Last week I conducted a 'blogging workshop' at IIIT Hyderabad. My second such workshop - the first being at IIT Kharagpur last year.
Each time I was wondering: kya karoon. Should I treat it like a 'creative writing' workshop? Or like a seminar - repare a ppt on blogging and bombard the audience with my gyaan and fundas for half an hour?
As it turned out, we ended up having an interactive session both times. At IIIT we had a computer with a net connection hooked up to a projector and so we viewed and reviewed the blogs of anyone and everyone who wanted feedback.
First of all, I think blogs fall in two categories:
a) Personal: something you write for yourself. Like a personal diary, a collection of random thoughts or observations about specific people and events in your life.
You may like to keep this completely private or share it with some of your friends. In any case, the subject matter would not be of interest to the general public.
b) General: something you write which you want to build readership for. This is a one-person magazine which may contain personal opinion (any good blog does!) but on subjects of interest to people other than your friends.
Of course I believe that even such a blog must essentially be written for yourself. Not for a potential audience. Because only when you are true to that spirit will you attract an audience in the first place.
But is life really that compartmentalised?
X has a personal blog and is so 'not bothered' about traffic that he does not even host a sitemeter. But certain posts he does want a wider audience for. "Should I start a separate blog for that?"
My pov: That makes sense and I see many people with multiple blogs. But can you really manage it? Judging by the frequency of posting most people find it difficult to maintain even one. So I for one would not advise!
Y has blogging for a while but stopped a few months ago because he got bored of it."I keep repeating myself.. the topics.. even the phrases I use. So what's the point?"
My pov: Y happened to be a very talented writer. Actually he struck me as one of those super-intelligent guys who could probably do one or the other thing very easily. And hence, it's not even a case of writer's block. He just finds blogging is no longer fun and neither a challenge.
So no big deal - stop blogging! It's not a baby you have to be responsible for, your whole life.
Z posts short stories on his blog but only one every few months. "I want them to be perfect.. so I keep working at it."
My pov: The quest for perfection is pointless! And more so on a blog. Better post something half baked than keep a perenially cold oven.
Ultimately blogging is not a popularity contest. So please, if you're on a campus where 'everyone has a blog' don't fret about why you aren't getting enough visitors or comments.
Blog because something inside you needs to be put into words. Yes, you can format it a little better, tag it, spread links and all that jazz. But ultimately it's all about love.
Do you love to blog?