Let’s face it. I have posted 7 entries in my blog this far and the topics have ranged from mocking my neighbor’s pettiness to excoriating authors and the media. Most of them are well over 800 words and would have necessitated your attention for at least 10 minutes and 2 mouse scrolls for going through the entire post. I sent you mails, messages or scraps intimating you that I have a new post in my blog but didn’t quite give you an idea of what you could expect.
What actually happened was that I invited you to read an entry on a topic I wasn’t quite sure you would relate to or appreciate. And you spent time, some brain cells and effort in reading an article which you weren’t sure would entertain or educate you. Doesn’t this asymmetry sound a tad too ridiculous?
You might be wondering, “Are you trying to tell me that I should know exactly what the article is even before I read it?” My answer to that is, “Maybe. Why not?” And the flip side of that question is, “What is it that you would want to read on, such that I can tailor my write-ups to suit your needs and tastes?” I think both of us – you as readers and I as a writer – should have the discretion to pose these queries to each other for a holistic information/opinion exchange experience.
Let me make it clear with an example. I am very much interested in cryptic crosswords. I could type away a 1000-word article on the simple charms and pleasures of solving a cryptic clue, comfortably ensconced in a couch with a bag of pop-corn and Yanni playing in the background. But considering my present set of readers, it would be a glorious waste. So if I send you an intimation saying that I have a new post on my blog, you might not read beyond the fourth line – which would mean I wasted my time or you could just linger on and finish the article and in the end, not like it very much – which would mean you wasted your time. So why endeavor to do something, the end result of which neither of us is sure of?
You needn’t be a web guru or a Silicon Valley expert to realize that I am actually talking of applying the principles of Web 2.0 in my writing. Blogging itself is hailed on as a key Web 2.0 bellwether, but in my opinion it isn’t fully so. The transfer of opinions and knowledge is still top-down – from writer to reader. Very few bloggers take feedback and work on it to suit their reader’s palates. If everyone is spitting self-specific opinions, who is to benefit from them? Shouldn’t it be a participative exercise rather than the largely anarchist model that is currently in vogue?
Time magazine momentously declared that the Person of the Year 2006 is “YOU”, considering the way you and I are interacting with each other, acting as local media hubs and using the Web 2ish internet as a platform. (Lev Grossman’s explanatory article is one of the finest I have read of late. You too can read it here if you haven’t already.) It is a giant leap from the way we used to access information yesterday and suddenly even opinions matter as much as facts. But then, if everyone opines who will listen? In the end we are only as deaf as we were before because of the din created by excessive opinions.
Why don’t we embark on a simple experiment? You guys tell me what you wanna read on next. Post all your ideas regarding topics, content, word limit, style and any other feature you want included. Send in your comments and I will try to incorporate them in my next article. You can also expect an explanation on why I chose what I chose. After all, the freedom is mutual isn’t it? So go ahead and opine. I am listening. 😉