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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