Categories

I’ve gone through all old posts in the blog and retrofitted them into categories. I didn’t realise how hard this would be. There are plenty of possible categories that posts can fit into. I’d be over doing it if I were to create a gazillion categories. Categories are always up for review though, and more maybe added in the future although, once again, I don’t wish break things down too much. There are some posts that may seem a strange fit, but I’ve put them into where they fit best.

The powers of persuasion

About 3-4 years ago, when I roomed with Geoff, I was talking to him about doing something with all the ideas and opinions that he has. He started his Xanga site. Back then, Xanga was a blogging pioneer. I convinced a few other people to join up. Sameer, Shwetha, and even Revathi signed up. The blog explosion occured, and died down a bit. A few other friends of mine discovered blogging. I discovered WordPress and found it fabulous. Kaushik and Sameer both followed suit and moved to WordPress from the other blog hosts. Their links are available on the blogroll. Seems like I have a way with people when it comes to persuading them about blogging software :-D.

I’ve been plenty busy with college and work. I have a few ideas for posts in mind, but until some more free time comes about, they will have to wait.

The Blog Phenomenon

Last year, I read a book called Blog by Hugh Hewitt. Never mind that his views are very right of center and most examples in his book are based on issues that, at the time, I fundamentally disagreed with. However, the essense of his book was that the power of Internet blogging is such that it will eventually cause the main-stream media to slip, tumble and crash. I bought the book hoping for a unbiased opinion and insight into the blogging phenomenon, and its social and economic effects. The book disappointed me thoroughly. It did however, make an interesting point in that the power of publishing has finally come to the common man (well, if one can count owning a PC, Internet connection, and sufficient know-how a common phenomenon across the world). He is, for the most part right. The history of publishing, from the invention of the printing press to the blog, shows a marked democratization of the process. This much is irrefutable. But Hewitt’s claim that it will cause the toppling of the elite, liberal (read: left-leaning), powerful, money-making machine that is the main-stream media, was very far fetched. I do love a consipracy theory as much as the next person, but this claim of Hewitt’s, I could not quite fathom. I was, however, convinced about the power of a personal publishing platform. The ‘blog’ is only a tool that enables it. It will only be a matter of time before the next big fad/technology will replace the blog as the means for personal publishing. For those who are still unconvinced about the immense power wielded by an unwieldy bunch of writiers pecking away at a keyboard into late hours (take a look at the time of most of my posts), there a numerous stories of how the powers to be were brought to their knees by bloggers. John Kerry, IIPM, and Trent Lott are just a few examples that jump to mind.

There are plenty of blogs that have made it big. ‘Big’ is defined as having the most number of incoming links, plenty of visitors, and tons of money in ad revenue. Examples can be found everywhere on the Internet. But what I find interesting now is that some quarters are proclaiming a death-knell for blogs. The New York Magazine has a highly readable article on the issue. The WSJ has a good article too, but I will not link to it because article are only free for a few days. But the author, Jason Fry, makes a point that echos my view very well. He says, “My bet: Within a couple of years blogging will be a term thrown around loosely — and sometimes inaccurately — to describe a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish that writing.”

The disturbing point that the New York Magazine’s Clive Thompson makes is that blogs are being snapped up the same main-stream media that once feared and dreaded The Lone Blogger. Duh! Ofcourse they are. Power is always where the money is. And since blogs have proved that they can support a revenue model, it is only natural that the main-stream media will move there, albiet a bit late. Hewitt was talking hogwash in his book. He runs a syndicated radio show that I’m sure is very much part of the media that he abhores.

In all the talk about A-, B- and C-list bloggers that are trying to make it big, everyone seems to have forgotten the blogger who blogs just because. All those on my blogroll are close friends. None of them have aspirations of making it as an A-list blogger and making millions like Engadget’s Peter Rojas did when Weblogs, Inc. was sold to AOL in a $25 million deal. We blog because we can. Because we like to. Because we enjoy it. It gives us a perverse sense of pleasure in knowing that ours in one in 29 million blogs (according to Technorati’s front page at the time of this posting) that can be accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. It makes us happy when someone comments on our blog. We feel likfe we’ve maybe, just for a second, been able to get someone else to see things the way we do. It is the power that comes with this feeling that will always keep blogging alive for so many of us who are even under the C-list.

Blogrolling…

So Sameer, after being denied entry to the blogrolls of WordPress, pleasantly surprised me by posting on his Xanga site today. So he has been granted permission to be back on the rolls…for now! He has promised me one post a day during the Spring quarter, when he should have plenty of time. I’d settle for one post a week. 😀

Sameer says:
a blog a day
Sameer says:
promise to u
Sameer says:
keep me honest

There is something therapuetic about writing, however terrible the writing might be. Anyway, this is the third post for today, which is way more than I ever do. So I’m signing out for now.

First Post with WordPress

So last night, on Josh’s advice, I attempted to upgrade MovableType from 3.0D to 3.2. And as Murphy would have it, it wouldn’t upgrade. So instead of bothering trying to figure out the problems, I just installed WordPress I had been planning to migrate anyway, since I’ve heard that it has a simpler interface and the whole engine itself is easier to manage. Also, the anti-comment spam plug in is supposed to be great. So far, I’ve not been disappointed. The install went of very smoothly. It imported all my entries from Movabletype like a breeze and the configs seems very simple. I just have to work on the layout now to get it to match the rest of my site. Although, that will certainly be a work in progress seeing as how time is a premium currently. The path for the blog is now ./wordpress and I’ve made a long overdue change to the front page of the site. Otherwise all else remains the same.

Here is to WordPress! The software looks fabulous, and I’m quite happy with it so far!

The Limits of Blogging

I recently read a post at BLADAM about the possible demerits of blogging. It got me thinking about maintaining a blog with personal posts on it. For a techie, as I sometimes like to consider myself, a website is a must. Why? I’m not sure. For me it is part vanity. Before blogs came to the forefront, maintaining content on a personal website was somewhat of a problem. I had photographs on there, as that is an interest. Other things like links, and my resume were on there. My first website had just about this. None of it was really dynamic content. The most active part of my current site is the blog, even though it is not updated as frequently as I would like.

So when I do post, what do I post? Personal thoughts, eloquent philosophy, some poetry, general updates on my life, interesting quotes, some political insight make up the bulk of my posts. All in all, the content can be considered to be personal in nature, as opposed to those who use a blog to put out tech news or postings that do not relate to them personally. According to BLADAM, there are risks to putting out personal thoughts on the web. Unlike a personal journal that may be written in a book and hidden under a pillow, a website can be googled by anyone who cares to. Infact, a Google search for my name yields my old and new website as the first two results.

Assume the following scenario: I have a job interview with XYZ Corp. It is routine for them to do a background check on all employees. As a part of their research, they are told of my website. The person in HR decides to see if I’ve got anything on it that may be incriminating. On my blog, she happens to read a post that I made some years ago that has a decidedly leftist point-of-view. She doesn’t agree with me and feels that I would be a bad fit to XYZ Corp.

Feel that such a hypothetical is a bit over the top? It happened to BLADAM and I don’t doubt that it may happen to me. So does that mean the end of my blogging career? Hardly! I’d rather work a place that encourages open thought and a mix of people.

There are other points to consider, however. The first is what should corporations do to disallow their employees from blogging about the company? There have been instances covered in the news media about the dangers of blogging. The most famous, being the recent Apple case. Corporations need to develop comprehensive policies and educate employees about the benefits and dangers of blogging.

The second point that I feel is of importance is a blog coming back to haunt a person. Google, the company whose mission it is to archive everything, most certainly will have archived my website on their massive servers. I don’t make it hidden that it is my aspiration to be a big time CEO or a big time politician or a big time something. So what if I’m running for the office of Something Big and something I wrote many, many years ago comes back to haunt me? After watching the recent fiasco of the 2004 US Presidential elections where documents were “uncovered” about the candidates and became such a big issue, I don’t see why an electronic blog post would not come back to haunt a person.

Despite all these fears, I think that I’m going to continue blogging. I will have to wait and watch to see what comes of it.

Too Much Blue

Anyone reading this is requested to peruse through the site (there isn’t really much to peruse…) and comment on whether they think I’ve over-used blue in the design. Other comments/suggestions are welcome.