The Hidden Baggage of Blogs
haven’t actually read up on the history of blogging but I seem to recall that they began as online personal diaries. People after all having been keeping diaries and journals for centuries; some times filled with trivia; some times not, as perhaps the diaries of Ben Johnson. So when the world got digitized many of those who kept off line diaries simply moved their writings on line. It was during one of those times that I started my first blog in the same frilly, flowery style of a diary. However it didn’t take me long to realize that the world at large wasn’t interested in my comings and goings and after a couple of entries which must be occupying some space on some one’s server, my attempt at blogging died a natural death.
By the time, I decided to give it a second try, the medium had evolved. Actually my own interest was in expressing alternative viewpoints and perspectives from the regular print media but someone suggested that the whole citizen journalist thing was trying to carve out space with exactly that very same purpose and eventually hoped to grow up to challenge the mainstream media(MSM). Incidentally as a doctor with some previous work with HIV & AIDS, the word MSM in my world meant men having sex with men and when in a global voices online meet, I first heard that word repeated often, I wondered if I had stepped into another kind of parallel universe than was my intent.
The blogging world presented itself as a purged community driven by ideals and values and inclusiveness and though not quite holding the regular media in contempt, there was a certain amount of disdain for the sensation chasing, TRP tracking conventional media that was more keen chasing money and enhancing shareholder value while any social good that happened along the way was incidental. The parallel media on the other hand, much like the parallel cinema of the seventies presented itself as an altruistic, moral and selfless universe, the perfect fit for the reformed jholawallah NGO worker like me. The blog and parallel world of the citizen journalist was a brave new utopic world. It was a great euphoric high while it lasted until I discovered the cross - the luggage I was carrying and the baggage that others too were carrying.
The baggage in the parallel world of citizen journalism and blogging may be more understated and motivated by slightly more nobler motives than asinine materialism but they are there after all and I have discovered that a passion fueled piece of belief and writing can be more disturbing than columnists and writers who are prepared to be driven by pragmatism than purity of dogma. We have heard or seen fundamentalism of different kinds - possibly religious fundamentalism of the right or the political fundamentalism of the left, but what we fail to see often is the invisible preceptor: the guiding hand of every rabble rouser that we do see.
I worry about the shelter that the medium of alternate media and blogging and alternate journalism, whatever we might choose to call it provides; whether it is the shield and amour of invisibility to those who would be puppeteers, content to make their deft but deadly movement from the sideline of shadows. The freedom, the flexibility and the sheer vastness of the canvas is great and the medium allows me to capture the world in the words of our choosing as I see it. I enjoy the creative tension that allows me to describe the world as I see it and know that not every one will agree and those who don’t will perhaps express themselves just as vehemently. But I have this one fear and one question that remains unanswered – where does passion end and fanaticism begin?
Tags: Blogs , Global Voices Online , Mainstram Media Citizen J , Fundamentakist
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