Monday, February 22, 2010

Bloggers By Choice

Man, being a social animal, always tries to associate with different people on some common ground which gives rise to communities. We have communities on the basis of religion, occupation, caste, skin color, political ideologies, etc. The increase of the number of people writing anything and everything on the web has given rise to something called 'blogosphere' and a community of bloggers. Indiblogger organized a real meet of people who produce virtual content at Kyra. This was my first ever bloggers' meet. Though i don't take social lubricants (which was sponsored by Kingfisher), it wasn't difficult to 'network' with the bloggers.

As expected, a lot of issue concerning bloggers and blogging were discussed. I'll blabber on a couple of those topics which i think the readers of Mundane Journey would find interesting.

One of the issues discussed there was how to solve the problem plagiarism. With the content being online, it just takes a Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V to copy an original content from one blog to some other form of media. One of the attendee's blog post was copied by a media house without giving the due credits as required by the License. Given the effort involved in taking legal action and given the giant media house in this case, it would not be practical to take a legal action. One of the thoughts was to use twitter for spread awareness. i think (and as i expressed it in the meet) that one way to solve this would be to blog about such plagiarism. The author can show to his readers his original piece and the one copied by someone else. The blogging community in-turn can join hands to create awareness about the issue. Given the reach of the blogs (though it is minuscule compared to other form of media) substantial awareness can be created. Given the way free media work, its competitors may pick this up as well. In India, things do not necessarily work in top-down way. A lot of times, the push from the bottom creates stir in the top to make then take action. We have seen the power of media in the Jessica Lal case. The same tool can be used to reduce plagiarism. That's the beauty of blogosphere - it's self healing!

Another topic of discussion was whether or not bloggers should be concerned about monetizing their blogs. This gave rise to other sub-topics like marketing and whether a blogger should care about the number of readers, hits or comments. A few were of the opinion that blog is supposed to be a manifestation of the feelings and thoughts of a blogger. He shouldn’t be bothered with money. Another was of the opinion that one cannot do full time blogging as there is a lot of uncertainty in monetizing. He said that Paypal stopped catering to Indian clients and that impacted his revenue from the blog.

I agree that blogging is a way to express your thoughts. However, I take blog as a product whose aim is to carry the opinion of the blogger to the widest possible audience for that content. So, I think I wouldn’t compromise on the content part as it is the core of the product. However, I wouldn’t mind experimenting on the ‘style’ of writing to make it more interesting. Now, to reach out to the audience, marketing is very important. The reason why one has a public blog and not a personal diary is that he wants to ‘share’ his opinion and probably get feedback on the opinion to refine he own thoughts. As someone rightly mentioned in the meet, a post along with the comments make a complete piece. In this endeavor, if the blogger earns a few pennies, then there is nothing wrong with it. This was about ‘casual’ blogging. What’s wrong if a full time professional blogger wants to earn from it? The blogger is providing service to the readers who are getting benefited from it. I think, it’s only fair if an author earns money for the service he offered. A little unrelated example is that of Kyra and Kingfisher. As I mentioned in the TJY post, that is Kyra and Kingfisher is getting some publicity by sponsoring the event (like, I wrote this post!). It’s win-win for all.

Anyway, it was a good discussion session. But there is no constraint of time here. We can take this discussion further and to a wider audience. Do pour in your thoughts on what you feel about the above topics – plagiarism and monetization.


Mohan February 22, 2010 at 6:01 AM  

Good recap of the whole event prashant! Nice to read through your thoughts upon the most discussed topic out there. Thanks for being there and nice to have met you. Look forward to catch up with you regularly here :)

S.R.Ayyangar February 22, 2010 at 5:13 PM  

There is nothing wrong if a professional blogger writes to earn but basically it is a tool to express writer's feelings- DIL SE!

Naveen JP February 22, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

Good artists copy, great artists steal - Pablo Picasso :).

Prashant Mehta February 26, 2010 at 1:36 AM  

Mohan ji

It was nice meeting you too! Sure, we'll catch up.

S. R. Ayyangar ji
I agree with you. Let's not get into moral policing

Naveen JP ji
ahaa! :)

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