Sunday, 26 December 2004

Plus ça change...

A year ago, when i had just started blogging regularly, i said:
If you're dropping by today, you need a life.
[...]
A very happy Christmas to all of you. And may the spirit of the season last all year through.
Hm. The fact that i'm posting today - what does that say about me?
So this is an appropriate time to figure out out whether this thing is more than just a thief of time. And it's also year end, when everyone's doing this, so indulge me, please.

i haven't blogged with any degree of regularity in the recent past. Because i've been busy, yes, but also because i've been [shudder] introspecting.

When i started, i was pretty sure i wanted to do a filter blog, not a Dear Diary - after all, the workings of my mind are not of interest to the world at large, unlike a certain multidimensional artist and author, or this talented young writer i know. When it came to specialist blogs, i knew i couldn't hold a candle to Hurree's hugely well-informed and entertaining lit-blogging, or Dina's well-researched and comprehensive views on networking and social issues, to name just two.

So Zigzackly became a generalist blog, one of many, many, many. The numbers haven't been that interesting - a little short of 4k vistors since i installed a counter in March. Zz hasn't become a must-read to thousands (which may not be a bad thing - the pressure!), or got me a book deal (again not a bad thing, because i honestly don't have a book in me), and i haven't acquired a life that's different in any major way (this i wouldn't mind).

The positives.

My belief in blogs grew, and along the way, i also archived some of my press work in another blog and started a secret blog in which i unleashed my poetry on an unsuspecting world.

In August, i midwifed a CollaBlog that has grown, both in readership and participation, beyond anything i expected. And there's another community blog that is also showing signs of going places that Zig would never be able to get to alone. And i'm also into a collaboration which has helped me produce some verse i'm actually happy with.

i also discovered blogrolls, and RSS readers (and now subscribe to more blogs than i have time to read) and got involved with a group of writers via Ryze, and started a site that i hope will soon grow into something big...

And here's what i've been asking myself. Is this blog any more than a personal set of bookmarks that's easily accessed as long as i'm near a net connection?

And, Faithful Reader, i guess i'm asking you that question too. If you visit regularly, or subscribe to this feed or this one, what do you like about this blog? What do you want to see?

i shall have to think about this a bit longer, i think. Meanwhile, i'd love to hear what you have to say.

Won't be blogging much for the nonce. Next week, i go North, to maybe scout around for some rich clients and gullible editors and suchlike in our nation's capital, but mainly to laze around and eat the Babu and Partner out of two houses and homes for a bit, and perhaps meet for the first time MarginAlien and Putu, and maybe Jabberwock and all my other Delhi buddies.

Hope you're having a great Christmas season, love to you and yours, and in case i forget to post, may 2005 be wonderful for you.

3 comments:

Hurree said...

What keeps me coming back to this blog? Easy. Blogging is a relationship. What you're looking for in a blog is either information, or...something approaching coffee and conversation. And to my mind, Zigzackly does that better than most of the blogs I know. It's far more than a collection of bookmarks. It reminds me that life is quirky, and that it contains more things than books, cats and family soap operas. It cheers me up on the bad days. It gives me poetry; and comics; and news about bullshit, or stars. Don't ever get hung up on the numbers: bloghits are about getting into the blogging game at the right time, as I told you once. Hits have nothing to do with quality. I'm betting that those who read Zigzackly have a higher degree of loyalty to it than we do to most other blogs.
I don't miss any of my book blogs too much if they go offline for a bit--there's always someone else who can fill in. But I do miss Zigzackly if it's not been updated for a while, in just the same way I miss old friends if I haven't chatted with them for a bit.
Some blogs you scour for insider tips. Some blogs you admire from a respectful distance. Some blogs you read because you got there by accident and you're too lazy to get out. And some blogs, well, they need a bench on a mountainside with a view, an unkempt dog, and a cup of coffee in order to be perfectly appreciated. Those ones are rare. But more welcome, I think, than their authors guess.

Marginalien said...

Well, there are only two blogs I visit alongside my own and that's this one and Hurree's. I dunno ... I guess you could call that loyalty or maybe companionship or dependence or all those things rolled together and smoked alongside a cup of coffee (alas, I drink any old kind of coffee even though I'd like to sniff and look saintly when asked whether I prefer Colombian on full moon nights). I have a slow modem, hence I can't crawl web as lasciviously as I'druther. Gotta be selective. Gotta keep my pickings slim. Gotta go to only those places I REEEELLY feel snuggly in. Like this one. MMMhmmm. Yesss. Cya in Delhirium, Zig.

Anonymous said...

i read this blog only occasionally (as well as the babu's excellent kitabkhana) so please feel free to discount this. actually what follows is not really my thoughts on this particular blog but on blogs in general as a mode of discourse:

in my opinion, and i am biased (more on this below), blogs work best as an expression of an individual personality, or as a conversation between the central blogger(s) and a small group of readers. by their very design (centralized) they do not work well as a model of open conversation--what in my years in the dot-bomb world we used to refer to as many-to-many communication. for that i think the unfashionable, unsexy world of forums is still the best (and here is my bias: i am one of the founding members of www.anothersubcontinent.com). on a forum anyone can start conversations and all conversations are horizontal, not vertical; they can also branch off in ways determined by any member. if you want to talk to a lot of people i think participation on a forum is the way to go. what ends up happening sometimes is that bloggers hoard all or most of their words for their own blogs...which is to say i wish more of you wild and crazy south asian bloggers would participate more on another subcontinent...

so, to come back to your question, i don't think you need to be anxious about whether your blog is narcisstic in some way--one could say that that is exactly what blogs are structurally and that they work best in that mode. (as excellent as the tsunami blog is, what the blog form enables there is only ease of collaboration, it isn't necessarily the best way to organize the information--as i think dina mehta has noted on her own blog.)

by the way, i used to have a blog on livejournal some years ago--it went the way of all my internet addictions--that is to say i went from updating it multiple times a day to never looking at it again (it still exists). so i am very impressed by those of you who can keep this going on a daily basis.

cheers,

arnab chakladar