Sunday, November 13, 2005

Blogging is therapeutic.....

Blogging seems to be the latest craze. It is becoming more and more popular with each passing day. Blogging is encouraging people to pour out their thoughts in the form of writing. It is teaching many that if they feel they have a flair for writing they should go ahead. Blogging is therapeutic. One befriends people. One gets angry at strangers. One makes enemies. And, best of all, one feels good.

One can think of the hypothetical case of a private sector executive who has retired after a long and eventful career. He lives in a flat with his son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter. He has no complaints. His son and daughter-in-law look after him very nicely. He has structured his day properly. He maintains good health. But everything isn't okay. His wife is no more. He is lonely. He is not satisfied. His retirement has given him the time to think. He wants to share these thoughts with others. His friends suggest he write articles for professional journals. But he doesn't want to do so. He feels he has grown beyond his profession. He wants to address a general audience. He is not sure whether magazines and newspapers would accept his articles. It is at this time that their neighbour's twenty five year old daughter comes to his rescue by suggesting blogging. She comes home one evening and tells him whatever she about blogs and blogging. She teaches him how to create one and he is hooked.

He goes through his diary and picks up a few pieces he had written. After a little polishing they are ready. He posts his first entry. He is stunned when a few minutes later he receives the first comment. He is overwhelmed with joy. He has been noticed. The comments pour in. Some are adulatory, some critical, some downright abusive. He takes them all in his stride. Having worked for four decades in the private sector as a manager he knows how to handle criticism - fair and unfair. He also knows how to grow through positive criticism and comments. He discovers the works of other bloggers. He posts comments on some articles he likes and also on some he dislikes. Sometimes these comments and counter comments almost become a verbal fist fight. He enjoys them as he fights fairly. His health improves. He is no longer depressed and moody. He knows people all over the world are reading his words. Some of those who read his entries become his fans. That gives him quiet a boost. In a few months he was won a couple of prizes in blogging competitions. The local papers have profiled him. He is invited by a college principal who has read his blogs to give a lecture to the students. He is thrilled. The interaction goes off very well. He thanks his neighbour's daughter for having introduced him to blogging. His writings acquire an energy which transmits to his readers. He looks forward to each day with enthusiasm. His son and daughter-in-law are happy. The 'old man' is constructively busy. As a matter of fact they observe that they are slightly jealous of the popularity that he is acquiring in the virtual and real world.

A feel good scenario? Maybe. But blogging is changing the world. Blogging is forcing many to think and write. One reads blogs of various levels of excellence. Some are fit for the recycle bin, some should be printed in book form as they are so good. But blogging as a genre is now making its presence felt which , I feel, is a very good thing as it is making people think and introspect more. I read about a press conference in the US where a few renowned bloggers are invited along with other correspondents. I read about blogs being shut down and people resigning from their jobs as they refuse to retract the words they had written in blogs. "If you write well you can be noticed," a blog enthusiast tells me. "I had received many rejection slips from many newspapers and magazines but now I am able to express my thoughts without fear of being rejected and with the added guarantee that others will read and respond to my words." I wish he hadn't let a few rejection slips discourage him. I can understand his present happiness. Had it not been for blogging his words may well have remained buried in his diaries, waiting to be discovered after his death by a grandchild. Or, worse still, going unread into the raddi (waste paper) pile and sold by weight to the raddiwalla to be made into paper packets to store pulses or rice. Blogging has ensured that this will not happen.
p.s. I must thank blogger Amit Verma for giving me a link to this article by Carla K Johnson in the Washington Post of November 10 which made me think and key in this entry in my blog.

And here is Rebecca Blood, an early blogger, on blogging and its history.

And this is the Wikipedia article on Blogging.