Blogosphere : The Fifth Sphere of Earth!!
थोड़ी सी ज़मीन, थोड़ा आसमान... तिनकों का बस इक आशियाँ (a small piece of land, a handful of sky…a humble abode)
Lives are spent just fulfilling these simple wishes and desires. However, in current times when we are witnessing the many boons of internet in our lives, blogging is just a way to ensure that one can indeed get a little cyber space if nothing else. Yes, this has become the fifth sphere of Earth beyond the well studied four - Geo, Litho, Hydro and Bio.
Blogging (which is actually the combination of two words - web and logging) is a method of journaling online. This four letter word is precise and accurate self description of the word - it is a log of writings posted publicly on the World Wide Web. Any blog has almost the similar format as that of a traditional diary and the entries (posts) are arranged in calendar format with the most recent post appearing first. Blogs may contain general observations, experiences, commentary on various issues, wishes and anything that a writer thinks about. Images, audio and videos can be a part of the posts. Blogs are like mini-websites but the best part is that they are free. Besides helping chronicle one's views in the manner that one likes, it gives immense opportunity to connect with people with similar interests, preferences and likings. It gives one a presence on the net, a presence which enables one to nurture relationships and build a reputation. Based on the areas on which bloggers write, virtual communities are getting formed whether it is of the zealot readers, travel enthusiasts, creative people, food connoisseurs, mommies, computer geeks - you name it and you will find a companion sharing similar interests. So this is another area where boundaries of any sort from physical, religion, ethnic to cultural, cannot put any hurdles.
Colours of Creativity
Rang décor is not just any blog, it is an epitome of colours, festivities, beauty, grace, exuberance and creativity. Just the header picture of the blog has the potential to light up one's day. Having been bestowed with a unique talent of capturing beauty in the most mundane things of everyday life through her camera, Archana Srinivas is a well known Indian blogger. She began blogging in the year 2007 as she 'needed a space exclusively for archiving and sharing interior design ideas from India.' She finds blogging as an outlet for keeping her creative instincts alive. Besides Rang Décor, she has a personal blog - Rang : The colours of life where she shares her various interests like photography, food, travel, art and everyday musings.
If one is in the mommy's blogosphere, it is hard to miss one of the most articulate bloggers gracing this arena - the madmomma. She began blogging in 2006 soon after she had her first child. She used to read American mommy bloggers and had a notion that there couldn't be too many Indian moms blogging. She began to blog as a way to record her thoughts. A while back, she was interviewed by blogadda and when she was asked 'what does she find the most gratifying aspect of blogging', she said, "I find the community it builds to be the best part of blogging. I don't believe in ethnic and religious communities. I believe in communities built on shared interests - they are stronger and are more stable."
Another mommy blogger artnavy (aboutthingsnow.blogspot.in) says, "my blog is a journal of and for my kids. It serves a ready reckoner when memory fails". For her blogging is a passion and a discipline.
Sankara Subramanianm is the founder of a well recognised and well respected travel blog - 'Be On The Road'. He is of the opinion that blogging makes one a mini celebrity as more people connect with you. "It is a powerful medium which has given me appreciation in mainstream media, tourism boards, travel companies and much more. Moreover, through blogging I have met people with similar interests and today, many of them are my friends. "
Sankara's blog is his career, hobby and passion. This is his space where he gives expression to his creative juices and contributes his two cents to the world of online content. He says, 'Be On The Road is my platform to showcase my interests and my talent. In simple words, it is my brand and it represents me and my style of travel.'
For the food blogger Aliena Verghese blogging began as a way to ward off the boredom of being confined to household chores. She started blogging in order to record the recipes online. 'I thought whatever I cook for my family and whatever they like, whatever can be easily accessed should be put into my own space.' She soon figured out that there were food enthusiasts who keep looking for recipes to try out and who became regular visitors of her blog. For her 'the joy of blogging is not in the statistics or in how many comments that I receive, but the joy lies behind in knowing that my recipes are being tried by someone else out there and how it turned out for them, the joy behind getting the dish right…that's where my happiness lies. Aliena is not the one to get complacent, so when she felt that blogging recipes was turning monotonous, she started getting invited to review restaurants, menu launches and product review. She feels that this has added an extra dimension to blogging.
Ranjani blogs about her musings, thoughts, experiences, children and life in general. She is not worried about how many people read it but she feels good writing about something which she strongly feels about. She says, "Blogging for me is also very cathartic, when I write during low and depressing times. It is almost like a monologue with a good friend, who just listens without saying anything. However, since the blog is open to all, I do draw a line with what I want to go public about."
Besides these handful of blogs, there is a huge blogging space where immensely talented people are adding their content online. The blogging trend is fast catching up with the younger generation as well. More and more children are going online to share with the world their opinions on everything from politics to fashion, books to bones. Yes there are bloggers as young as 8-9 years old who want to share their own findings, experiences and observations. Joanne Mallon has started a Kids Blog Club, a website that acts as a hub and support center for child bloggers and concerned parents. She has observed that the number of young bloggers is increasing every year.
Besides helping the bloggers have an online identity, it is observed that giving expression to feelings and thoughts has various other advantages too. In one of the studies conducted by Scientific American the therapeutic benefits of blogging were discussed. It was mentioned, "besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many psychological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients and even speeds healing after surgery. A study of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before the treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared to the patients who did not." Some hospitals have taken it as a helpful cue in the treatment of their patients and have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites. Nancy Morgan lead author of the Oncologist says, "Individuals are connecting to one another and witnessing each other's expressions - the basis of forming a community".
While sharing one's feelings, thoughts and opinions is fine, one must always keep in mind that with every word that one puts online, a digital footprint gets created. So one must be aware of the security issues and as such, blogging allows the authors to exercise full control of when to share, how much to share and with whom to share. Happy Blogging!!!
Published in The Tribune (Trends).