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Don't Use Email, Just Grab a Blog Feed
Blogs are revolutionizing the world of creativity, communication and community
Anandha Ganesan (frendz)     Print Article 
Published 2005-05-19 11:40 (KST)   
Bangalore Bloggers Meet
©2005 Venkat
The world of blogging is becoming a sensation, a phenomenon that is moving into yet another new phase. All during the "Blogging Era" there had been a number of methods to bring bloggers together, much like a forum. Gone are the days when bloggers used to sit in front of their computers posting anonymously and alone like a daily diary.

In this new phase, a new face to bloggers has come about as they organize blogger meetings. This is much like the concept of pen friends in the old days. We used to send snail mail with stamps on the front and wait for the reply. Now, technology has moved this concept to a much higher level, so these bloggers get replies/comments in just a couple of seconds.

Just Grab a Feed
Change the World

Blogs seem to be a new phenomenon which may one day replace the emails we send today. All you may need is to grab the RSS feeds of your friends and relatives to share your thoughts and ideas in future... / Anand
Today, a number of meets are being organized, particularly in India. The Delhi Bloggers Meet, The Calcutta Bloggers Meet, The Bangalore Bloggers Meet, The Chennai Bloggers Meet... the list goes on and if you check those sites, you'll find them to be a roaring success.

Although these meets are attended by just a handful of blogging friends, this encourages a new way of making friends in the world. Sooner, we can expect an All India Bloggers Meet as word spreads. Those who miss such meets, given that they live far away or even in different continents, express their concerns and interests to make it to the next meet. We've seen a number bloggers from the same nation blogging from different parts of the world. Soon we can expect a phenomenon of bloggers meeting in a Bloggers Meet.

So, how did it all start?

It started with the basic commenting system in Blogger and other blogging systems. Then came the independent commenting systems which made commenting easier for the bloggers with those snazzy pop-ups. At least pop-ups are now used for better purposes in the blogging world (affectionately called the blogosphere). Feed systems like Atom, XML and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) have made their way through the blogging world.

It turned out that these feeds can be used not only to get news from around the world, but that they can also prove to be a better way to keep track of fellow bloggers. When the number of bloggers rapidly increased, then came the thought of protecting the original work of the anonymous blogger. It is now better documented by the Creative Commons Licensing.

Chennai Bloggers Meet
©2005 Ravi
Even though the licensing came into effect -- as it was supported and followed by the bloggers -- mutual acknowledgement and support is the underlying idea. People now use trackback systems to let a fellow blogger know about ongoing discussions on that particular topic or post.

Then there is the blogrolling, which a blogger can use to easily maintain a long list of favorite blogs. The main advantage of this is that the providers constantly update the list, letting the average blogger know when a favorite fellow blogger writes a new post -- right beside the names in the list.

Another dimension in the world of blogging comes in the form of photos and videos. Rather than having just a text blog, bloggers find that adding photos can provide a richer look and feel to their blogs. And there are quite a number of photo hosting servers like Flickr and Photobucket providing free photo hosting. One can find millions of photos now being uploaded to hosting sites that are being linked by the bloggers into their sites. Added to this are the extensions and facilities provided by a number of supporting systems like Firefox and Blogger. You can blog anything with a single click!

People find it an innovative way to inform and share their feelings through blogs. Very recently, blogs are being used by new dads and moms as a way to announce their newborn children. Some may argue that privacy is a concern, but people do take pride in sharing their happier events and achievements in their lives, whatever the situation, from celebrating an official promotion to sharing the photos of a newborn child; it makes people happy.

Bloggers meeting face to face.
©2005 Muthu
Soon, blogs may even change the face of email. People put up a post and send a ping to the blogs of friends and relatives so that those persons can visit their page to read new posts. This reduces the individual's effort to send emails to each every person on a mailing list. And later on, even corporate managers will start using blogs to make announcements to their employees.

It takes time -- and money -- to set up a new domain and register it for the individual user. People don't care for it unless you give them the choice to choose a unique name for their blogs. It started with the Geocities, and now it can be better explained with blogs. Gone are the days where you need to buy something using credit cards to use it. We are moving into the world of open source ideology, people take pride in their individual work and distribute it. When it is widely accepted, fellow users use newer, effortless payment systems like Paypal to support these copyrighted new ideas.

However the interaction between paper money and the virtual payment systems has to be more secure, as there is still some skepticism about revealing one's credit card and bank information given the widespread danger of hackers.

As mentioned, blogs are very easy to create, and in some cases can even be used to save lives. Just look at the aid system set up with blogs during the tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004. Like-minded bloggers set up tsunami relief blogs and volunteer efforts to help the victims, and to find missing persons. Soon we came to know of the selfless individual efforts by the blogging volunteers who traveled thousands of kilometers just to join the volunteer teams to help the tsunami victims.

Blogging may have started just for fun, but more and more variants are starting to surface. Blogging helps to maintain your anonymity, if you wish, or take the lead and build a following if you like.

It is not about just posting. Blogging speaks to creativity and may be considered an art, much like painting, music and dance, or even hobbies like stamp and coin collection, and photography.

Blogs provide the blogger a power, an aura and self-confidence as he or she tries to show off their creativity through blogs. This can be grasped from the fact that, in the blog domain, you never find two blogs to be the same. If you peer in, you'll notice a whole lot of creativity blooming in the blogworld. Everyone is unique and has a separate taste when it comes to blog design. This is the creativity I was speaking about.

If you think that this is all there is in blogging, then hold on. Blogs have a psychological aspect too. Blogs are not commercial Web sites selling you something. They're a piece of work to share the inner feeling. Blogs can be viewed as a simple way to help in anger management, a way to take time off and relax. By speaking out through a blog, a person doesn't have to take time off only during the weekend. Just expressing one's feelings and taking some time off -- even just 30 minutes a day -- to be creative tends to relieve everyday stress.

©2005 Muthu
Moreover, blogs are a way to come together as a community. You'll find a blog in every area you look for. Right from a blog for the local cricket or football club, to blogs dedicated to sport and music idols like Schumacher or Britney Spears. You'll also find institution-specific blogging communities too. In India, we can find a number of company-specific blogging communities (like TCS, Wipro), university-specific blogging communities (like IIMs and BITS) and school-specific blogging communities.

As friendships and relationships grow because of these blogs, we find a whole new phenomenon revolutionizing the world. For a person within the blogworld, it's fascinating and revealing when they come to know that their friend is a famous blogger with his or her own circle of friends. This encourages people to start their own blogs and join new communities. Because of this, thousands of blog pages are being created everyday and added to the Internet.

Will blogs change our world? Will they change the way we communicate, share our thoughts and feelings and ideas? Will blogs become the predominant medium of communication, thereby making emails outdated? We'll see.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Anandha Ganesan

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