Changing Times

It was around 2004-2005 when I came across the word blogging. I was working in a browsing center and had a lot of time to check emails. I was part of numerous yahoo groups which shared jokes and beautiful pictures. After a point of time, I got comfortable reading long paragraphs and decided I should have a space to write too. Thus began my journey of blogging.

The internet was not as scary place today 16 years ago. The way blogging started was to share their life in open and to see we were not alone in feeling this. It was almost like walking into a human library section. There were tidbits about other people’s life. Genuine heartwarming, funny incidents being shared. People with a certain skillset would share their knowledge in a step by step way. I remember giving my blog email and password to a person who was working in Dubai to help me with SEO. That kind man asked me repeatedly to change my password as soon as he was done with the work. I smiled and replied to his email that I trust him. I am still friends with him after all these years. He still has my passwords.

Safe to say I have been blogging for 15 years now, on and off. But today it is so scary. I come across numerous new bloggers who are intimidated by senior bloggers. They are constantly told that their thoughts are wrong, they are immature and what not.
I have had such incidents happening too. I first got into a fight with people over a Tamil blog regarding the movie ‘Rang De Basanti’. It quickly turned into a left vs right fight. I had no idea how the world worked at that time. When it happened, numerous bloggers all around the world, got in touch with me to explain how they understood where they come from and also educate me about the deep thought processes which went behind the mind of the person I was fighting against. I still have those emails where they, not once provide a link for me to read but explained in their own simple words and examples from their lives to make me see their point.
But now, if somebody disagrees with a point another blogger makes, they just screenshot the whole thing and share it in their wall with their comments.
Their stand is that ‘There might be so many other people than the original poster to carry the same ideas. I am doing this to mass educate.’ But I only see this as shaming. It feels like ‘See, I have some superior thought process than this person, who is just immature’. They refrain from commenting in the OPs post or Facebook share but rather do this to gain some more attention they are craving for. They defy the basic way the internet is supposed to be used. There is no engagement. There is no empathy. They hide behind the big user names and a random profile picture which they stole from another Instagram account (without giving credits or remuneration).

‘Google and find yourself’ or ‘Just Google it’ is another thing that is being tossed around. But you know what, in earlier days when people started blogging, they found the sources about what they are talking about. Then they emailed the people who had written the original piece seeking permission to link it with their article. Sometimes even got input from them. They thought if somebody asks me a question about this piece or seeks clarification, I should be clear enough. This was how people ranked in search engines, got enough hits, and more importantly found readers who were looking for what they were talking about.

Ideas are transient. We all know that. I sometimes go back and edit my old posts to sound less kiddish. But there is so much of preaching happening on the Internet today. I am tired of it. I tried to look the other way and don’t mind. But people with zero work experience, preach about hustling, people who hadn’t missed their paycheck in their entire life talk about being their boss and offer advice to people which are simply impractical makes me tired. I am done with being angry or sarcastic.

I have seen people who at the early twenties, write pages and pages about polyamory. When they fell in love, which I am very happy about, they start writing about how polyamory isn’t for everyone. If somebody calls out their change of opinion, they again write a post with the screenshot saying that they were only human. It is all good that there is a change in the thought process. But what happens to the people you have shamed and called immature.

If they only had written earlier about how they are fascinated by the concept of polyamory earlier, making it personal, it won’t be as weird as it sounds now. But the tone of the article is always like what I am doing is right, if you don’t have the same thought process as mine, you are a loser. Grow up and join hands with me.

Then there are these YouTubers, pinging you at all the time of the day to share and subscribe to their channels. Use every opportunity to tell about their channels. I understand it is their hard work and they want their channel to reach as many people as possible. But then when some person leaves a comment which may seem dumb to other people, these YouTubers screenshot it, put it in their WhatsApp stories and Instagram stories to shame the person who watched their content, contributed to the views and tried to engage with the content creator. If this is not cheap behavior I don’t know what is. Maybe if you hadn’t begged for his subscription, he would have avoided this online embarrassment.

Today’s virtual world is heavily entitled. People can and should always express their point of view. That is the sole reason to have blogs, social media platforms. But they shouldn’t make it a preaching platform if they are not going to walk the talk. Engage, collaborate, educate, entertain. But all this shouldn’t come at the expense of cyberbullying.

As a person who was following blogs for a decade and a half, I can just tell you this. The Internet is built for the sole purpose of sharing information. While you share information, to be kind is basic civility. Nobody cares what makes you furious or joyous. Try being kind. It is free of cost and kinda easy too.

 

6 Comments

  1. Divya May 30, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    The blog world may not be as open as it once was but I still feel that it is still a safe space. Yes, with SM people want instant attention and shamming or arguing online is one way to get it. This has resulted in many genuine bloggers (read nice people) dropping out of the blog scene. I have made some great blogger friends over the years – some I am still in touch with but others have become either too big for me or are no where on the scene. I remember the time when guest posts were written by experts in their respective fields without ever discussing payment. I miss people who gave meaningful feedback as comments – now people prefer to like or heart. Its fine but as a blogger I rather have 5 comments on a post over 50 likes.

    Reply
    1. prasanna May 30, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Exactly. I am glad to know it is still a safe space for you. It’s just a piece of nostalgia for me to revisit how good it was in the old times while the present days may look like heaven for another set of people. But it’s sad that everybody is preaching and none is walking the talk.

      Reply
  2. Mahesh May 30, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Bragadeesh,

    You make some interesting observations. People will continue to remain as they are – the desire to be always right and be the center of attraction is a curse. I know several people who say something preach all inspirational and good things and do the bang exact opposite in reality and portray a ‘holier than thou” attitude. Have just stopped interacting and engaging with such people. Makes life easier. You remember one of your old favourite lines – “Not my monkeys, not my problems.”

    Reply
    1. prasanna May 30, 2020 at 6:58 pm

      Yeah.. The old saying. But the messaging these days have incredibly shallow like if you are not with me, you are the villain types.

      Reply
  3. Padhmavathy Neelamegan May 30, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    As always, you have expressed it very well. I was infact wondering on similar lines today, how blogging has changed from before. Not that I have so much experience in the field as you do, but it has changed that’s for sure. But we have to adapt with the change. I haven’t experienced the screenshot thing yet, that’s damn rude.

    Reply
    1. prasanna May 30, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Padhma, blessed be you for not coming across such cheap people. People use their disability, their past and what not to get just handful of likes and follows. And if someone questions them, thats all.. all hell breaks loose.

      Reply

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