Saturday, January 29, 2011

Of blogs and posts

There was a time when many things were blog-worthy. New concepts and ideas, strongly held opinions that had to be expressed in response to some bit of news, replies to questions, rejoinders to criticisms, lengthy essays and diatribes, and such like reasons for the wordsmith within to give expression to his craft. Often, as one went about ones day, an interesting column in the newspaper, a thought provoking passage in a book read while commuting, a conversation with a colleague over lunch, or even something novel one spotted in the street, would trigger the thought – “I must blog this!”

Not much has changed in the stimuli feeding into the cauliflower, newspapers and periodicals are still read (may be heard in some cases), books are purchased and read, and the work days is filled with myriad conversations with colleagues, the city streets are as colourful as ever – and still not much seems to inspire the urge to furiously hammer away ate the keyboard and shoot off a blog entry. And I am not entirely sure I can place my finger on the reason. Yes, insufficient availability of time is a factor – nevertheless it should be possible to squeeze out the time on weekends and may be even some weekdays if it comes to that. But it doesn’t. Things don’t seem as blog-worthy as they did some years ago.

One factor – which I suspect plays a bigger role than time – is that blogs increasingly seem like monologues. Social networking and such avenues have weaned away many millions of eyeballs from blogs. Even serious readers have less time for blogs as they are busy updating what’s on their mind and reading what’s on the mind of their friends. Comments and discussions that arose in response to blog posts are now generally far less lively than they were before. and this is important – discussing ideas tends to generate greater mental focus on the themes and concepts involved, which in turn helps generate more ideas. Merely thinking about ideas by oneself may not be as fecund a process. This is best observed in the work-place. Large meetings tend to be disorganised and confused when it comes to ideas – but smaller focus groups of 3-5 competent individuals are often able to think of innovative solutions an ways forward to workplace problems they seek to resolve. In any case, the point is, the weakening of meaningful and sustained discussions over ideas stems the process of generating new ideas and hence new blog posts. – the process of ideation slows and blogging becomes a less interesting and hence far less frequent pursuit. Unless of course, the blog is used not as a platform to share and review ideas and theories, but a listening wall where one unburdens ones mind transforming the blog into a diary or such-like personal chronicle.

I think this is the speed breaker that Cynical Ruminations has hit. Where as Dharmaraja’s Ashram is practically shut down.

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