Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Blog

Blogger celebrated its 10th birthday this year. What a wonderful tool this is for people like you and me to pen down our thoughts, opinions and ideas and be a part of a large online community with a voice of its own! Without elaborating on that, as it is as comprehensive as it can get, I would like to talk about how I started blogging and my journey till today in blogworld.

Welcome to blogworld! Don’t think what to write...write what you are thinking right now. Your blog is a place to pen down your thoughts and observations. Observations of things that happened without you being too aware of it. Like a certain trait in a person...maybe good...maybe bad...or places...things that struck you as odd, funny, sad, despicable about people, places and communities....the list is endless.

Your blog will hold your thoughts long after you have forgotten them like a mind album that you can visit to see how the 13 year old Melissa thought then. Save your thoughts like you save your photographs so that you can see how you have evolved down the years.

That would be the best way to blog in my humble opinion. Happy Onam in advance! :)

This is a mail I sent to my cousin sister Melissa, when she wrote in asking me for advice on blogging!

When I started blogging in March 2005, bloggers were very few and far between. They may have had readers, but I never saw any and I thought the empty comment boxes were for Errata, Addendum or some note by the author. It looked like the ideal medium for me. A personal space to publish your thoughts on the www, and feel gratified just looking my writing nestling between those cool templates. Besides the added bonus of not being judged by your friends and the once in a lifetime opportunity to diss someone, be judgmental, hypocritical, biased, etc etc without guilt.

It was an incredible high when I first published my first blog post. It felt really good. As you can see from my first post, it was an outpouring of wonderment at the new world that I found on the Net via free hi-speed broadband Internet courtesy a Summer Internship in some company. I wrote again and again and it felt better and better. Then came the spoiler. The first comment by Neil on my first post and I was like “errr wot?” I wondered why he was commenting on my post! It was like putting on music and dancing away merrily in the privacy of your room only to find out that you have an onlooker. That was my feeling at getting my first comment. I went over to Neil’s blog and found to my surprise that he had a blog too. That was my first click through in blog world. This is where I realized that people comment on blogs. But then I thought that only friends comment on each other blogs as I saw only bloggers in Neil’s blogroll commenting on his posts.

I literally learned web navigation from then on. Clicking on Neils blogroll, to enrolling myself on Kerala Blog Roll to discovering other bloggers like Jiby. Those were the days of blogging with few or no comments. And I thought that was the norm. I kept blogging, received a few comments, felt it damn funny that people would comment on my posts till somebody told me to reciprocate. That’s when I realized that people wanted comments on their posts too. I did go over and comment, but soon realized that I didn’t like to be forced to comment. I wanted to comment only if I felt like commenting.

Then I wrote this post and all hell broke lose. It looked like all the people in world were discussing this post. Some via comments, many via mail. I didn’t know where these people came from and why they were so worked up. I was writing at my own corner wasn’t I? Then why the hullabaloo? I handled the comments somehow, standing my ground and this post gave me the necessary experience for the oncoming onslaughts.

Soon I began reading other blogs via Kerala Blog Roll (KBR) as that was the only Blog Directory I knew in 2005. There were bloggers here who wrote on heavy topics. Some posts were abstract one liners that only they could understand….in short blogging those days was the ultimate narcissistic tool for many people there. These big shot bloggers of KBR, would delete comments from small fries like me, or chide me for not doing a PHD in International Politics before commenting on their posts on the same. Most of their commenters, fellow bloggers like them seem, to literally orgasm at each other posts. It was a mutual admiration society party and non admirers were not invited. I used to be so scared to comment here and stuck to Neil, Adarsh , Praveen and later Jiby. Strangely these people were better writers than these big wigs. I was confused and thought that perhaps the big wigs were famous writers in other media too. Anyways I left them well alone. Today not a single one of them blog.

I stuck to my space and merrily blogged my frustration away the only way I could, by taking pot shots at people especially at work. It was so much fun. What else do you expect from a college girl caught in the big bad corporate world to do? Break down? No way I preferred to stick my tongue out…when the back was turned.

Then came this post and I was in the limelight. Don’t ask me how! It just happened. It felt good to be appreciated but I realized that my earlier blogging wilderness days were too entrenched in me. I was wary of both praise and criticism because accepting either would leave you open to suggestions and an unintentional form of interference and control of my blog. I was too fiercely independent a blogger to allow that.

Year 2006 was pure heaven and hell. Besides Jiby, Alexis and MC dropped in and we had the best time of our lives. We enjoyed commenting on each others posts and some hilarious comments followed. I miss those days. It was the best days of our blogging lives. It was just the way blogging should be.

The time also attracted lot of negative attention with, people trying to shake my confidence by some fake advice on blogging to suggestions that I get married (so that my readership goes down as many so called “good but unrecognized writers” felt they were being ignored because they were men). There were also suggestions to pull down some posts, rewrite some as I had made a gaffe and could become the laughing stock of the blogdom to a lot of things that I have never revealed. The energy people spent in trying to pull me down was enough to light up a whole city. Earlier it hurt, these were people much older to me taking advantage of my age and inexperience. Later I took great pleasure in ignoring them.

Anyways, things are better now, mostly because people have realized that it is no use wasting their breath here. I am not going to be bothered. I am often left wondering what they would do if they succeeded in pulling me down. Go after the others?

The desire to be famous and have a fan following is so gripping that there are people who will not comment on other peoples posts till they get a return comment, or write a post unless they are sure it is a moderate to one big hit wonders who sulk at the thought of the glory they ‘once’ had. Then there are those who read Dostoevsky and wonder why their literary gems of posts were ignored for a riff raff like Silverine. Then there were others who thought that I ran some kind of a “gang” who commented only on each others posts. What these people didn’t realize was that the party was open to all. But they wanted to be the Chief Guest!

Then came Think Pad and I was in a totally different league. I started Think Pad, when the realities of life started hitting me. What I thought was life in the safe confines of the family and college was just a myth for most girls I came across while doing my internships. Their experiences shook me. I came to see guys in a totally different light from the prim and well behaved guys I saw at home. All that I saw and heard I poured out here. The feedback was good. My peers were also stuck with the same questions. But Think Pad was too hot for many people to handle and after this post, I enabled Comment Moderation. I don’t know how I survived all these days without it. But blogs are attracting a lot of people and many don’t like a gal with a mind of her own and a platform to air her views, especially if she gets readers for her “libelous drivel” as someone put it :p

I hope this post doesn’t make me look like a freedom fighter and or martyr. I am neither. The good times were far too many than the bad times. All I want to advice new bloggers young and old is that your blog is you. It is not a race for any literary award. Every one of us has an opinion and a view. However except for journalists how many of us get to air them? But our Blogs gives us the platform to put up our views and the satisfaction of seeing your views in print and in a public domain is enormous even if you do not have readers. It is like a guy who wants to fly a jet and gets his own jet even though he is not a trained pilot. He will enjoy flying the plane even if he is not a commercial pilot and his aircraft has no passengers. He has achieved the joy of flying. And this is the reason bloggers blog. And this is reason why some people slack off after the initial foray into blogging because the desire to write and express his/her views was not the sole motivating factor for them to blog!

Use every chance to pour out your feelings. It has a palliative effect which is why Confession by the Church was invented in the first place. Join a community of people like you. Accept and appreciate others right to a view of their own at their blogs. “Do unto others as you would want done unto you” should be the motto of every blogger.

This is not the place to showcase your writing skills...this is the place to connect to people and exchange ideas. There are many exemplary writers here. But they usually drown into oblivion by trying to stand out among peers. If hitting it big as a writer was this easy then most big bloggers would be millionaire writers by now! So chill, relax, have your say and if people find something in your writing they will come to read it.

And the most important thing. Your blog invariably reflects your personality. So if you are a likable person your blog will be liked too. The way you handle comments also gives you away. So remember no matter what a false fa├žade will crack one day. I have seen the best of people crack and give their true selves away in the comments section. If I have survived this far it is because I put up no fa├žade and I have no problems with showing myself the way I am when I blog or reply to comments.

Happy Blogging and a Happy 10th Birthday to our blogs!


mathew said...

amen to everything written having a deja vu ..of times when i was new to blogging...probably it is better to have a few good memories than none at all..


Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Good advice to Melissa!

"but I never saw any and I thought the empty comment boxes were for Errata, Addendum or some note by the author."

What a hilarious and ingenious idea! =))

A personal grievance is that there is a lot less of think pad these days. Personally, I prefer this to poomanam. But perhaps the men of the world (who prompted you to start think pad) have turned good? :) Oh well.

I take this opportunity to express again the hope that you will continue to blog in spite of the changes that occur in professional and personal life. Yours is one of the very few blogs that I follow. Because it has the rare quality that it is sincere. It comes through as the penning down of the thoughts of a ** year old girl. It takes neither the holier-than-thou attitude nor does it present a view that panders to every reader. It has the charming quality that it is original and that evokes only respect. A desire to share one's own ideas and let the author make her decision. Sorry if this seems a bit eulogistic. It is better to present these thoughts in context rather than in response to a post on the AP CM's chopper going missing.

scorpiogenius said...

Whew lady, this must've been an emotionally exhaustive post, jotting all these memories; good and the not-so-good ones down! Needless to say, it was interesting, as always, to see blogger Silverine pass the test of time..

Its nice to see the good old blogs you've linked here, especially Jiby's old one. Its sad to see many notable bloggers leave blogosphere, especially the likes of Jiby, Vinod/Kakka... who inspired me to express my thoughts. As a citizen in a democratic country its a wonderful platform to express our PoV.

I don't intend to flatter, but you're the one who consistently does a very difficult job.. making people laugh! I'm not surprised the huge interest your articles stir up but I'm surprised at how you manage to do this regularly. Even though personally I'm more interested in the Thinkpad, because it touches a few raw nerves exactly where it needs to be, the bona fide Silverine is a gem.

Anyway, its good to see you carrying on with the same passion and drive. And keep goin'.. Good luck! :)

thomas said...

It baffles me how you, mathew and lot others write over a 50 posts a year, and year after year with a consistent zeal and passion. Anyway, happy blogging. :) Personally, I like poomanam to thinkpad coz nothing can beat a feel-good humorous post for me. :)

Urs....Jina said...

:) Felt good reading that.
I like your writing (which is why I come back) and comments or no comments Im sure every post of yours had some thing worthwhile to be spoken of.
Keep blogging and enjoy it!!Thats all that matters I guess.
Hugs and happy Onam

sunith said...

Happy Blog B'day and Belated Happy Onam too. I been following you for a few years(non stalker kind) and you always managed to crack me up or bring a smile to my face.

Pramod Abraham said...

It takes a real commitment to write every week and a strong nerve to last 10 yrs.

One of the reasons I follow this blog is that you have your head on your shoulders and don't get carried away !

And yeah 3 Cheers to your blog.

silverine said...

Mathew: You are is better to have good memories than none at all.! :)

Karthik: What a beautiful description of my blog! I do not deserve that, but thank you so much! :)

Scorpiogenius; Thank you! :) It is indeed sad to see some bloggers leaving blogosphere. They are greatly missed.

Thomas: I guess you are in the majority who like Poomanam for the same reasons! :) I think people who are observant make prolific bloggers.

Jina: You are amongst the consistent bloggers and though I may not comment I do drop into your blog often. Nice to see another gal blogger holding fort! :)

Sunith: Thank you! :)

Pramod: 10 years!! :-O I have been blogging for four! :) But thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous said...

How are you..
Don't know what to write..still wanted to write... Don't want to sound too saccharinous...i like your are damn honest..sometimes too critical in your own are not a snob don't indulge in intellectual masturbations like many.. And the most surprising thing is my amoeba sized mind really understands and can relate to what you write... So keep writing :)

Annie said...

There is a proverb in malayalam "Koduthal Kollathum kittum".

Anonymous said...

You are one of the few Indian bloggers who write with a certain grace and who do not try to sound like a writer. When you write about the people in your life, you write with so much courtesy and a delightful sense of humor!! Your dialog packed posts are the best. They make the characters come so alive and lets them, reveal themselves through their own words. :-) I love it!! So do a lot of your readers I am sure! So take time out and keep writing young lady, for regular readers like us!

silverine said...

Anurag: Thank you buddy! :)

Annie: Didn't understand that! :p

anon: Thank you! :)

Kamini said...

Such an honest and heart-felt post! Just be true to yourself, and the readers who matter will find you and remain faithful! Good writing is so rare in the blogosphere, it's been such a pleasure reading your words. Wishing you many, many more years of happy blogging!

Inji Pennu said...

Love you!

hammy said...

I'm such a stupid klutz. When I read this post, I wanted to take time to comment on it, and put it off in my mind... and I just simply forgot. And now, my comment is a bit stale, to say the least.

But better late than never.

This post is the best I've read in quite a long time, Anjs... Firstly, it was very interesting to know your journey in the blog world.

It also showcases all the traits we love about you... You're a rare combination of helpful, spirited and most of all, true... There's not a shred of facade in your entire work, and such bare honesty is truly what makes you stand out.

Oh, that, and your wonderful way with words, of course.

In addition to that, your blogging history also showcases the highlights of the blogging era. The wonder of instant publication, sharing to the wider audience, the recession of the haughty holier-than-thou writers, and the growth of the writers for the masses...

You were active during the budding stages of the blog; had the first hand court-side view to the evolution of modern blogs.

And by your description of 2006,I am truly sorry I missed out on the events there. I only started looking at blogs in a serious way from 2008. My loss.

Your final paragraph on how your blog invariably reflects your personality - brings out a torrent of praises for yourself. If the blog truly reflects your personality, and I have no doubt it does, you're automatically on the top of the List of People I'd Like to Meet.

Like Karthik has said in his wonderfully apt comment, no matter what changes happen in your professional/ personal life, I really hope you'll take the time out to pen your thoughts.

Belated Bday wishes to your blog

silverine said...

Kamini: Thank you so much! That means a lot!! :)

Ini Pennu: And we love you too dear!! :)

Hammy: Thank you for that really sweet comment!! :) Better late than ever, but I must admit I was caught up in the birth pangs of the Indian blogsphere. Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing to blog then as I was too young then. But I am glad I blogged when I did as growing with the Indian blogsphere has been a learning experience and I learned my lessons well and early!

Rajesh Mohan said...

I've read so many of your posts. Really enjoy them.
Thanks a lot.

Mind Curry said...

awww!hugs!! so sweet! was out of the scene for quite a bit! good to be back! missed your writings totally!

los said...

Wish I d read this post before I started blogging.But its as well , some mistakes ought to be committed before you can understand the value of wisdom.