Dina Mehta’s post about the current state of Blogging in India resonates so well across cultural and state boundaries because she touches on topics which transcend the human race. One of the best things about the article, in addition to the great writing, is the fact that, by reading it, one realized that in most ways all of humanity shares the same traits.
For example, this paragraph of her article pertained to me in every aspect:
Many bloggers will tell you of their addiction to blogging that goes well beyond just writing a piece. How many active bloggers can really say they do not start their day looking for reactions to something they wrote the previous day? Or checking if someone has linked to something they’ve written? Or running their newsreaders to look for interesting pieces by other bloggers in their community? Or checking back at others’ posts they might have left comments at to see how the discussion is evolving? Or checking blog statistics to assess whether more or fewer people are reading what they write?
I love checking behind the scenes of my blog at least daily to see who has written comments. Up to now it’s mostly been my fiancee, and I’m glad to have the comments, but I would hope to have more people making comments as more and more people learn about my blog.
I also love going to other people’s blogs to see what style others employ. Some bloggers like to make themselves into a portal. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, it means they pick a subject for the post and then point the user to a dozen other sites they can go to for learning about the subject. In one extreme example a blog post consisted of just a news headline and lines to news websites talking about it. Others, use their blogs to editorialize. I do this myself with articles like the one I wrote about Snoop coming to Cornell. Some use them as journals where they write about every detail of their lives, no matter how banal.
When it comes to my own blog, I like to think that I have a mix of editorial and journal as my format. Which side my blog seems to be leaning towards depends on my mood at the time. If I’m spending more time watching the news and learning then I tend to editorialize more. Most recently I’ve been using my blog as a forum for advocating Open Source Technology, specifically Linux most of the time. But when the driving force in my life is more of a personal one, I talk more about that.
The other thing Dina mentions in her article that really resonated with me involved the media:
There will be a day when this new media will encourage traditional media to find new ways to connect with their audiences. Where it will change the way people, groups and organizations organize for work and play. Where organizations in India will wish to adopt such technologies and pay bloggers for their time spent blogging.
I have already seen this begin to take root within the traditional media. MSNBC.com has many of its news personalities maintaining blogs where they talk about the items they are reporting in the news. I’m curious to see what people will end up thinking of this. I know that early reaction tended to be a bit resentful as people felt that these weren’t honest blogs, they were just trying to take over what we “little people” were using. In a way it felt as though we were being violated and corrupted. I know there has been a bit of a reversal with MSNBC’s Keith Olberman mentioning getting some of his news sources from blogs. Slowly people will begin to adapt to this new paradigm.
So, as I said in the beginning, it was most amazing to me to see how similar we are in different countries. I feel that there are two ways in which the Internet can have a VERY positive impact. First of all, it can serve to desseminate the ideas of the repressed who have no way of getting their message out on the traditional media. Second, as more and more people truly navigate webpages of others from around the world, the Internet will allow them, if they open their minds, to see that all of us are the same. There is no reason to hate others in a blind xenophobia. If one must feel ill will towards others let it be towards the individual who has wronged you, not the race or country you know little about.