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BLOGGING
A NEW ON-LINE PHENOMENON
Dinesh C Sharma


"The internet is a constantly evolving medium. Over the years, we have seen it play a number of roles - as a new medium of communication, vehicle for online dissemination of news and views, platform for electronic commerce and so on. Now a new phenomenon has taken root i.e., blogging which is spreading fast. The number of blogs created on the recent Tsunami tragedy and the role being played by them in targeting relief to the affected areas is an example of growing popularity of blogs.

For starters, a blog is something like a diary that is maintained online or on the web. It is also called a web log (shortened as blog). It started as a form of expressing oneself and sharing one's ideas and thoughts with others in the cyberspace. Unlike a personal diary that people keep, a web diary or log is not something that one writes only for oneself, it is to be shared with others, with anybody who belongs to the online community. It is a form of free speech.

One could talk about oneself, what one does daily, about one's family, friends, school and so on. But this kind of information may be mundane, may not interest many people beyond one's friends and relatives. Another genre of blogging is flourishing where people share their ideas about internet, technology, software, hardware, viruses and bugs. This is the so-called techie stuff. These blogs seem to be popular in the technical community and students. ' Personal logs can also become popular and sometimes can hit headlines as has happened in recent past in the US. The third category of blogs, and perhaps a significant one, are the ones focusing on different subjects and issues. Sometimes even personal views on a passionate subject, that too in a highly surcharged atmosphere, can evoke great interest among people. And this is what happened in the case of Salam Pax, an unnamed Iraqi citizen who maintained his blog before, during and after the American invasion of his country. Overnight he became an icon of the Blogosphere in the Western world. He commanded a huge fan following in the US and other countries.

Salam Pax started posting accounts of everyday life in Baghdad on to the internet in September 2002. His writings reflected criticism of the Saddam regime, and his personal hobbies such as listening to music. His blog attracted a worldwide readership and when the US forces invaded Iraq, his accounts became even more sought after everyday. Now Salam's blog has been turned into a bestseller book titled "Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi". And the book is now being made into a movie.

An intense debate is taking place in the cyberspace and the world of media on the role of bloggers. Recognition to bloggers, on par with print, radio, television and online journalists, in the US election campaign events, has raised the issue whether bloggers are journalists and is blogging journalism. The 2004 presidential campaign in the US was covered extensively in the blogging world. For the first time, press accreditation was issued to political bloggers who covered national conventions of Democrats and Republicans. Unlike print, online or television media, bloggers have covered every minute of the campaign using latest gadgetry. They have been quick in pointing out mistakes and errors in debates by the presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The mainstream media too is recognizing the role of blogging, with some newspapers, television networks and online publications launching weblogs of their correspondents and columnists. But many old-guard journalists have criticized the "non-journalist" blogs. While some bloggers may stand out for their excellent writing and analysis, but one can not generalise and call all bloggers as journalists.
Many analysts and commentators believe that Weblogs and other forms of online journalism are on the rise because of the rapid decline in the credibility of big media. So, blogging is increasingly playing the role of a watchdog of mainstream media. In India too, we have bloggers that have kept a vigilant eye on the Indian media and have made caustic comments on the goings on in the mainstream newspapers and television channels. Some celebrities in the West have set up their own blogs to put the record straight on what mainline media reports about them.

Blogs are also a great source of local information, as demonstrated by blogs on the Tsunami tragedy. Many blogs are constantly reporting on what is happening in their respective countries, cities and islands. This is the first hand information coming right from heart of Tsunami-hit zones. These blogs are also able to tell what kind of relief and help is needed in a particular area and how to reach it to the affected directly. Blogs have also helped affected and lost persons unite with their families back home. They are constantly posting pictures and information about those injured or lost. In normal times also, blogs are a great source of local information and news which one can not find in mainstream media.

Blogging is growing every day. There is no authentic survey on how many Indian blogs are active, but it is sure that their number runs into several thousands already. Tsunami tragedy, has created a record - registering ten lakh hits within a week of its setting up. This shows the power and reach of this new vehicle of information sharing and dissemination.

   

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Researched by: Maninder Singh Walia - email: onlinepower@rediffmail.com

This is the section where we feature some of the articles researched by The 123oye.com Team.  If you want to contribute an article (share your views, experiences and thoughts) write in to us at info@123oye.com send us your jobs / career related articles. We promise to give you a chance to put your thoughts across to our visitors.

 

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