Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why do we blog?

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?

17 comments:

  1. I have started blogging recently and I am enjoying it. Frankly speaking I am not expecting a lot of popularity here, I spend 10-11hrs a day at work and have very less personal time. I feel it’s a good medium to channelize my thoughts and improve my writing skills. During the last 2 months I came across some very interesting blogs. I read your whole blog and am really impressed with your work.
    I have a question, why some bloggers try to ridicule fellow bloggers? How should such criticism be dealt.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have never liked your train of thoughts better, Ms.Bansal... I mean it. Liked every bit of it, particularly when you reigned yourself from making those "populist" judgments which seem to pull down others' work. Hope to see more such balanced pieces... goes against the very idea of blogging, doesn't it?
    :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Rashmi,

    Thanks for the replies.

    I really love my blog.. I enjoy writing .. and off late, I am trying to write with a theme.. I write on anything that makes ppl nostalgic for a couple of minutes..

    Also, I have this coffee with experts series.. :-)

    Thanks the replies for Coffee With Rashmi Bansal! I am very very happy

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love my blog ! and i have only one blog ! i totally suck at blogging ,but i like to let out the crap in me, it makes me feel good, i don't care what anyone thinks , just being me!

    ReplyDelete
  5. well...i like blogging as a parallel medium.

    its on blogs that you find the real news behind the news. its only bloggers who had the courage to say that IIPM is a crappy college , or that infosys is a pathetic company for engineers! if you go by the mainstream media, a completely rosy picture is painted.

    and whats more relieving than finding out that someone else is going through the same thing that you are! maybe you dont know his name or anything, but the very fact that you share so much with him is kinda nice! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. i started blogging as a part of my quest to improve english......but now i feel that this has turned up into one of my hobbies.Actually now i read more and the most interesting thing about reading is that you get to know the thought process, and the modus operandi taken up by people in response to any situation and field.thanks to blogging and people like you which i always cherish to read.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "But is life really that compartmentalised?

    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!"

    People and therefore blogs, are multifaceted. This is why some people resort to signing up for several accounts which, as you pointed out, is difficult to manage. However, a blogging platform with very precise privacy settings, such as I.PH, can solve this problem. By allowing you to create customized privileged groups and decide exactly who you will allow to read a particular post, you get to choose your audience. Some posts you share with everyone, another you might just share with your friends, and another you might just open up to a few close friends. This does away with having to juggle several different blog accounts.

    Great stuff in here Rashmi. Thanks for the good reads. Blog on!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey M'am..
    Thanks a lot for coming down to IIIT for our festival. It was a very nice experience. Hope to see a piece on what you thought of our college

    ReplyDelete
  9. The hyper intelligent, super talented Mr. Y is Badrinath.S

    ReplyDelete
  10. good.....really liked it!!!!......:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. yes yes yes! love to blog. It is empowering to say the least!

    ReplyDelete
  12. no mention about the "IIITians drinking a lot of milk :D"

    ReplyDelete
  13. It was really interesting to check ur blog. Initially while reading I didn't realize dat u r a mag editor. I thought u were some geeky teenager.
    I too have been bitten by the blog bug. Do check @ dmindless.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Respected Rashmi, it is terrific to know that you have made such big leads in India. Congratulations and best wishes for the same.

    Your post was very interactive and practical in many ways. I agree with you in many ways.

    Firstly, it is not easy developing a site / blog. Then, later on, you need to broadcast to the world. Now, how does one do this? It is neither easy nor a magic wand, as there are so many offers across the internet to promote the same.

    However, I came across this website, http://www.whoistopofthelist.com. You can write about your site, post and link, as well as a photo. The service is free.

    Please comment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Suggestions for "YouthCurry": [From my personal blogging Experience]


    >> Changing from the current "Default Blogger" Template to a Personalized template would be nice..


    >> I personally prefer a simple and elegant "Apple" & "Google" like design in light color (easy on the eye).


    >> Also posting your own pics occasionally (only when its relevant of course) in your post gives it a more "Personal" and "Human" touch.


    >> Also shifting to your own personal domain (instead of using the "blogspot" domain) would give it a "Professional" touch..



    Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
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