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ashokbhatia

Can we identify a God who can be beseeched to preside over our Internet-ional GaneshaAffairs?

In Hinduism, for example, we are exposed to a mind-boggling variety of divine manifestations. Down the long corridors of time, since the dawn of history, the Hindu pantheon has evolved with a multitude of deities.

The deities offer an eclectic mix – some are highly specialized whereas others are all-purpose ones. Some are removers of any obstacles that a seeker may face in life. Some grant better learning abilities and wisdom. Some bestow immense wealth and prosperity. Then we have the generalist trinity – one is said to have crafted the creation, one runs it smoothly like a true blue CEO while another destroys and reconstructs. The latter two intervene in human affairs as and when they deem it necessary.Ravi_Varma-Lakshmi

In fact, there is no sphere of life which has not been touched by some…

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Netizens who happen to be on Facebook come in different sizes, shapes, hues and ethnicities. Their value systems, personalities, mentalities and quirkiness quotients form a captivating rainbow of humanity. The psychology of the individual varies for all. So do their posts.

Even though the Posters and the Postees on Facebook are merely prisoners of their own individual psychologies, one can discern broad patterns in their behaviour. Some are compulsive Posters who consider a day wasted if they are not able to pass by their Facebook account. Others are casual by temperament and saunter in occasionally, sharing something on their timeline and then getting busy with the mundane affairs of their lives. Many others, who form but a minority, create an account and then blissfully forget all about it.

(The term Poster here refers to those who post on Facebook. The term Postee alludes to the hapless souls who have no choice but to go through it in their daily feed.)

If Rupert Psmith (of P G Wodehouse fame) were to endeavour to classify different kinds of Posters normally found on this social media platform, the results may be somewhat along the following lines.

  1. The Conscientious Poster

The Poster posts something of genuine interest to many, gets beefed up by the number of ‘likes’ and comments received, and a healthy discussion ensues.

If the Postees happen to be chasing their own dreams in life and no ‘likes’ and comments ensue, the Poster is likely to get into a V-shaped depression which takes some time to wear off.

Such bouts of depression are not dissimilar to the kind of traumatic phases Lord Emsworth passes through when the Empress of Blandings starts refusing her daily dose of nourishment.

The popularity and longevity of a post depends on many factors: (a) Contemporary relevance of the topic, (2) The time at the disposal of the Postees, (3) The degree to which the topic is controversial, and (4) Whether the Poster keeps responding to the steady stream of comments pouring in.

  1. The Ghost Poster

The Postee gets a notification from someone like Stiffy Byng on her friends’ list providing a link to something which interests the Postee. However, upon visiting the link, the Postee finds the item alluded to missing, much like a fakir of yore doing his vanishing trick.

Perhaps the administrators, in their infinite wisdom, decided to dump the link, deeming it to be inappropriate for civilization at large.

  1. The Detached Poster

Such Posters follow the advice dished out by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. They merely exercise their right to post things which, in their opinion, could interest the hoi polloi. They do not crave for any results from such posts. Having posted, they move on to perform other duties in their lives, only to return with yet another post. ‘Likes’ and comments on their posts are none of their concerns. They post in the true spirit of a detached soul. They happen to be true practitioners of renunciation.

  1. The Share-a-Crap Poster

Some people are in the habit of unleashing every single thing they find in their notification upon all the unsuspecting persons on their friends’ list, leaving many of the Postees twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out the rationale of such posts. Many of them, particularly those who believe in the power of introspection, start wondering as to what they have done to deserve the honour of receiving such inane posts.

  1. The Political Garbage Poster

Nowadays there are many arm-chair political analysts who keep posting their political opinions disguised as deep analyses about everything happening on either the national or the international stage. They keep unleashing unwarranted garbage of all kind on the clueless Postees, while themselves living in a delusional bubble of superior knowledge and analytical stills on matters in which they have no real responsibility of their own. It is a superb exercise in flattering the fledgling ego of the Poster.

Come election time and such posts further heighten the decibel level of the kind of rhetoric and jingoism which is sometimes made to look like hyper nationalism. Roderick Spode would heartily approve.

The presence or absence of ‘Likes’ and comments on their posts fail to dampen their enthusiasm; they keep posting relentlessly on matters national and international geopolitics.

  1. The Religious Rowdy Poster

The Posters of such posts forward photos of some benevolently smiling God over Himalayas or a boon-granting Goddess with the backdrop of a jungle, both clearly a result of some clever photo-shopping. The hapless Postees are then threatened with dire consequences if they fail to share forward the post within 3 seconds of having set their eyes on it.

The fate of Postees who do follow such instructions is not known; what is certain, however, is that such chain-posts do keep the Facebook guys and the internet service providers laughing all the way to their respective banks.

When the same Poster keeps posting about the same God most of the times, he willy-nilly ends up offending the Gods left out, who take a jaundiced view of the proceedings. The risk of inviting their collective wrath keeps going up with each offending post.

  1. The Sympathy-gainer Posters

These are Posters who follow the rules of commerce laid down by Ukridge. They have perfected the art of playing with the Postees’ heart-strings. Emotional blackmail of this kind could take the shape of either a blood-smeared kid or an IV lined ICU patient whose photo is posted, claiming that Facebook gives them One rupee for every ‘Like’, Five Rupees for every Share and 10 Rupees for a comment. Some posts even try and touch the wallets of the gullible Postees.

One can be certain that poor Mark Zuckerberg has enough troubles on his plate other than facing the prospect of going bankrupt thus.

  1. The Narcissist Poster

In the universe of this brand of Posters, God is always in heaven. There is never a problem in sight. The sun never sets. Rain never plays a spoil sport.

Hourly updates concerning themselves, their families and friends, their pets, their escapades in life and anything that happens to them under the sun keep popping up at such regularity as to put even atomic clocks to shame.

It is common to find an apparently loving wife posting an anniversary greeting to her equally apparently loving husband; fathers greeting their sons on their birthdays, even when both are living under the same roof, and doting daughters wishing their mother on her birthday, etc.

The underlying belief obviously is that love for their near and dear ones needs to be expressed publically and not in private; that public approval of a private sentiment is necessary.

Imagine Bobby Wickham having access to Facebook. In order to get her mother to approve of her intentions of walking down the aisle with Reginald “Kipper” Herring, all she has to do is to announce her feigned plan of marrying Bertie Wooster on her timeline, accompanied by a selfie of herself and her mentally negligible fiancée beaming happily together at an exotic locale.

Under this category, there exist several sub-categories of Posters.

a. The Foodie (Bakasura) Posters, who post photos of what and where they are eating at any point in time.

Fast food joints like McDonalds’ and CCD just love such Posters, though it is not clear why they don’t offer freebies to such promotional creatures. For all the Postees care, they could be swallowing some form of poison or the other.

After all, drooling over the snaps of a 32 course meal dished out by a local Anatole is injurious to the lining of the stomach of any of the Postees who might already be suffering under strict instructions from their physicians and better halves to lay off the succulent variety of vitamins.

b. The Travelling Posters, who keep posting photos of their national or international sojourns, thereby keeping not only airlines, hotels and other service providers but even robbers back home in brisk business.

The destination as well as the mode of travel is often highlighted so as to make the Postees green with envy.

Often, the Posters forget that one is permitted to catch a flight or a train without having to compulsorily post it on Facebook. Sure enough, they believe in the sage counsel from Jeeves – that travel is highly educational.

c. The Emotional Posters: They could be feeling sad or elated at some event and would post a soulful quote of a famous poet or lyricist. They simply forget that when they cry, the Postees are not interested in sharing their bad fortune. Yes, some might make sympathetic noises. Also, when they laugh, quite a few may join in, but are not enthused enough to get out on the street and shake a leg or two.

  1. The Thoughtless Posters

It is a sad commentary on the kind of times we live in when we find that even terrorists decide to become tech-savvy Posters.

Gullible Postees who act like headless chickens, lose no time in becoming Posters themselves, thereby giving instant publicity and wide coverage to such heinous acts.

The case for a Social Media Detox

Some posts are amusing and anecdotal in nature. Some are entertaining. Few are educational. Quite a few are inane and eminently forgettable. But a vast majority of the posts basically share information about happier occurrences in the lives of a Poster with the Postees in their circle of friends and acquaintances.

Those who have become addicted to social media are more to be pitied than to be censured. Rather than using a platform like Facebook as a useful tool in life, they have opted to become its slaves.

Perhaps, there is a strong case for more of such hapless souls to join SPIN, the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism! Or, taking up an internet de-addiction course offered by the Droitgate Spa!!

(Note: Sriram Paravastu is an ex-Indian Air Force professional. When he decides to take a dig at some of our social ills, he uses the laser beam of a soldier-like discipline and precision to carpet bomb the issue at hand.

This blog post is penned by him. Yours truly is guilty of having taken quite a few liberties with his original text.

Illustrations are courtesy Suvarna Sanyal, a retired banker who has an eye and an ear for all there is to see, listen to and laugh at in this world.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/the-droitgate-spa-now-offers-net-detoxification-programs)

 

 

 

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ashokbhatia

When it comes to writing, we are not too bad. Words help us to keep ourselves connected with the Blogging illustrationworld around us. Our inner joys, sorrows, trials, triumphs take the shape of blogs which we keep posting at regular intervals. We can’t help ourselves but write. In other words, we are a bunch of declared Blogaholics. We have no intentions of getting rid of this addiction. And we do not wish to remain anonymous!

Writing is like an internal cleaning process for us. Some of us use it to unburden the soul; some others for spreading cheer. Some of us are here to promote our books, whether present, upcoming or still in the realm of our pious intentions. Some of us are here to make money. Quite a few of us are here simply to educate, entertain and amuse.

We have good days and we have bad days. Often, we…

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Your every ping

Makes my heart sing

 

A chat a day

Keeps blues away

 

Through emoticon

The heart is won

 

Your status update

Could seal my fate

 

Your profile pix

Is a heady mix

 

Of hot and sweet

I follow your tweet

 

And WhatsApp too

I follow you

 

On the Facebook

It is no fluke

 

That (your) every post

I like the most

 

On mails we chat

Of this and that

 

Until at last

Oh! Meet we must

 

Then I awake

Your profiles fake!

 

And all your pings

Of sweet nothings

 

Went out en masse

Alack! Alas!

 

My pal, my bro, my boss, my dad!

All got them, we’ve all been had!

 

And if all this has taught something,

Never ever trust a BBM ping.

(Soumya Mukherjee is an alumnus of St Stephens College and Delhi School of Economics. He earns his daily bread by working for a PSU Insurance company, and lectures for peanuts. His other passions, family, friends, films, travel, food, trekking, wildlife, music, theater, and occasionally, writing. He has been published in many national newspapers of repute. He has published his first novel, Memories, a novella, hopefully, the first of his many books. He blogs as well.

His permission to re-post this composition is gratefully acknowledged. It can also be found at http://www.differenttruths.com/literature/poems/ode-to-social-media)

 

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Can we identify a God who can be beseeched to preside over our Internet-ional GaneshaAffairs?

In Hinduism, for example, we are exposed to a mind-boggling variety of divine manifestations. Down the long corridors of time, since the dawn of history, the Hindu pantheon has evolved with a multitude of deities.

The deities offer an eclectic mix – some are highly specialized whereas others are all-purpose ones. Some are removers of any obstacles that a seeker may face in life. Some grant better learning abilities and wisdom. Some bestow immense wealth and prosperity. Then we have the generalist trinity – one is said to have crafted the creation, one runs it smoothly like a true blue CEO while another destroys and reconstructs. The latter two intervene in human affairs as and when they deem it necessary.Ravi_Varma-Lakshmi

In fact, there is no sphere of life which has not been touched by some Hindu God or the other. However, we are clueless as to who holds the portfolio of Internet Affairs. Someone, who ensures that irrespective of what happens, we always have connectivity. So, we do not suffer from frequent pangs of Noconnphobia (NoConnectivity-Phobia).

A deity for our Internet-ional Affairs

Without Internet, we are left utterly clueless. We are cut off from civilization. It is as if we are deprived of oxygen. A God who ensures that we have uninterrupted and seamless connectivity shall obviously earn our absolute devotion. Grand temples set up to commemorate him would get built, thereby boosting employment prospects and facilitating the use of black money which can surely do with a ‘fair-and-lovely’ treatment at the earliest. The largest temple thus built could even host a Root Server in a basementinternet image 1Garbh Griha’ (the sanctum sanctorum)!

The high priests appointed to take care of the Internet deity on a day-to-day basis would ensure a steady flow of hefty donations to all its temples. Governments world over shall pitch in with liberal grants. Since the only interest of all governments would be to govern better, global harmony would prevail.

A new form of democratic capitalism would come in vogue. Benefits of growth shall be made to trickle down to the poorest of the poor. Reservations and quotas, if any, shall be linked to economic criteria and not to political vote banks determined by caste, creed, sex or religion. Terrorism would get banished. Peace would reign.Sistine-Chapel-God-and-Adam

Of checks and balances

A crack team of tech-savvy consorts of the deity would ensure that the principles of Net Neutrality get honoured; also, that hackers are no longer able to hack. Strict norms of privacy shall be stipulated and followed. With privacy assured, denizens of all countries would breathe easy. This would avoid a repeat of the Ashley Madison episode. Matrimonial harmony shall be a norm rather than an exception. Divorce rates would plummet. Children, whether born out of wedlock or otherwise, would be happier.

One of the Key Result Areas of the concerned deity shall be to manage affairs in such a way that the evolution of Internet never spins out of control. If ever Internet assumes a consciousness of its own, the role of the deity itself shall get subjugated by a higher power. Our civilization shall end up becoming a highly centralized system where all aspects of our lives get controlled. Homo sapiens would then run the risk of becoming truer slaves to technology. Values of fraternity, freedom and liberty shall get obliterated.

Who could possibly play this role?Hanuman_painted_by_Pahari_Painter

Are there gods in the Hindu pantheon who could handle a challenge of this magnitude?

One choice could be that of Lord Hanuman. After all, he is the son of the God of Air (Pavan Putra). He has sterling qualities of head and heart. He is a great executor. Whatever task is entrusted to him, it gets done without a glitch. All we have to do to appease him is to invoke the name of Lord Rama.

The other possibility is that of Lord Shiva; in particular, his form which represents ‘Ether’, one of the five elements of the universe. Aided by his wife, Goddess Parvati, and his two illustrious sons, we shall have the advantage of the whole family pitching in to take care of the Divine Ministry of Internet Affairs.

Yet another contender for this crucial portfolio could be Lord Ganesha. Given His expertise in removing obstacles,Shiva interruptions in connectivity would soon become a thing of the past. As the technology evolves, He would ensure that its progress is free of any disruptions. He is a patron of arts, sciences, intellect and wisdom – realms which are served by Internet. Mice, who fulfill His transportation needs, would refrain from biting any cables which might be carrying bits and bytes for our denizens.

However, all these options present some difficulties.

Lord Hanuman may not like to get involved because of His vow of celibacy. If He does consent, but insists on obnoxious things like Internet porn getting banished, many of His followers may be left in a torment.Ganesha_Basohli_miniature

As to Lord Shiva, He does not tolerate dissent in any form, whereas Internet is all about accommodating opposing viewpoints on any subject under the sun. Were He to ever decide to turn his Third Eye on a Twitteratti dissenter like Kama Deva, even if it is on Skype or Viber, the latter would run the grave risk of turning into ashes. An action of this kind could fuel a global uprising, thereby defeating our basic objective of attaining global peace and harmony through Internet.

With Lord Ganesha, the difficulty lies in the fact that He is to be worshipped before the commencement of a new project. An attempt to invoke His blessings belatedly might simply end up offending Him. One shudders to think of a prospect of that nature.

Are there any other candidates for the top job?Krishna_holding_flute

Let us also consider the candidature of Lord Krishna. His is a multi-faceted personality. Romance, which flourishes on Internet, comes to Him naturally. Those searching for soul-mates would breathe easy. Devising strategy and tactics is an area He excels in. Under His care, growth of Internet would continue unabated.

Those who indulge in hacking would fear swift retribution at His hands, much like the demons which were vanquished due to His timely interventions. Data security would no longer be a cause for concern. Moreover, He has already assured us in Bhagavad Gita that He will come whenever we face a problem. So, we already have an advance performance guarantee.

How about some gender parity?

Hard-core feminists amongst us might wonder as to why none of our delicately nurtured goddesses can get considered for this coveted slot. Those running their e-commerce businesses would vote for Goddess Lakshmi. Those who disseminate knowledge using the world-wide-web shall be rooting for Goddess Saraswati.Saraswati 

Well, our innate sense of chivalry restrains us. The presence of pornographic content holds us back.

The time has come

The mind boggles to think of the consequences of a continued absence of a deity specifically assigned to take care of such net-ty issues. Our denizens shall continue to surf on narrow-band which smart companies would keep projecting as broad-band. Our Smart City plans would come unstuck. Our children shall remain deprived of knowledge and information.

The common man would continue to slip on the ladder of affordable connectivity and only get dumb and dumber. The noble cause of women’s emancipation and empowerment would receive a setback. Politicos and bureaucrats shall continue to twiddle their thumbs trying to figure out how to deliver results. Even the future of several governments could come under a cloud, obviously not of an e-kind.

Now is the time for our religious leaders and intellectuals to come to the aid of the common man. Those who follow different faiths around the world need to come up with brighter ideas as to who could handle this crucial portfolio for us.

Prompt steps need to be taken through the proper channels to identify and declare an appropriate deity to take care of Internet-ional issues.

This brooks no delay whatsoever.

(Note: Inputs from Captain Satish Pande are gratefully acknowledged)

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My dear Blogger,

I think you have a magnificent blog. I just happen to be one of your followers. Allow me to share my plight with you.

De-mystifying my fickleness

To you, I sound fickle-minded. You work hard on creating a marvelous piece that you post. The absence of response 'The Thinker' : Rodinis maddening. You keep twiddling your thumbs, trying to figure out where the denizens of Blogosphere are. It is as if WW-III has broken out and all the followers have gone underground, scurrying for safety. At times, you create something in a jiffy, and lo and behold, you are flooded with likes and comments!

For me, the recipient of all your creative outpourings, yours is just one of the several other blogs I follow. Then there is so much else to be read on the world-wide-web we have spun around ourselves. Please understand that I have the unenviable task of sifting through hundreds of other platforms and blog posts. I might just end up missing your latest post. I may simply lack the time, the will-power or the perseverance to locate the very post you are keen I should look at. Breathe easy. Relax. Give yourself some time.

Of Moore’s Law and sky-diving Attention Spans

You see, the job of keeping a track of what is happening on social media becomes tougher every day. Earlier, I had to undertake an elaborate ritual to kick-start my PC and then see what was up. These days, even while traveling in a ramshackle bus, I merrily continue to check the latest updates. Now, when the smart woman sitting next to me flashes her eyelids and tries to catch up on her updates, I am bound to get distracted, right? Can you then really blame me for missing out on your post, howsoever juicy it might be?

Surely, you have heard of Moore’s Law? As predicted, the transistors per square inch of the ICs used in our gizmos keep going up. Screen sizes keep shrinking. Our attention spans keep sky-diving.

Allow me to propose an AKB’s Law on Attention Spans, which would postulate that ‘The Attention Spans of netizens are directly proportional to the screen size of the gizmo in use, the quality and the topicality of the content, as also its presentation.’ The smaller the screens, the shorter the attention spans. The smarter the content, the longer the attention span. More glitzy the presentation, better the attention it attracts.

If you are in the eye-ball grabbing rat race, aiming at a mass following, you have to keep coming up with zanier and wackier headlines. You can cover topics which are either controversial or of current interest. Press and media professionals do it all the time. But if your posts happen to provide a fresh perspective on issues of global interest, and if you are content with a smaller and more devoted group of followers, you could still catch my attention somehow.

The obligation of providing instant gratification

You already know that blogging is more like a marathon and not a sprint. When you have published something new internet image 2straight from the oven, please do not expect me to rush to my IT contraption, all agog in excitement, quivering in keen anticipation, and post either a ‘like’ or a ‘comment’ right away. I could be busy with my own life. Even if my eyes are glued to a screen of sorts at the time, I could be deep into something else. Give me some space.

At the end of each tiring day, as I sit bleary-eyed in front of my laptop, the least I want to read about is one of your raves and rants about the several ills plaguing our society. Or, a personal problem you happen to facing. You see, I am already suffering an overdose of negativity around me. Nor do I expect to read about how your day went. Life happens to me as well and I know the pressures of a typical day in one’s life.

Yes, if you have something to say which could be of some use to me, I might glance at it. For example, if your boy/girl friend has just decided to dump you, you have my deepest sympathies. But I might not be interested in the not-so-juicy details of the break-up. Yes, if you have tips on how to be successful in getting my wife to walk out of my life, I would lap up your post much like a hungry cat would devour a hapless creature of the piscine kind.

The great sermon handicap

I detest sermonizing on your part. As a kid, I had to put up with this charade at the hands of my parents. As a student, my teachers took it upon themselves to mould me right; they simply ended up reducing my self-confidence to pulp. Once I tied the knot, my spouse took up the task of reforming me. Born optimist that she is, her sincere endeavours continue unabated till this day. On the job, several of my bosses continue to do it with unfailing regularity and severity. Of late, to my chagrin, even my children have started making such attempts. Living up to some lofty ideals held sacrosanct by those who profess to love me has left my soul in torment. Please do not add to this discomfiture of mine.

Yes, if you have learnt something new from an experience of your own, I am game. For example, your internetBlogging illustration connection has been playing truant and you have discovered a deity which specializes in setting it right. I look forward to learn from you the special invocation which you find to be effective. Let us say your spouse has been bed-ridden and you have suddenly found a website which sends you a maid at a very short notice. I would surely like to try it out. Or, you have just found a new trick of convincing your boss to let you have a day off. I would be delighted to know. You could have discovered a way of having your morning cup of tea while reading your newspaper peacefully, without being disrupted by a nagging spouse. Please, oh please, do share it with the denizens of Blogosphere. Like me, all permanent members of the Harassed Husbands’ Association would bless you no end.

Not looking for a fly-by-night wordsmith

Try to be regular, will you? If you get erratic in posting your ideas and thoughts, I might just lose track. If you are a regular, I shall love to watch your progress with considerable interest. We may even become blog-buddies, exchanging ideas and what not. If your ego is sublimated, I could even think of giving you some tips. If you are feeling down in the dumps, I could perhaps cheer you up. I could be your sounding board for ideas for simmering within you for future posts.

The long and short of it

When you start composing your outpourings, you find yourself unable to stop. You go on and on. Please have a pity on me. With continuous exposure to screens of all kinds, my eyesight is already failing. Also, I have limited time at my disposal. Please come up with pieces which are short, sweet and to-the-point. If your post is a long one, let it be. In that case, just ensure that I am able to grasp the likely nature of the contents within the first two paragraphs of your post. Or, group your paragraphs and provide sub-headings.

Another thing that puts me off

Often, I take some precious time off and exercise my grey cells to write a comment. But you do not bother to either acknowledge or respond within a reasonable period of time. If you are too busy to do so, you are welcome to remain in your ivory tower. I would then simply exercise my democratic rights and ‘un-follow’ you.

Let the title not be a cross-word puzzle

Do please provide a heading which says it all. If you make it too tantalizing, I may simply get put off. If you make itinternet image 1 too indirect, my pitiable IQ levels might just fail you. Please be aware that my idea of an exciting career is not to become an assistant to either Sherlock Holmes or Dr Watson.

The inner glow of happiness

When you post, you are happy for having expressed yourself to the world. Yes, words of praise and encouragement become the fuel which keeps you chugging along on all six cylinders. But try not to be over-dependent on me to provide this fuel to you on a regular basis.

I am in Blogosphere merely to relax, to get amused, to derive some inspiration, to be entertained and, at times, to get educated. To learn something new. To discover new vistas. Help me in any way you can in doing any of this, and you shall be suitably rewarded. Great many likes may come your way. Juicy comments would continue to flow in.

Hope some of this makes some sense to you. If it does not, pray do not fret. I am myself not someone who practices what I preach. The fact that this post itself has become much too long, exceeding 1,500 words in all, goes on to prove this, right?

Happy blogging!

Your Ardent Follower

(Inputs from a fellow blogger, Ms Lopamudra Mitra, are gratefully acknowledged)

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When it comes to writing, we are not too bad. Words help us to keep ourselves connected with the Blogging illustrationworld around us. Our inner joys, sorrows, trials, triumphs take the shape of blogs which we keep posting at regular intervals. We can’t help ourselves but write. In other words, we are a bunch of declared Blogaholics. We have no intentions of getting rid of this addiction. And we do not wish to remain anonymous!

Writing is like an internal cleaning process for us. Some of us use it to unburden the soul; some others for spreading cheer. Some of us are here to promote our books, whether present, upcoming or still in the realm of our pious intentions. Some of us are here to make money. Quite a few of us are here simply to educate, entertain and amuse.

We have good days and we have bad days. Often, we are disappointed. A post which we thought was very clever and had the potential to go viral sinks without a trace. Once in a while, a surfer comes across our island of thoughts in the Blogging Ocean and finds it of immense interest. We find a sudden spurt in our views. We gain a follower.

We crave publicity. We crave recognition. We find it hard to come by. We twiddle our thumbs wondering what we are doing wrong. We dread becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous, drifting along aimlessly in a global ocean of ideas, words and sentences, with no shimmering sand of popular recognition in sight.

What can we do to avoid becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous? With all humility at my command, allow me to share with you what I have learnt so far.

Not Ignoring Statistics

It helps to keep an eye on our blog statistics. Which topics have we written about that are the most popular? Can we be more vocal on these topics? Can we bring in our personal experience in these areas which could be shared in further detail?

Is there a pattern we notice, related to, say, the day of our having hit the ‘publish’ button? Does it help to increase the frequency of our posts? May be, making them shorter and crisper instead of long winding ones? How can we leverage this insight to make our blog site scale greater heights in the days to come?

WordPress has an excellent feedback mechanism. Perhaps some of us can use it better.

Keeping an Ear to the Ground

What are our followers saying? What are they writing about? Reading up others’ blogs, related articles and books helps us to narrow the bandwidth of our outpourings.

Blabbering about whatever appears on the mental horizon without adequate back up research often does us in. It is all about interactions with live people with similar hopes and aspirations. If we respect them by reacting to their ideas, they would return the favour.

Being a Long Term Gymnast

Why are we into blogging? Do we have a long term goal? If so, do we have a plan to work upon? This is quite relevant for those who are here with either a promotional or a commercial goal.

If we are here to have fun, we can afford the luxury of going with the flow. Our blog site then sounds and smells like a fresh bouquet. Yes, if there are roses tucked in there of a primary area of our expertise, the aroma is even more invigorating. Our followers broadly know what to expect from us, but could get pleasant surprises once in a while!

Thinking of giving up the blogging sprint midway? No way! One, our self-respect will take a blow. Our absence will never get noticed by others. Only our continued presence will make us a long term gymnast.

Avoiding Carbon Emissions

We have the democratic right to rant. But before making that a habit, we need to think. Could our carbon emissions be someone else’s oxygen? They may empathize and they may relate to it for some time. But they could soon melt away.

Some of us do go a step further and touch upon a sensitive subject. By deliberately courting controversy, we may gain higher circulation for some time. Whether it would last in the long run would depend on three things – the inherent merit in the argument, our own conviction in the matter and our ability to keep our followers’ interest alive and ticking.

Quality over Quantity

Do we prefer to have a multitude of faceless followers? Or, would we be happy instead to have a few regular ones who would be like a well-knit group of friends traveling along with us? This is an individual choice that we make.

Our followers would typically fall in three brackets – casual, serious and passionate. Casual ones would not mind hearing from us three times in a day. Serious ones would be looking for a deeper meaning in our posts. The passionate ones would themselves be subject experts – they would expect range as well as depth in our posts. Just like in life, we can’t please them all.

In any case, all of them are here either to learn something new, or to relish a chuckle or two, or to get entertained. If we work on providing a fresh perspective to the subject we excel in, or keep touching on areas which concern them, their tribe would only multiply.

Structure, Title and Publicizing

I guess we are smart enough and have already figured this out. But I believe what is worth communicating is surely worth over-communicating!

Three Cs

If I were to sum up in three simple words the traits a blogger must have, I would say: Commitment, Curiosity and Content. 

This does not claim to be an exhaustive list of what can be done. In order to make our blogging voyage more pleasurable, you may like to add few more points which I might have overlooked.

Happy blogging!

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-confessions-of-an-armchair-blogger)

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