Friday, November 11, 2005

Belated view of a 'flop' show I didn't attend

I must say I'm rather amused by the last blogosphere controversy which I awoke to rather late.

I saw the TOI report about the Delhi bloggers' meet the morning it was published. That is, I glanced at the headline, sulked out a thought - "Oh, there was a blogger's meet? How come nobody told me?" - turned the page, and went on scan the fine print for any news of real interest to me. Which, may I please mention (at the risk of adding to the unfounded accusation that our collective favourite pastime is MSM-bashing), there was very little of.

I noticed that the word 'flop' was used. I didn't pay any attention to the rest of the article because it was such a clear sign that the writer did not understand the blogging world at all.

Blogging is a virtual activity. Blogosphere is VIRTUAL.
It is comprised of people who sit in front of computer screens, hitting keys for the pleasure of it, or for a cause, or even for self-promotion of a certain kind. These people will read what other people like themselves are writing. These people will scream, rant, rave, stand up for each other, laugh when they receive legal notices, make fun of those who deserve it....
but these people may choose not to crawl out of the woodwork to say hello.

In any case, judging the strength of a virtual phenomena through a very real-world meeting is silly. That's like having a club of dedicated online gamers and judging their 'happening' quotient through their abilities on a grass court. That's a contrary, self-defeating exercise.

Speaking for myself...
Blogger meets: I've attended only one in the last one year and that was not an official 'blogging' event. It just so happened that Morquendi was in the country and some of us who knew each other only in blogosphere until then, decided to meet.

I'd attend a few, given enough notice, and assuming I'm in town. I like most bloggers I know and it would be a pleasure seeing them....

But I have a job. And some creative writing pretensions. I'm part of two active writing groups. I have friends who have nothing to do with blogs or media. I have more blogs than I know what to do with and they're all crying for updates.

Besides which, I do not have the luxury of blogging full-time. And to think that despite the fact that there's no money to be made, there are hundreds, thousands of bloggers in each city, blogging away like there's no tomorrow, or like tomorrow could be made different by all this blogging.... that does not sound like a flop show to me.

The fact that everyone wants a blog, regardless of whether they use it or not, is another indication of whether it's a hit parade or a flop show.

Besides, the writer assumes that there's some sort of show happening here. There isn't. Meets happen because bloggers may be so inclined. They aren't intended as a media circus, despite so many of us straddling that MSM-blog fence.

Speaking for myself, again, I would not want them to be. I don't want blog-meets to turn into Page3 events. I don't want my mug in the morning papers. And (don't kill me, fellow-blogozens) I don't even want blog-meets to be well-attended. I can deal with 5 strangers, 6 maybe, 8 at a cinch... Any more and I want to run, backing away from the crowd. After which I will promptly go and check a very crowded blogosphere, to see what I was missing...

I have a strong suspicion that I'm not the only blogozen who does this.

On the other hand, if there's a blog I really like, and it is not updated for a week or more, I worry. I wonder if something's happened to the blogger. I send (and receive) apologetic small-voiced emails enquiring after the concerned blogger's well-being (when I get these, I am very kicked, and promptly go back to posting with a real sense of purpose).

Again, I have a strong suspicion that I'm not the only blogozen who feels this.

Besides, look at my bloglines account. More and more people each week. I follow links and peep in, lips ever-ready to curl with contempt. But if the blog is consistently interesting, I go looking for its feed. And every time I add somebody, that's my way of opening the door to a blogozen, saying, 'Hey! Cool stuff... '

Which doesn't necessarily mean that I'll want to meet/hang out with this blogozen in real life...

22 comments:

K said...

Somehow I find 'virtual' bloggers far more exciting than their real-life persona's. Anyway, this controversy over, everybody has chilled out, next one in a couple of days..
:-)

Jabberwock said...

"I don't even want blog-meets to be well-attended. I can deal with 5 strangers, 6 maybe, 8 at a cinch..."

Know how that feels. I can only deal with two at a time.

Vijayeta said...

Oh yes, I know how it feels. As someone who's reasonably new to the blog world...it did give me major thrills when i ran into someone who blogged too. And had linked my blog to hers! It made me happy for one whole week!

TTG said...

Well, I have a feeling I'll never be asked to host a blog meet in the near/far future, we're looking for hosts for the December edition...

P.S. Wouldn't you at least like to meet the 4 master criminals of this past month's blog meet? ;-)

Heretic said...

Am not sure if you're aware of this group: http://dbm.rediffblogs.com/

They used to be active and seem to have quite a few interesting bloggers--although that would change depending on your definition of interesting.

My thoughts? I love meeting bloggers (especially those that write well), but hate the trigger-happiness of the amateur photographers. Camera-shy is my middle name; guess that goes for a lot of other people. :-)

BangaloreGuy said...

I can deal with 5 strangers, 6 maybe, 8 at a cinch... Any more and I want to run, backing away from the crowd. After which I will promptly go and check a very crowded blogosphere, to see what I was missing...

I have a strong suspicion that I'm not the only blogozen who does this.


Yup yup, you're not the only one.

WishfulThinker said...

I would love to atend a blog-meet someday...but I can totally dig what you say about not being able to handle more than eight strangers at a time! Well written post I must say!

√úbermaniam said...

Do you miss me when I don't comment for a few days on your well-thought out, lucidly put together posts? :-)

Mall Road said...

Yup, I can't handle more than three at a time. The first meet in Barista (about which I had mailed you but you said you won't be able to make it) had some 17 people and I didn't enjoy it. The second meet had five people and boy, it was such fun! The third meet I could not attend, and Ranjan Yumnam made it famous. There will be another in December and I insist that Annie Zaidi join us!

Aishwarya said...

Like you, I have a problem handling a big group of strangers, two or three is about the most I can manage. The Morquendi meet ss the only one I've ever attended, unless you count meeting individual bloggers.

Speaking of the Morquendi one, Jai, how did you handle that one? there were six whole people there.;)

Rabin said...

I am not one for crowds or vast groups of strangers but I most certainly would like to meet some bloggers whose writings I admire a lot but then, thats just a handful.

Blue Athena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blue Athena said...

Nice read Annie. :)

Though I write like a frenetic at times, there are those moments of lull. And yes, it does feel nice when people who would not recognize me from a Riya or a Priya otherwise want me safe and well when I don't post something for over a week or so. :)

Am in no way the ideal case for study of anthropophobia, yet like to keep to myself and blog. And reach out to no one in particular or so many. :)

Happy blogging!

Shilpa said...

I identify with the bit about being apprehensive about the no. of strangers you can meet at one go, at one place. Am crowd-o-phobic too, where a crowd = anything >2 people, whom i don't know.

I have linked to yours for two reasons: 1. Your blog makes for an interesting read:) 2. you link to several more!

Opinionated said...

With so many responses expressing the same sentiment - not wanting to meet too many strangers, I'm tempted to toy with the notion that bloggers too may fall under the social recluse (if not misfit) umbrella that netizens are clubbed under...

Jokes apart, what really cheeses me off is the kind irresponsible reporting that TOI represents!

thalassa_mikra said...

Annie, don't know if you'll get to see this, but I just read your post on your train journey. And then there was remembrance of the kindness of strangers experienced in similar circumstances.

I wish I could write as you did, but you do it so well.

indiacorporatewatch said...

I too joined the bloggers of bangalore club but unsubscribed from their group
after one meet

Wavelengths just did not match

Ashish Gorde said...

I cannot identify with this piece because no bloggers meet take place over here. Maybe that's a good thing?

Rajesh said...

Is there an estimate of how many people are blogging from India today? Does anyone have anything on this? Do post a comment on my page on this please!

Jabberwock said...

Aishwarya: that was different. I knew you, Annie and Chandrahas, and there was a comfort level with Janaki since we'd commented so often on each others' posts. Morquendi was the only one I didn't know at all, and he was fun. That's still easily the most relaxed bloggers' meet I've been to btw.

aparna said...

an interesting take Annie :-)

annie said...

ooh, this has turned out to be one of my most-commented-upon posts. and the strange thing is that everyone, almost, is agreeing with me! Cause for much cheer...

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