homeland was writing so that someone like you could read it and be touched. Great Bong writes so that a lot of people can smile for a few seconds. May both thrive!!

Bland Spice said...

true, V. depends which layer you want to sit on.

G, who's DM?

Ketan said...


I'd be dishonest if I say, number of comments don't matter.

I've encountered numerous blogs that are exceedingly popular--say more than 50 followers, and each post evoking at least 30 to 40 responses, but those blogs always seem superficial, and kind of seeking approval for their thoughts. At such points, I start doubting if anything write at all is sincere.

On the other hand, the blogs that have impressed me the most have never had more than 20 genuine regular followers.

In fact, some have been without any comments!

I think if you read a post, and in general, like a blog, it's best to drop in a line to that effect.

But personally, I make it a point that I post only what I want to.

Blogosphere uncannily simulates the real world. Some people sell their souls and live absolutely on others' terms, without ever realizing it themselves, and some are fiercely individualistic.

Incidentally, I landed here from GB's recent post!

Take care.

Makybe Diva said...

I read blogs because I spent 12 hours before computer and when i have some time to relax It gives me sometime of fun ..besides Blogs like yours are interesting ,funny, gives you variety ..

so keep posting at least 2 posts daily for me :) !!

Besides it is much better reading friends blogs than going to Masala blogs like http://bigb.bigadda.com and getting to know (bahu Aish ko zukham ho gaya tha aur ab theek hai ) ..

gayatri said...

DM is whatay.com - Domain Maximus by Siddin Vidukut