Redefining The Blog

Warning: Long Rant Ahead

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been in a lot of introspective mood lately. There has been something which has been putting me off blogging, or rather making me rethink about one of my favorite areas where I spend my time. I have been blogging close to 6 years and I have been following other blogs since then. Over a period of time the blogosphere has changed dramatically, and somehow I started to feel that it might not be an as interesting place as it used to be.

I don’t know why but I too face the problem which D faced and mentioned it here. Though I followed a lot of bloggers without any gender bias, but over a period of time a lot of male bloggers have disappeared from the block leaving my readers dominated primarily by female bloggers, which I don’t have problem with but my Google reader opinions are lot more female centric as they used to be. I don’t know the reason for this sudden disappearing of the male species from the blogging, some of the very good India male blogs I used to read are simply gone or are not frequently updated- Twisted DNA, Hitchwriter, Rajeev Karwal, Sidin, Amit Varma, Desi Pundit blogs, Nariyal Chutney are some which I miss reading on regular basis.

Another factor which has lately been a cause of disappointment for me in the blogosphere has been the quality and type of posts. If I would generalize the posts which actually carry me away from the blogging world would be-

  • Feminist & Male Bashing: There would be a lot of posts on how the women are being mistreated or some piece of news/article how males raped women or tortured them etc. Now don’t get me wrong I too feel towards the cause of the women and support it whole heartedly. But its kind of boring reading similar posts and similar comments on a lot of blogs but not a single blog about actions being taken; a lot of blogs wrote on “Why Shiny Ahuja should be hanged/ castrated etc for what he had done?” but I didn’t see a single line on any of those blogs “I had a conversation with my husband/ brother/ son/ father on how to maintain the decorum when our maid is working in the house?” Some how all the talk without an action makes me disappointed. Similarly when lots of blogs were supporting Pink Chaddhi campaign over the top but I missed a picture of a set of Pink Chaddhis which were sent by those bloggers. All this makes me questions are we just the high society who would sit with a hot cup of coffee and discuss how much problems the world is in and then go back to our home without doing anything?
  • Wordless Wednesdays : As far my knowledge of the concept goes it supposed to be wordless because the pictures posted should be expressive enough and shouldn’t require words to describe the photograph. But somehow Wordless Wednesday has become more of filler posts which would be schedules for weeks with actually no thought going in what goes into the posts. Though I am all for the awesomeness of the abstract art in photography but then may be its not such a bad idea to write a line or two about the photograph and set a context where the reader of a low IQ like me can get it too.
  • Too Many Filler Posts: I am sure most of us have been guilty of posting posts without any actual content in it. But lately the filler posts have started exceeding the posts with actual content on the blog. So if three consecutive posts were only on how you didn’t have time to post and you would start doing it from tomorrow may be you should have combined the three posts into one and written something which would have satisfied you as an author and the readers too.
  • Celebrity Posts: which are primarily about announcing to the world when and what they ate, generate controversies and then address them for free publicity. Having been on the block for a long time, I also know that most of them might not be even managed by the so called celeb themselves, but a trained PR professional might be doing it for them creating the so called “Public Image”.

So in short I was having what I would call crisis of faith on the blogging itself because either the world has changed or I am not following the right people, which led me to a point that I was considering that I should formally quit blogging. What brought me back was a series of posts from Sayesha (who from now I claim to be my blogging idol) whose blog I have been following since so many years. She underwent through a very difficult phase while giving birth to her baby where she also had to consider an option of terminating the baby. All the while in the hospital when she was struggling amidst difficult time she held on and never blogged about it and this is the reason she mentions on her blog which she also calls her barSome of you have asked me why I never mentioned all of this on the blog when it was happening. Well, here’s the reason. The bar is a happy place. It has always been and it will always be. I wanted our story to reach at least a small positive point before sharing it.”

It was reading these lines from her made it all come back to me “Why I started blogging/ Why I kept on it even when people around me were letting it go/ What do I owe, if I do when I Blog?”

So I guess its time to establish revisit the tenets which form the core of my blogging-

What is Ginger & Cardamom?

Ginger & Cardamom is a place which is open, fun, creative, humorous and happy while still being reflective on life, India and the world view.

Who are the people to which Ginger & Cardamom is responsible to and what that responsibility means?

  • The Readers: Since they are the primary consumers of the content posted on G&C it is a responsibility to ensure the readers get the quality posts which maintain the Ginger & Cardamom character of fun, creative, humorous and happy
  • Authors of the Post: Should allow the authors to reflect experiment and feature their creativity without editing or post processing the original posts.
  • Aggregators: Any people (other bloggers or non bloggers) or forums (like Blogadda and indiblogger) who recommend G&C or a post on G&C; the G&C should strive to live up to the recommendation.
  • Blogging Community: G&C would always be ethical and responsible to the basic tenets of the blogging community and would neither entertain evil practices like Plagiarism nor support people who indulge in these evil practices.

How do we plan to achieve the characteristics defined above?

  • Open: The blog would be open about the authors’ identity and contacts while allowing the reader community to have a voice in terms of comments on all posts without moderating or editing.
  • Fun & Humorous: The blog would strive to be a fun place retaining a sense of humor in posts, comments and replies
  • Creative: The blog would be a mix of fictional, poetic & non fictional posts allowing multiple areas for creativity
  • Reflective: The blog would constantly try to keep a perspective on things happening around us (events, news, politics, books, movies etc) to give the readers an opinion to rely on.
  • Happy: The blog would be a happy place where the reader should be either happy with the effort put in or because the post left a smile on the face. (Thanks a lot Sayesha for this)

So this is what I think Ginger & Cardamom stands for and this is what I would be trying to achieve through this blog. However, since this is a changing world I would be revisiting this post again and again to chart out the future course till then see you when I see you. Meanwhile if you as a reader have some views on how can I improve this space or what can be a better direction for this place I am all ears.

36 comments on “Redefining The Blog”

  1. Ruchira Reply

    I can so relate to this post! Off late I too have been feeling that there is a dearth of well written posts. Posts that are informative and make you think or where you can appreciate the creative writing effort that has gone in.
    When I started my blog I made a promise to myself that it would be a place where I would better my writing skills and never use it as a place for personal rants. When I feel that I don’t have time to write a good post, I simply don’t write – and that is why my blog is so infrequently updated.
    Most people blog for the sake of it … without realizing what they want out of it .. and it’s sad really …

    • Ruchira Reply

      And I really enjoy your blog the way it is. The posts provide a platform for healthy discussion and they are well written !
      Please dont go away or make it private 🙂

      • Prats Reply

        @Ruchira: Thanks for appreciating comments. I was contemplating to bring a formal closure to the blog, but decided against it… So will be around the block at least for some time to come 🙂

    • Prats Reply

      @Ruchira: Yes, and I guess it is time to stop following some blogs which do not have a purpose or initiate negativity or other sentiments in the system which are not acceptable to me as a reader. Its actually comforting to see that its not a fault with my expectations there are people like you who feel the same way too 🙂

  2. Monika Reply

    *goes off to check last few of self and wonders if prats will stop following me now :P*

    on a serious note I agree with u that the world of blogging has indeed changed a lot personally I feel the susbantce from the blog is missing these days ofcourse there are some who still manage to keep the content brilliant but in a general state its not as it used to be… men bloggers yeah all my fav men bloggers dont seem to be blogging anymore including u , a shout out for all of them to come back pretty please

    I loved reading that series of syesha’s post I cried bucket full I am not kidding, also I think it took me back to my difficult pregancy I had spent a lot of time in the hospital too with many of the issues she had so it was like a dejavu but yes after I read those I read the rest of the blog too and its a very happy place indeed touchwood

    ROFL at celebrity blogs… ha ha ha this is what me and shakti were discussing the other day no? gets on my nerves

    • Prats Reply

      @Monika: Lol no I am not unfollowing you any time soon 😛 so you gonna have to bear with my comments, arguments and tantrums time to time 🙂
      I can understand the way you feeling at sayesha’s posts even I felt the same way…God bless Xena 🙂

  3. Monika Reply

    Ok now that agreement has happened and u might be surprised that why the hell has monika not said nothing else here are the points I dont agree on

    1. Feminist and male bashing posts – I think blogging is also a place abt voicing ones opinions, and creating kind of a revolution, they serve the same kind of purpose as walks do… need not assure a solution but yes creates an awareness and brings those issues to forefront. Dont get me wrong I am not advocating male bashing, I hate it but I have said this before and I say this again feminism is NOT male bashing and if people potray it like that time to unfollow that blog I say but else these posts, talking abt it is required very much required… PS: IHM & me both posted the pics of pink chaddi we sent and we both got quite some trolls for it too 😛 similarly from time to time I do posts on how and what I am doing with ojas to make him aware and sensitive to gender politics and how one shld be nuetral to it, Ritu does some excellent on this… giving examples of how she dealt with it and how she trained her two sons and many more I can…

    2. I somehow dont agree with the fact that the blog should be a happy place always, for me it has to be a place which remains true to what I am, what I think, what I feel. It might be disturbing thoughts that have been coming to my mind, an occasional rant, happy memories, angry thougts too. My opinions – good and bad. Though I agree I would not want to go read a place which emantes negativity but at the same time I am really not sure I would like to read a blog where is overdose of happiness happening ( wink wink just recalled a conversation we too had once on this… remember?)

    • Phoenixritu Reply

      Thanks Monika for the vote of confidence. Yes I agree, one can be and should be neutral. A world without men would be a scary one 😛

      And I agree with you, being madly happy is weird. Be sad, be happy, be anything on your blog, but above all, be yourself. People come to visit you, not a mood.

      • Prats Reply

        @PhoenixRitu: I have consciously decided that this blog is more about its readers than it is about me (Thats the order of the responsibility of the blog)… I want people to visit the blog because I want the blog and me to be different… We can have some major points of intersection but each shouldn’t completely eclipse the other.

    • Prats Reply

      @Monika: yes but there are a lot of people who do not… and I think we already have a detailed discussion on the second one too 🙂

    • Prats Reply

      @Monika: It leaves the space open for anyone who wants to write in this space may be a guest post or a regular column but I don’t mind 🙂

  4. Phoenixritu Reply

    You know Prats, there are a lot of blogs I followed, that have not been updated for a long time. I dont update mine if I dont have anything to write … for a creative pursuit space and a breather are v necessary. And male bashing? Ummm, that is strident, but yes I know what you mean, there are some shrill voices. One can unfollow them. That is easy. Keep the space and there are many minty fresh voices that have come up. I make a point of following them. They remind me why I started blogging

    • Prats Reply

      @PhoenixRitu: I don’t know how but gradually it has happened that my reader is flooded with shrill negative voices and I am not discovering new blogs (Blogrolls are hardly updated these days) but I do follow but somehow I see a platonic shift in the world of blogging

  5. Preeti Shenoy Reply

    The thing is each blog is what the blog-owner wants it to be. If anyone wants to do male-bashing, they do have a right. It is their space! If one does not agree with it, one can always stop reading.
    Personally I follow a few blogs (not Indian) whose content is always great. there are no filler posts, there is no negativity (as I do not like to read too much negativity) and they are all ‘true blue’ blogs. Now someone else may find those blogs cloyingly sweet. But that is okay.

    Each of us, gets different things from blogging.
    Some might be blogging to improve writing skills, some might be blogging to connect, yet others might be blogging to earn money out of it, someone else might be blogging to validate what they feel, some might even be blogging to make new friends.

    In the end, it is totally upto blogger (and in turn the readers) what a blog is all about. In fact some may not even mind having no readers.

    • Prats Reply

      @Preeti Shenoy: I know what you mean, but that is what my point is that I want my blog to be responsible towards its readers more than it is responsible towards me. I know there are people who don’t mind having readers and there was a point when Ginger & Cardamom was like that; I was like that but I guess both the blogs and people evolve with the time.

  6. Irfan Iqbal Gheta Reply

    Dear Prats, your blog is a place from where I got inspiration for my blog. Please don’t sound so disappointed. The quality of blogging may have gone down. The issues that get written about on the blogs may not be appealing to some of us any more. But it doesn’t mean that a six years veteran of blogsphere like you should consider quitting blogging. How did that thought cross your mind in the first place? You’re doing a great job. You must keep it up. You’ve asked for suggestions to make your blogging experience more pleasurable. That’s really nice of you. The subjects you choose to blog about are really unique. This is what makes your blog so special for all of us. Please hang in there.

    • Prats Reply

      @Irfan: Thanks mate, but I am not disappointed may be a tad concerned and contemplative. I hope to hang in here for some more time to come lets see how I fare with my self assigned direction for this blog 🙂

  7. D Reply

    You know, there are also studies to prove that blogging in general has lost out a lot of its patrons. Fewer people are blogging now than they were even two years ago. And a lot of us who’re here, at least me, find blogging not quite the same thing we used to when we started out. I agree – the male bashing on women’s blogs are getting a wee bit much. And I really do want to read happy stuff, once in a while at least.

  8. Scorpria Reply

    Damn — I put up two “bullet list posts” one after the other…and now two not-at-all-happy icici rants. You’re never gonna read me again, are you!? 😀

    Anyways. I partly agree with you on the “Feminist & Male Bashing” posts — when its one right after the other, it gets a bit boring — but again, it is awareness, if not action. And it is the blogger’s opinion on each of these subjects that he/she writes about.

    As for being fun, it depends on what you want your blog to be — you’ve described a few identity mandates for YOUR blog. Like that, everyone would have one. I consider my blog an e-version of myself…if i decide to post ONLY the good happy times and keep away the sad ones for the reader’s sake, it means I’m trying to portray a picture tht i’m happy all the time, and that picture is fake, really.

    And again — when YOU feel these are issues, that certain blogs or posts bore you and certain entertain you, it’s completely YOUR decision what you read, who you follow and who follows you 🙂

    I, for one, do NOT bash anyone (except icici, of course. i love them) — male or female. I do not rite celeb posts, i do NOT do WW, TT or FFs (i find it an effort to even comment on them these days!)…all i do is be myself…celebrate, goof around, rant, crib, not post, post too frequently…yea, my blog’s as unpredictable as i am. it’s me!

    I personally think THAT’s what blogging should be. No matter what you write or don’t write about, blogging should have a person’s personality reflecting in it. Again, this is a MOST personal view of what blogging ought to be. I’m sure many will differ in their opinions.

    *goes off in search of chocolate hearts to send your way to make sure you dont hate me forever :D*

    • Prats Reply

      @Scorpia: Rants are not a problem they are sometimes fun and informative (the relevance of the post changes a lot when the blogger or someone he or she closely knows faces an issue; In my view the problem starts when you read a newspaper article and start bashing the every one over it again and again without doing something about it in your own circle and family where you can actually make a difference)

      I agree to the awareness bit but sharing a link and going to the repetitive bashing doesn’t help. We all read a lot of blogs, newspapers and for the most part the link is not exclusive. Secondly in terms of awareness the post doesn’t have any new perspective, opinion, solution, idea… I agree there is a problem around what we talk but what after that? A blog post needs to be more than a simple aggregation platform, it has to have some unique value and idea to it “All Men are bastards” is a zillion year old opinion and is not worthy of a readable content unless otherwise backed by a suitable perspective setting or an unique opinion.

      “I, for one, do NOT bash anyone (except icici, of course. i love them) — male or female. I do not rite celeb posts, i do NOT do WW, TT or FFs (i find it an effort to even comment on them these days!)…all i do is be myself…” I agree to that and I love reading that; its fascinating that after every post you would do I would no more about a stranger a bit more whose wavelength of thinking I match to.

      I personally think THAT’s what blogging should be. No matter what you write or don’t write about, blogging should have a person’s personality reflecting in it. This is where I have a difference of opinion in case of Ginger & Cardamom. I see G&C as what I wrote in that post, I might start another blog which might reflect me as a personality but for G&C it is not the reason for existence.

      Ps. I am waiting for the chocolate hearts 😀

      • Scorpria Reply

        Hehehe…yea, agree with everything. And when I say I PERSONALLY think blogging should have a person’s personality reflecting in it, I so agree and am with you that G&C should be what you want G&C to be 🙂

        Ahem, gimme your address, chocolate hearts shall reach ya 😀

        • Prats Reply

          @Scorpia: Lolz I don’t think it is necessary… Given we both live in Bangalore as of now… I will collect them when we meet in person… Savvy?

  9. Bindu Reply

    I guess it all boils down what you are trying to say, what you want to portray through your blog. The intention of it being a happy place is great. But for some, it might be a place share the not so good things in their life, they might not haveanyone else to pour their hearts out to.
    I agree on the male bashing ones. A few blogs that I really liked now just have these articles on how men are the big bad ones, but they tend to forget there are so many of them who are the opposite also out in the world.
    Sayesha – Just love her, she is a ray of sunshine 🙂

  10. momofrs Reply

    Whoa!!
    And I wondered why you weren’t posting for ages (thought you were busy with the next book 😀 )
    I guess I’m guilty of all those accusations you’ve listed above 🙁
    But then, my blog is just a drop in the ocean of blogging 🙂
    As for the content,there are hundreds of blogs out there which are soul-stirring and thought provoking (read up on the best of the RedNeck Mommy here :- http://www.theredneckmommy.com/best-of-rnm. She has the best of humour, wit and soul-stirring articles. You can start with this post :- http://www.theredneckmommy.com/2009/12/10/the-hardest-thing/ )
    Now I’m really hoping you ditch the disappearing plans and get back to blogging pronto 😀

    Cheers,
    N.

  11. Swaram Reply

    I somehow agree with a few blogs posting about (1) pretty often. Their space and their wish, but I hv always been a person who likes to talk more about solutions than problems, esp. when people try to find problems in everything. Ya, I feel so abt some posts!
    And when it comes to blogging, I blog mostly when I feel like there is something to share, and sometimes just bcoz I feel like writing. But ya, I want my space to be focused on people trying to bring about a change than ranting abt what is not happening.
    Thankfully, I hv stopped doing WWs too 😉 till I find something which is really wordless 🙂

  12. Robin Reply

    Your English is horrible. Think of brushing up your grammar. Avoid using long sentences that make absolutely no sense and leave the readers irritated. Moreover, you don’t know the rules of puctuations too. Many a times, you come across as someone who is struggling to put the right word at the right place. Language has to be perfect. Very amateurish effort.

    • Prats Reply

      @Robin: Thanks a lot for writing in. As far as you comments are-
      “Your English is horrible” – Yes It is. And I am trying to improve.
      “Think of brushing up your grammar” – As I said I am trying to improve
      “Very amateurish effort” – I am an amateur, I don’t claim to be a professional
      “Avoid using long sentences that make absolutely no sense and leave the readers irritated. Moreover, you don’t know the rules of puctuations too.”- Now that you are bent on grammar and ignoring the content of the posts, I have the equal right to expect the same from you.
      ” Language has to be perfect”- You are struggling to get the word right; I think you mean “grammar” as language is an evolving concept and can never be perfect. As a matter of fact the oxford dictionary added some words in the English language so you know language can never be perfect as it always evolve 😛

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