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Blogging a 'Bloggerminator'

Outlook’s ‘inhouse sceptic’ TR Vivek fancies himself as a bloggerminator. Last time his pen spewed this venom:

The Indian blogging community (or blogosphere, as it likes to call itself) is essentially a bitchy, selfindulgent and an almost incestuous network comprising journalists, wannabe-writers and a massive army of geeks who give vent to their creative ambitions on the internet. Given that the average blogger-age is 25 years, it’s clear bloggers love to indulge in hearty name calling and taking college-style potshots at others. This is probably why some of them get into trouble.

In their latest ‘New Year Double Issue’ Outlook spares a couple of pages for the weirdos on the web, where Vivek shares the dias with Jai Arjun Singh and Amit Verma (blog celebrities?) but ensures that his is the last word, but virtue of the other two preceding him.

“Most posts were on the lines of Mid-Day said this, TOI didn’t report that, Outlook put Rani Mukherjee on the covers rather than the floods, and so on … Astronomical web-page hits and Technorati.com searches apart, what citizen reportage are we talking about?”

Well, he has got a point here. The problem with the blog as a citizen media is that individual bloggers with their limited resources can only concentrate on the news analyses and opinions, the news gathering part will have to be catered by the ad-funded mainstream media. After all blogging is a passion, not a profession and Outlook did put Rani Mukherjee on the covers.

“Thankfully, some of the saner bloggers agree that it is impossible to prove that blogs save lives or make a difference.”

When did blogs take out the tom-toms to announce that they are the Kalki avatar? If any such impressions were created it was by the news-starved mainstream media. And who by the way form that exclusive category of ‘saner bloggers?’ Atleast the few I know don’t, because ‘proving’ that ‘blogs can save lives and make a difference’ is no big deal.

“For the urban twenty-somethings with intellectual pretensions and the hope of being spotted by the commissioning editor of a publishing house, it’s the new P3, or rather the virtual world’s own India International Centre.”

Now I feel a little better/worse (I can’t understand). We are the new virtual P3P? Are blogs showrooms to showcase and sell? Whatever it may be, Sir Arthur C. Clarke doesn’t seem to agree with the sceptic. In Outlook’s ‘Tenth Anniversary Mega Issue’ the great guru of science fiction says, “…one thing is clear: the age of passive media consumption is coming to an end. There will be no turning back on the road from Citizen Kane to citizen journalist.

This post proves Sir Clarke’s point. In the past I would have at best written a letter to Outlook (which I like for being open to criticism). If it pleased/displeased the editor enough and survived the following ‘right-sizing,’ it might have filled up a couple of column centimetres.

But here I’m with a 500 word observation. The blog’s here to stay. Yes, it needs to evolve – but it’s headed the right way. Right up those snobbish noses.

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  • dwaipayan

    as usual!!!those morons wil criticize us. and their cricisism means that we are doing something. and we do not need to bother ourselves by their worthless comments. blogging is going to stay. that’s all

  • Admin

    this was one hell of a blogalysis.. wait till the critical mass is achieved….

  • asabnis

    possibly the fear of an active participant, active citizen. is that where it stems from?bloggers have started meeting now, in person. it may be worthwhile a survey how many of these 25-somethings spend time reading a newspaper vis-a-vis blogs. like anthony says, wait till the critical mass, it’s a phenomenon.

  • R

    “Thankfully, some of the saner bloggers agree that it is impossible to prove that blogs save lives or make a difference.” damn these guys!

  • pallavi

    good lord. I hope this does not turn into another war…

  • thalassa_mikra

    I’m intrigued by his conflation of two contrasting metaphors in the same sentence. By now, saying something is like “P3” is the laziest trick in the book, but I wonder if Vivek has spent any time at the India International Centre. The cafetaria food’s reasonably good, and the lawns are fun to walk around in, but I’d never think of it being the launching pad of a publishing career. Now you’re going to tell me Vikram Seth got published by hanging out with the old fogeys of IIC? Puh-leez.

  • Shivangi Misra

    I see… “Coffe! No, Toffee!”…the argument continues!

  • San

    I’m reading of this stuff lately, blogs and bloggers seem to come under a great deal of cricisism .. oh well the war of words shall continue

  • Accidental Fame Junkie

    It’s easy to criticisize something that no one understands. It’s far more difficult to understand it.

  • paurna

    i think the MSM is just both scared as well as awed by the blogging community.it’s awed by the fact that blogging has made such rapid strdies in such a short time and it’s scared by the fact the blogging could eventually obliterate MSM(which IMHO is not possible in the near future)

  • AquaM

    Hmm, mayb this vivek guy needs to rethink his stance. Either he is plain stupid or just feigning ignorance. Third, he belongs to a community of critics who just to like to argue for the heck of it and have nothing worthwhile to contribute, hence they spend their time writing stuff off the top of thier hats. SOunds more like a frog in the well.And Soumyadip, thx for the gyan (my latest post). DO chk it again. AFJ and I have had our share of responses to your comment:)

  • Vijay Krishna

    Indian MSM can afford to take such potshots at bloggers, because unlike in the US, we are still a minority and are neither movers nor shakers. At least not yet.Mr. Vivek baffles me. Why should he consider bloggers as competitors to journalists? I must say “<>His ignorance is matched only by his ignorance!<>“

  • Hiren

    To put it in a nutshell, blog is a means for budding writers to showcase thier talent just as TV programs are for dancers and singers. There is no conflict with the mainstream media.

  • Thoughtless Maniac

    I think these people are feeling insecure (lol…)especially Mr.TRV.Bloggers are the competitors now?? :)Goes to show their ignorance more than anything else.

  • Chintamani

    I hope Vivek will reply my < HREF="http://wethemedia.blogspot.com/2005/12/dear-tr.html" REL="nofollow">open letter<> to him.

  • The Marauder’s Map

    Much as I am disgusted with T R Vivek’s unfair and biased judgement of bloggers, I must put in a word here for MSM. We (bloggers) often make the mistake of identifying one journalists’s attitude with that of the ENTIRE MSM’s — and that’s just not true, so let’s not get excited about how MSM feels threatened by us. Even one publication’s antipathy towards blogging does not prove that MSM as a whole is dismissive about or feels threatened by blogging. Most of the time, it’s an individual response. As for Outlook, I suspect Vinod Mehta is hugely amused by this debate and is indulgently letting T R Vivek fight it out with bloggers. (Cross-posted on my blog)