Slow blogging reinitiated

Three years ago I wrote about joining the slow blogging movement. Slow blogging is a practise that aims to take blogs back to yesteryears, where a group of people wrote thoughtful articles and the web, by and large, read them. These people were not journalists, but regular folk who had worthwhile comments to make and their blog was their platform. And there was no competition.

Like everything else this soon turned into a business: someone thought of ways to make money, someone else thought of ways to appease Google, still others thought of banding and writing hordes of articles with a frequency individual writers could never dream of matching and we got to a point where people started comparing blogging to journalism. And there came with it unhealthy competition.

In three–years’ time I have most certainly deviated from my original intentions of “slow blogging”. But I think the fact that I took three years is appreciable; I for one expected to deviate within three weeks. But it is important not to take the term “slow blogging” too literally. In fact, it means blogging intentionally or purposefully rather than slowly, and pace itself comes merely as a footnote. The idea is that we bloggers will do well to leave marketing and strenuous schedules of writing to magazines and journalists and embrace something media houses cannot offer — individuality. And that when you blog only when you have something worthwhile to say, your frequency of writing tends to drop.

“You don’t work for your blog — your blog works for you and your goals, and the most important thing we can do is let it,” says Jen Carrington. Continue reading

On Ghost: a layman’s take on just a blogging platform

When I first got into WordPress, it was a blogging platform. People owned blogs, people blogged, people read, people interacted and the whole system worked beautifully. But then, somewhere down the line, the power behind WordPress freed it from its shackles as a blogging platform and made it an extremely simple way to use as a CMS, no matter how vast the content.

It was a change to live with, whether we liked it or not. And WordPress’ route map deviated from powering blogs to powering websites of all kinds. For a moment, it felt awkward to think I had a blog hosted on a service no longer entirely dedicated to it, but it was short lived.

In spite of all this, I always yearned for a blogging platform that would manage itself and let me write freely. We still do not have such a product, but several come very close. The one with its roots closest to WordPress is Mr John O’Nolan’s Ghost.

The premise

Ghost is built on node.js, currently a complicated mush to set up which shared hosting services do not even allow. I have never set up a platform (well, anything, really) built on node.js before, so I figured I represented a larger section of Ghost’s expected user base.

Mr O’Nolan’s argument is that WordPress started off as a PHP-based service, based on Michale Valdrighi’s b2 (also a PHP-based service) around a time when PHP was as unsupported as node.js is now. But that, he says, does not mean node.js will not become mainstream in the future, given that it is better than PHP and its contemporaries already. Continue reading

Blogging manifesto, slow blogging and a cuppa

This is one of those tough-to-write articles that is tough just because you are trying to come up with ways to avoid following what follows. (No pun intended.) But when you write three blogs, including this, a satire column and a science blog, all at once, you try to streamline everything into one, if for no other reason, just to loosen things up a tad.

A lot of people seem to have enjoyed my satire, a genre of articles I myself love writing, and the genre of preference any day. A smaller, but more targeted, group of people have freely discussed my science blog as well. Both of these platforms have died as of last week.

Blogging v content creation

The website (and particularly this blog section you are on) is what I opted to serve as a common platform for all this. What I have been most fortunate in is having readers with enough courage to take news from news sources and who would rather discuss with real people. If you know the blogosphere well, you will realise that better insights come from single bloggers rather than team blogs churning out several articles a day. (Yes, I speak of The Verge, HuffPo, TechCrunch, Mashable, Engadget and the lot.)

I follow these as well, but I use my own blog to voice my opinion. And I value a richer communication that a comment on these larger websites where you voice is one in a thousand on a single page. Not many appreciate the value of this, but I am not here to judge them. Continue reading

Bloggers, reporters, journalists and the fine line in-between

The question as to whether bloggers are journalists is a much-debated and indeed over-blogged one. Try googling the phrase are bloggers journalists and you will quickly find that almost all of the results at the top have the same title and all lead to articles where an extensive examination is carried out on the topic. It makes no difference then, if I did the same. What I want to do instead is, in giving out my opinion, also comment on what I have read so far on the idea of bloggers as journalists.

One reason, perhaps, why the issue is on an all-time high at the moment is because of the Apple Asteroid, a yet-unreleased product which Apple Inc., claims is its trade secret. The big question was thrown to the public openly for the first time recently when three blogs, PowerPage, AppleInsider and ThinkSecret carried articles on the product which was never supposed to have fallen to public eyes. The catch? Can the bloggers take cover under laws protecting journalists and legally keep their sources confidential? Continue reading

16 Ethics on Twitter: Think Before you Tweet

CNBC’s blog, flopping out, gave me the ‘think before you tweet.’ Given that Twitter is fast becoming the ultimate source of information exchange online, it is not surprising if you find yourself one day following President Obama or Gaddafi or the guy in the corner of your street… or even me! The important thing to know in such times is that as tweeters we have certain unspoken of, yet unanimously accepted, set of rules–or rather ethics–to keep up to. But how many of us actually do that? Below I have listed few that I could think of and you are most welcome to add to them as you please.

  1. Tweets are read by others so if you don’t want even one of them to know what you think of an international political crisis, there is no point in sharing it with the others.
  2. Nobody wants to know what you dined on so please do not take the trouble of tweeting that you are at such a restaurant, eating such a dish and paying so much for it.
  3. Tweet what other will benefit from and not the fact that a coin has two faces. How many of them do not actually know that? I doubt they would find themselves on Twitter even accidentally.
  4. Tweeting is not letter writing so do not say thank you through tweets. Or hello or good-bye or any such courtesy for that matter, unless it is so important that it will surge your tweeting community ahead in some manner.
Continue reading