They create an identity for themselves on the Net and chat about a variety of subjects. Some bloggers, however, arrange meets to put faces to the names.
GET TOGETHER: Meet the virtual and real personas. Photo: ANITA BORA
"FERRARI" (prabhukrish.net) was busy hunting for an online picture of the Besant Nagar beach. The web, being what it is, yielded a good jpeg image of the beach with just the right landmarks after a brief search.
After Ferrari hastily superimposed a red arrow mark on the picture and put it up on his blog, he smacked his lips in anticipation all was set for his first ever Blogger's Meet on the sands of the Besant Nagar beach, right next to the stalls that sell oily, yet tasty, bajjis. Only, the bloggers had to turn up.
He need not have worried on that score. The attendance was good and the bloggers kept coming, even as the shadows got longer and finally disappeared in the darkness of the sands. It did not even matter so much that the bloggers could no longer see each other's faces; they were already familiar with their web-prints. All meets generally begin with the exchange of URLs.
"Madman" (madmanweb.com) always asks for this. He says, "I cannot place you without your URL". A blog has become some kind of an identity card," explains Suman (sumankumar.com), a Bangalore-based blogger, who has been to many blog meets, most of them without "any specific agenda, except for the tsunami meets."
Still, blogmeets help put a face to the blogs you read regularly. Getting together at the first meeting is a challenge sometimes, as men and women walk in, trying to match the sea of unfamiliar faces before them with what they have read on the web. Amit Varma of indiauncut.blogspot.com, once put up a sign "Bombay Bloggers" at the coffee shop they had once chosen for a venue. He does not think bloggers are a community or that there is anything that binds them, apart from the surface similarity that they all blog. However, he is quick to add that the meetings they have had in Mumbai, by the beach or off it, have had some "fabulous diversity, which is always stimulating."
Once Chennai-based, now writing in from the U.S., blogger Lazy Geek (lazygeek.net) says, "It's mostly fun because the group just gels together so fast even before you finish your first coffee (or bajji) and it's like meeting friends you've known for a long time." Just what Anita Bora (anitabora.com), a long-time blogger based in Bangalore feels too. "It doesn't take too long to break the ice."
For some bloggers, the meets have become an essential part of their monthly `to-do' lists. While most meets are suddenly thought of and hastily arranged, bloggers pay incredible attention to post info about such meets on their blogs or at least draw attention to other sites where the information can be gleaned. Sometimes, elaborate details are provided, like Ferrari's red arrow at Besant Nagar.
Every big town and city in India has its own round of bloggers meets, its quota of webmasters who are willing to take their virtual persona into a coffee shop, or up a hill.
Kiruba (kiruba.com), who has been blogging for about five years now, says, "Bangalore has a fascination for upmarket coffee joints while the Chennai group aims for variety. Chennaiites have tried out beaches, hillocks and homes, besides the coffee shops." Delhi bloggers even have a blog dedicated to their meets http://delhiblogmeet.rediffblogs.com.
However, there must be a flip side and here it is: there are bloggers who have reservations about going to such meetings, who prefer to be known by their blog identities and no further. Like Ammani (jikku.blogspot.com), "My assumed identity gives me Dutch-courage and I write risque stuff that the real me would shy away from. Meeting a lot of fellow-bloggers en masse would leave me feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable."
For these people, there are the more unobtrusive "Online Blogger Meets" that start at an appointed time and simply go on for hours, with bloggers logging in and logging out when they want to. "Hari the Hadron" (harithehadron.blogspot.com) has been to one such online meet and was thrilled to find Indian bloggers from all parts of the world log in with web cams, voice messaging and some, just typing their thoughts in a common chatroom.
Online or off line, what do they get out of it? For "Thennavan" (chennaicentral.blogspot.com) who has created a loose network of bloggers "Indibloggers", there is a much exalted purpose: "Blogger meets are the seeds for a major change in the way constituencies are going to be created in future." For Kiruba, it is networking, making new contacts, while Nirenjan (www.nirenjan.com) thinks, "The real fun is meeting new people. It just kicks off after that."
Much like "Ravages" (selectiveamnesia.org), a blogger for "donkey's years", who says he doesn't need to get anything out of a bloggers' meet except good company, some good jokes, and probably more readers. Others who are keen on meeting up, are not afraid to peep from behind their assumed web identities, know that a meet is one way to get more readers for their blogs, and the younger ones, even a "speed-dating opportunity".
Only some get lucky, though. Like Karthik (degreecopy.blogspot.com), who landed up marrying the only other person who turned up for a bloggers' meet! Cupid had drawn the arrow for this meet!
* * *
The word "Blog" refers to maintaining a log of diary-like entries on the web via posted messages on a site.
As the site http://www.elise.com/web/a/what_is_blogging.php says, "Blogging is easy, almost instant, publishing of content to a website, where every entry is preserved in a database and is therefore categoriseable and searchable. Content can be photographs, recipes, restaurant reviews, or anything digitally storable on a computer that you can categorise."
Though criticised as a self-centred craze that will soon fade, blogging has also been hailed as a first generation tool with inbuilt characteristics of the Internet that will reset present definitions of connectivity and interaction with important implications. Anyone can do it and the space on the net is unlimited. So from CEOs of organisations, to college students and angst-ridden teenagers, everyone wants to chant the bogging mantra. Refer to these sites to define your space on the World Wide Web.
Source: The Internet
Send this article to Friends by