On the nature of blogging and other things

Lately, I have been thinking about returning to blogging. But up until now I could not get myself to write anything specifically to blog. The truth is, I don’t know what to blog about anymore, as I have lost interest in all the things I used to write about and I have been curling into more and more complex knots inside myself so that it is becoming more and more difficult to be coherent and sensible about anything in particular. When I stopped blogging effectively, my desire for all the things which had kept me going for two years enthusiastically – page views, comments, connections, had finally died after a long decline as I felt more and more disgusted with myself and a majority of people in the blogosphere who had deeply misplaced notions about blogging. The more blogs and the more content I saw, the more insistently the question came in my mind-why do we blog?

Why do we blog? The quick, and right, answer would be – to be heard. But as we observe the evolution of the world of blogosphere, the answers get more and more complex. (Whatever I am saying here is quite obvious and not an exposition of a hidden truth). Blogs used to be individual voices with a platform, with content for people in general or for a specific section of people. As blogs got more and more popular, the content-audience equation began to change. Earlier, the existence of ideas, content and creativity demanded audience and necessitated development of a platform. As the platform or the system ensuring the meeting of the content and the consumer subsumes the values previously stored in the content, content-audience equation changes. And since the value-system of the platform derives from consumer engagement – traffic, page views, likes, comment, subscription and sharing soon dominated. Consumption soon became the dominating variable in the equation of creation-dissemination-consumption. Previously it was: “I have something interesting, I should share it with people”. Then it became: “people want to consume something interesting, I should do/create/write something like that and share it”. The body of the blog post soon becomes unimportant; to widen its readership what becomes important are the post-mortem done on it called SEO, inserting keywords, flooding of tags and labels, and sharing it across all platforms with shameless self-promotion. Before I inevitably say something about social media, I would just like to add that this phenomenon is not limited to various modes of individual self-expression only. All kinds of websites which create content for readers and viewers work according to this phenomenon. Even startups over time are no more the visions of geniuses but late-comers jumping on the bandwagon. The individual consciously/unconsciously starts searching for an idea around which she can build a startup. What lies at the end of it all? Profit motive, of course. But that is to be expected, so no surprises. All this is distortion of the content-consumer equation where content has been relegated to the margins. But the rise of social media has changed the name of the game. The equation is rendered irrelevant. The dichotomy of content and consumer is shattered and transformed into an endless orgy of creation and consumption. Social media stands on three pillars: Consumerism, Exhibitionism, Voyeurism. It is one giant leap towards the perfection of the art form of consumption, the perfect capitalism dream. Interestingly, consumer-oriented production runs counter to one of the apostles of capitalism, Ayn Rand. She would rather force people to consume what genius-billlionaire-playboy-philanthropists of her novels produce for the moral uplifting of the human civilization. However the cycle of production-consumption is central to both conceptions of capitalism; indeed, the whole system itself.

I have strayed far away from the main topic. Coming back to it, all the drivel I wrote above is the reason I gradually got disillusioned with blogging. I wanted attention and recognition, first for content, then through likes, comment, subscriptions and page-views. Now I don’t understand why I was interested enough in all kinds of miscellaneous stuff to write blog posts on it. Maybe it was genuine interest, maybe the result of trying to write more and reach more people. Eventually, I grew tired of it all, and stopped craving empty attention, and forgot about writing itself.

Then why have I returned? Because I can’t forget the simple joy that publishing a blog post gives. Beneath all the reader-baiting, design-flaunting, there is something simple and attractive about writing whatever you want, without the pressure of it being ‘literary’, and talking about and discussing content with people in a more meaningful manner than on social media. As for the second attraction, there might not be any such communities on blogosphere anymore(this is  me being too cynical) or they may be too self-contained to be untraceable. But the joy of writing is still there, the freedom of no-pressure writing (though this is easier said than done, as I am aware of a lot of restraints working on me even as I write it).

My desires this time are somewhat contrary to the desires I had when I started blogging. I no longer wish to be popular, or become a small-time internet celebrity(which is the maximum that bloggers can usually aspire to), or an internet rebel or visionary/philosopher through my blog. I am a nobody and wish to remain a nobody, writing in my own way and primarily for my own pleasure. I say primarily because if I didn’t want anyone to read it, I would not have posted it at all. I do want it to be read by people who, like me, are away from the hustle-bustle of the parade on the highway of the internet, and like to write and talk about stuff they like or are concerned with in a simple manner. I hope I find some of them, but even if I don’t, it is perfectly alright.

 

P.S. – This post in no way implies that I will write regularly from now on. I hope I do.

 

 

 

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The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog!

In every beginning lies the inevitability of an end, and in every end the seeds of a new beginning.

This first part is pessimistic, and latter one optimistic. That’s how it is used. In the end, it’s all the same. The end, the beginning(interesting to note here that this was the title i used for the first sketch i wrote. Hmm, the phrase added to #obsessions.); it’s all the same in face of cosmic indifference.

It has been more than four months since I blogged last. This was not a break, premeditated or unpremeditated. It was an end. I had lost the desire to blog in the same way I used to have. It had been deteriorating for a long time, but it completely disappeared in the days after December despite the fact that the last blog-post was an inspired one and I liked it myself. The two years of blogging had come to an end. I would never blog the same way again.

It was a vigorous start, the joy of discovering an expression of medium, the hunger of page views, comments, likes and acknowledgement. The last one remains, but its manifestation in the form of the other kinds of hunger has disappeared. With time, disillusionment crept in, with the state of affairs in blogosphere, even though i consistently got to know new awesome people, and underlying futility of the exercise in a social context(a highly debatable point, said in context of certain type of subjects, and not for inherently social kind of blogging, which I don’t like anyways). But this was not the final or the decisive strike. The coup-de-grace came from within. In the last one year, there was a mental drainage of enthusiasm, energy and active positivism. Personal issues sparked it, laziness and procrastination fanned it into a fire which consumed everything. The desire kept getting eroded, and achieved an ironic end, when after completing my courses and placements in December, becoming completely free to blog/write/whatever as I please, I completely lost the desire. A point needs to be emphasized  The desire, lost mainly because of procrastination, was not the most harming aspect. I had been battling procrastination since forever, but still managed to write something from time to time. The thing that hurt most was, I had nothing to write. I had absolutely nothing to write. The mental drainage has drained all the fertility from the soil of my mind, and all the seeds lay there hopelessly, amorphous, in a void, without any shape or voice, without any germination and budding of creative crop. My mind has stopped working(said with all the emphasis possible). I need to kick it back into action.

…Which is the main goal of this new beginning. For a new beginning it is, no continuation of the old story after a break. No. A new beginning. The old one died from creative and emotional exhaustion. A new blog with a new goal, a personal one, and simple- to write what i think, and to start a positive loop in the process. Nothing more.

I want to beat the shit out of this desire of acknowledgement of mine. For what good is such a desire, in the absence of work, commitment, energy, force and determination, and above all, concentrated action. A new beginning is needed. An end is needed, most of all.

The old has to die, for the new to be born.

 

Writer’s Block: Version 2.0

Writer’s Block. Wikipedia says Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.

For me, it’s often not a period, but a blockage that keeps shifting bases in my brain. Only instead of hemorrhage, it causes inability to write, or more correctly, inability to think anything worthwhile to write. But this time, it’s not a hemorrhage. This time it’s a block. The solid, old, writer’s block. And of a different kind. The writer’s block that I’m experiencing doesn’t allow me to write, or even think at length, about things which are personal, abstract, or opinions which are personal to some extent. And I know why this all is happening.

I’m trying to numb the turbulence created in my brain due to some incidents. Now, to stop that wild turbulence from affecting any of my life’s areas and destroy it, I have to try my best to anesthetize it, to numb it down to a state of suspended shock. Even in this endeavor I’m not entirely successful because it is there, always, at all times. I’m ignoring it persistently, focusing on other things in the hope it will go. In my efforts to ignore it persistently, in my efforts to anesthetize the turbulence, the other type of turbulence, the creative turbulence invariably ends up getting anesthetized too. I can’t help it. If I’ve to escape from some personal corrosive incident, I’ve to shut out the whole personal stuff altogether. And this segregation, creates this writer’s block.

It’s okay, completely cool for me to write about books, or music, or mangas if I like. But here, on Prairie Wind, I am at a loss what to write. When I search my mind for already stored topics to be written in future, I find nothing. My brain has quarantined everything away from the conscious. And I don’t know what would have happened if it all had been there. Thankfully it’s not. So basically it’s just emptiness. Words, but no framework to embed them into.

Anyways it looks like I managed to squeeze few words at least through the personal mental block, hehe. I see a fallow period in the coming days. End-semester examinations are coming on swiftly, just 10 days away. They’re much better alternative to occupy my mind with, with all the anxiety, tension and hectic activity.

Attempting to write

Every time I turn to my notepad and ink-pen, a was starts within me. A war between what to write and what’s coming out. A constant struggle between the compulsive desire to fill the pages with hopelessness, dreariness and frustration inside, and a desire to create something hopeful, with colors of life in an attempt to transmit the same colors, same hope inside me.

As I look at the pages, I keep scribbling something, crossing it again and again, doodling, writing forgotten names and commonplace words to fill the gaping blank of the page which demands to be written on.

I write a line, a sentence which keeps coming on in my mind. I still don’t know whether to write prose or poetry. Been writing a lot of poetry lately, but I know the shackles of poetry are too rigid, and I more often than not end up deceiving myself, by ending up with something entirely different from what I had started with. I know I’m bad with poetry.

Still struggling to make sense out of the sentence I had just written, checking the intermittent desire to cross the damned thing and start over again, I compromise with a few sentences. After the compromise, it’s a little easier to go further. Either the compromise ends up destroying the very idea I began with, and I produce a bastard, despised by me, or the compromise spares me and allows me to rebel in a few lines, and I’m spared the shame for my own creation.

Of a Dibbi and a Dabba

Did I say A Post A Day, my friends? 😉

Oops, it must have slipped my mind while writing it that I’m posting it on a 512 MB RAM oldie hp pc, whose legs are dangling in the grave :\. I should have kept the fragile nature of my pc in mind while writing that.

Anyways, in accordance with the all-powerful Murphy’s Law, whatever could go bad, went bad. The very next, the computer, (Dabba would be a more appropriate term for this bastard) rebelled and refused to start at all, beeping its way to protest march. And it got repaired only yesterday, which is why you’re seeing me here today (don’t ask me what I was doing yesterday ;)).

Good things always come out of the bad ones (a law not as obvious as Murphy’s) and it happened in this case too. After about more than two months, I started, though reluctantly at first, The Brothers Karamazov again, from where I left off. If it had not been for my dabba’s temporary demise, I wouldn’t have been able to handle this hulk of a book 😀 Though it’s still to be completed, but it’s come to a stage where it’d be highly unpleasant for me to go back without completing the book. I’ll write more about the book, later maybe, on Phaedrus Within.

Looks like I’m having a bad time in my fortunes with tech toys 😦 especially computing. I left my dibbi (laptop, to be more precise :D) back there in Kanpur, as it had rebelled again, showing some BIOS problem, only 1.5 days after I installed Fedora 15 with a dual boot with existing Windows 7. God, I was so happy at that time, finally obtaining my dear Fedora after falling in love with it in the first year. I even readily sacrificed all my data for that. But as it seems, stars just aren’t in the mood to let me get any kind of ‘tEch’-stacy :\ and so the thunder struck on me. I feel like I’m dealing with two recalcitrant girlfriends, one I left in Kanpur to get some serene peace here in Gwalior, but here again another recalcitrant girlfriend isn’t letting me live in peace.

As more than half of my stay has passed, finally i’m forced (for lack of a better word to express the real thing) to come out of the seclusion which I supposed I would completely shroud myself in when coming here. Anyways, quite a lot time was spent alone, and it wasn’t bad 🙂

A Change is gonna come :)

It’s been exactly 5 months and 3 days….
And I’ve arrived at a crucial juncture in my blogging journey.

25 posts. 5 months. Up to now the journey was better than what I had not expected even in my dreams. But now, the otherwise straight up-to-now road has come to a serious bend.

Finally, after literally months of vacillation, I’ve decided to switch my blog over to WordPress. I’ve been weighing the odds on either side since a very long time, and I always knew in my mind that the odds favored wordpress, well for me anyway. But then vacillation came, and reluctance to part with those sweet increasing pageviews 😀 (Believe me, I was deeply obsessed with them for a brief period). That, and the other things which look so attractive, and are the mainstay of Blogger, ‘followers’, made the choice even more difficult to materialize.

Now you’d say it would have been better to make the choice as early as possible. I know. And I didn’t. Better make it now, in such case :). Coz I know I’m not going to leave this passion anytime soon, and I also got inspired from a friend of mine, a veteran blogger, who switched over to wordpress after blogging for more than 3 years on blogger (for the record, she has been blogging for a whopping 9 years). So here I am, on WordPress :).

A new road starts :). The journey continues…

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Mitostargazer