Thursday, November 10, 2005

"Elite bloggers" exposed!!
Incestuous bickerings/commiserations follow...

This is not my first blog posting or my first newbie blog. I am as familiar, if not more than the self styled elite bloggers like Tarun and their ilk, with the terrain of the blogosphere, since I started using this medium many years back. In fact, I began my career in journalism reporting and writing columns for a portal. So it was quite amusing to read the barbs thrown at me following my DT story (below), implying I am a print journo who can’t stop envying the bloggers and their popularity. Sorry, I have not intended to use this post as a billboard to flaunt my long association with blog as a medium of expression, for that would make me culpable of committing the same misdemeanor of the online diarists at the 3rd Delhi annual bloggers meet, who considered themselves too important.

It would have been perfectly okay if Tarun and his pals were to organize some get-together by any other name, say 4 ramblers meet or even elite bloggers meet. But as a blogger, I have a problem, so would any self-respecting blogger, if a group of non-entities arrogate to themselves the authority to convene a bloggers meet that pretended to represent all us Delhi-based bloggers – 3rd Delhi Bloggers’ Meet. Too high-sounding words anyway. I wanted to expose that, and obviously in any undercover operation (MSM term, I am not sure how many non-journos would know that), the victims are not likely to be happy at the end. So it’s not surprising at all that they are resorting to distasteful name calling, filthy phrases and impulsive accusations, abetted by their like minded bloggers (I wonder why even the good ones feel obliged to pamper the pathetic ones).

Secondly, I stand by my story from the first word to the last. Tarun did say he was an elite blogger. But unlike the four musketeers, I don’t want to use abusive language to drive home the point, whether I am being sliced and fed to God knows whom. I happen to belong to one of those bloggers who believes in keeping public discourse well under civilized norms.

Third, I take strong exception to racist comments that cast aspersions over the competency of my community. How dare a Manipuri do it? Is that what you are thinking, Saket?

Fourth, some have dug out my past stories on technology and questioned its accuracy, citing Wikipedia as the bible of authoritativeness. While I agree that Wikipedia is a useful tool for those who know how to sift the truth out of free for all encyclopedia, I won’t swear by it like one clueless blogger did. To know more read this and as for the accuracy of my story, see this. (Saket unfortunately cited a self-serving para from the article in the Washington Post. A clear case of selective representation of facts).

Fifth, I abhor the herd mentality of most bloggers, which restricts their intellectual horizon. If one blogger says something, how blatantly wrong or pitiful, others will jumped in like cheerleaders. It’s one comfort zone, where everyone pets one another’s back.

Sixth, it’s ridiculous to compare MSM and the bloggers. Contrary to what many bloggers like to think in their quest to become an elite blogger, MSM doesn’t consider bloggers a threat. Some don’t even know they exist. Forget MSM guys, how many people in India know about it. Even if it ever gains a critical mass like as in the US, it’s likely to be controlled by MSM conglomerates. The medium may change but the people who gather news and disseminate the news/opinions will remain the same. Don’t believe it? Try listing some of the finest blogs you read and find out the background of their owners/bloggers. Majority of them would be either journalists or people related to media. The problem with Indian bloggers is that they model themselves too much after the mature US blog scene, warts and all.

Seventh, I am a blogger as well as a MSM journalist. This is not about MSM vs Blogosphere. Nor this is my rant against bloggers (remember I am a blogger too). The story I did was about exposing a group of people with big time pretensions.

Eighth, these are my personal opinions and don’t represent my employers’ views.
Some more points: In any undercover operation, a reporter would never reveal his identity. It's silly to expect for a reporter to reveal his identity, as some bloggers scream, for that would defeat the very purpose of the exercise.
The DT story didn't carry my byline as Page 1 had another story of mine. It was not an attempt to hide my identity. The anonymity also clearly proves I was not after 15 mins fame.
As for the suggestion that the whole issue stemmed from a technology story, someone is grossly overestimating and flattering himself. I know about it post DT story after a comment referred to it.

Update: The herd mentality is confirmed, and I don't see any point in commenting further. I stand vindicated. Thanks.

DT story that appeared on 9th November, 2005
Blogged down?

Despite tall claims, the city’s blogosphere is still inhabited by few, as the recently held Delhi Blogger Meet revealed...

Despite all the noise about the coming of age of the blogging phenomenon in India, the active blogging community in India is a shockingly tiny group, comprising mostly of journalists and IT professionals. Their preoccupation nevertheless continues to be slamming and analysing a very wide variety of things in an attempt to display their intellectual might.
If anything was in dispute, the 3rd annual Delhi bloggers meet just proved how big (or small) is the Indian blogosphere. Just four bloggers attended it, counting the host. ‘‘It’s a flop,’’ concluded Tarun Pall, the host. ‘‘I have booked the entire section of the restaurant,’’ he added, pointing at the empty sofas reserved for an army of bloggers that he had expected. Luckily for him, Saket, owner of a blog tracker, turned up and gave company to the lonely host.
Like Tarun, half of the Indian bloggers are IT professionals, while three-fourths of them live in the metros, according to a survey. As a result, the focus of the Indian bloggers is fairly limited. Their favourite pastime remains MSM (blog speak for mainstream media) bashing, often without caring to provide substantiations and taking cover behind free speech platitude. As Sajan Venniyoor wrote in a media watchdog site, ‘‘If blogs are to be taken seriously as an alternative medium, they should measure up to the standards of accountability and reliability of the mainstream media that the bloggers so deplore. When the IT Act 2000 comes into force, bloggers will face bigger challenges.’’
Indian bloggers are quickly realising that there are legal hurdles ahead, so they are beginning to tread cautiously. ‘‘We are in the process of forming an association in Mumbai for the protection of our rights,’’ revealed 24-year-old Saket, who works as a recruiter.
The Indian blogosphere has a long way to go before it even comes near to achieving the influence of the American bloggers, whom they emulate. We are yet to see the Instapundit of India or an Andrew Sullivan. And this is not lost on them. ‘‘We are the elite bloggers of India,’’ announced Tarun, as Aanchal and Neha, who showed up later, nodded in agreement. No one posed the question, at least not yet: When can we have our own Dan Rather moment, where bloggers forced a prominent US journalist to resign by proving that his stories were false?


  • At 4:16 AM, Blogger natty said…

    Since comment moderation is enabled I guess my comment for Amity will never see the light here?

  • At 5:02 AM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    Your comment doesn't add up to anything on the subject of this post. This is a red herring. Amd most important to me, without fact checking, I don't want to comment or respond to this. I am not the right person too as I don't work for either of the two entities. You can blog about this, with pleasure.

  • At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Arvind Gautam said…

    Difference being -

    What you said (in your emotional turmoil over the meet being called "BLOGGER'S MEET") is now in print.

    What Tarun said (and is saying or will say - probably) was and is on a blog. Totally as he says - he can delete or remove it - but he's not serving it to the nation with their early morning cuppa.

    If you're taking on the responsibility of being a "journalist", atleast adopt the maturity of that level to not try and "show up" people who have the "audacity" to call their meeting as the "Delhi Blogger's Meet".

  • At 7:06 AM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    You got the information wrong. They are holding a court in the name of all Delhi based bloggers; it was not just a bloggers' meet. There is a lot of diffrence between the two terms.

  • At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why is it that you are attacking Wikipedia, rather than answering Saket's doubts about the accuracy of your story on splogs? Do you admit your story had inaccuracies?

  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    I am not attacking Wikipedia but just pointing out that Wikipedia can be sometimes be a peddler of substandard works, and should be used sparingly, especially when you want to debunk someone's work citing chunks from it. This was exactly what one gentleman did on his blog. Responsible and serious bloggers all over the world are beginning to realise that they should be accountable for what they and write if they want respect from MSM, or for that matter any reader. Just because you have some free cyber real estate does not mean you can spread lies, misinformation and expletives. As for the accuracy of my technology story, the waspost story (link given above) is my best testimony. Now don't say the guys at the wash post are bozos!

  • At 8:22 AM, Anonymous priya said…

    thank u for writing it down here. n well.......i guess it was right on ur part to say wat u felt. but, well.though i am not one of the regular bloggers..n i also write wat i feel. but, ur words there simply felt as if u were tryin to accuse everyone....or maybe i and some of the ppl saw it that way.but, it was nice to see ur side of the it made the picture quite clear. sorrie:)

  • At 8:34 AM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    All comments will be replied, if deserving, when I come back for work tomorrow noon. Leave your sharpest critiques, and thanks Priya for seeing reason...

  • At 12:19 AM, Blogger Ankur said…

    sir with ur experience in blogging and online journalism i was expecting u to turn on the RSS feed for ur blog...kindly do that so that i dont have to check ur blog for updates and get them automatically...

  • At 1:50 AM, Blogger wizardowozz said…

    Well i saw the article in DT and though i am not a part of Delhi Bloggers but i would like to just say that the article that appeared in DT seems to have constructed a wrong picture of the blogging community in India. I agree with you that the blogging movement in india is in its fledgling stage but with the articles like that who show bloggers in poor light might just discourage other people to actively voice there opinion and therefore the growth of such a movement might be curtailed. therefore there should be a sense of responsibility when presenting them on mass media. Though personally i feel that DT with its tabloid kind of structure is not the forum but since its read by a lot of the new generation the article and its contents seems very negative. Of course i dont wanna go into any sort of media bashing or turn this into an ugly war but for the fault of a few its very very unfair to label the whole community.

  • At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Responsible and serious bloggers all over the world are beginning to realise that they should be accountable for what they and write...

    But what about irresponsible DT Page 3 journos and the editors who publish them?

  • At 5:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As far as I know, bloggers involved in this fiasco have met their Waterloo, and thus stand discredited, NOT DT.

  • At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its rather funny that DT strives to set standards for bloggers when what they publish mostly consists of exaggerations and page 3 stuff anyhow!

  • At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ranjan, the story was incredulous to say the least but i am not a fan of delhi times, nor i am a judge for anyone's calibre.
    what i couldn't understand was why you had to go 'undercover' for something as inconsequential as a bunch of bloggers meeting up in delhi. you wrote to us too (here) last month without any attempt to hide your identity. why this, then? makes no sense, really.
    - harneet

  • At 4:37 AM, Anonymous Manish said…

    I am with you Ranjan. Some "usuals" linking to each other in the manner of you link-to-mine-I-will-to-your-blog does not undo the lies of the nobodies, who were embarrased by their own claims of being the elite bloggers, when exposed. I am a Delhi blogger. I never knew about the meet. Who the fuck are they to organise it? The guys at Mumbai has done the good thing in renaming the Mumbai Bloggers meet to some localised one. Your DT story has made a diffrence to the self-style owners of the blogosphere. Thanks Ranjan.

  • At 9:47 AM, Anonymous newanon said…

    You went to the meet as a blogger so you should have published your view in your blog but you chose the newspaper. Thus you misused your position. If you published your opinion in your blog then even if I don’t agree with your opinion I wouldn’t think you to be an opportunist.

    I have another point. You complained about the naming of the meet. One has to start from somewhere. Couple of my friends started an alumni association of “-------”(for obvious reason I am not writing the name) with only a very few people (5 to be precise). After good 6 years now it has a membership base of 700!! Nobody complained that why was it called an association when they could only talk about 5 members. Don’t you know that it takes time and effort to build up anything? What is wrong with you? If you wrote it in DT because you have to make a living then please don’t lecture, moralize and belittle others. Also don’t feel threatened by them ( I got that feeling by reading your article and then your blog).

    I really like the name of Greatbong’s article relating to your article in DT and all the logical explanations given by Greatbong.

  • At 9:26 PM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    My personal views refer to the contents of this blog only, not those in the DT story.

  • At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Varun said…

    @Manish: What is the address of your blog?

    Btw the guys at Mumbai have not renamed it to 'some localised one'. In fact they have done the exact opposite and renamed it to include other areas near Mumbai such as Thane.

  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Venu said…

    Keep up the good work. It's shameful that these 'elite bloggers' have resorted to attacking you personally now.

  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Max said…

    Tsunami in tea-cup? Bloggers - take a chill pill.

    >>If you're taking on the responsibility of being a "journalist", atleast adopt the maturity of that level to not try and "show up" people who have the "audacity" to call their meeting as the "Delhi Blogger's Meet".

    Ranjan's prefectly with his rights and has breached no journalistic ethics by trying to get into the meet and get the scoop. Any journalists worth his salt would have done it. Those ranting about it could talk on of your buddy wanna-be-journalists Dilip Dork at dcubed about this and check out.

    Also, if this is some sort of secret I-scratch-your-back-n-you-scratch-my-back cabal, please list it as so and don't put out an open invite.

    Tarun Pall's rants about dismember private parts of Ranjan shows the level of maturity these silly bloggers have. And as personal vendatta to post Ranjan's photo as if to putting a bounty on his head just goes to show the size of his own balls.

    I personally detest ToI and DT for other things, but story here seems to be a incestous cabal of gagglers who's crying foul for a reporter who's merely doing his job and hasn't reported anything that's not out of line.

    These days anyone who can type call himself a blogger/journalists. Get a life you blogger-buggers and learn to live with a bit of critisism. After all you guys do the same to MSM day-in-out everyday, right?

    Rajan: Though you might intended something else, inadvertently you've made a breakthrough by exposing a shoal of minnows who have nothing more than a have-fingers-will-type-for-buddy agenda.
    Thank you for that.

    Good luck on your future endevours. Look forward to learning more about meets by "elite bloggers" and their friends.


  • At 4:14 AM, Anonymous someone said…

    you remind me of IIPM when you allow only those comments that support you. you may fool readers of this blog by blocking out unfavourable comments. but i hope as a young man you are not fooling yourself about your amateurishness.

  • At 5:26 AM, Blogger BloggerWatch said…

    Dear Sir,
    I have the right to block incoherent arguments laced with expletives that don't serve any purpsose other than highlighting the frustration of the commentator. If that is amateurish, it's ok with me. No crocodile tears for me please.

  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Watch out for the Blog mafia!

  • At 2:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this is funny.
    well atleast i get news from blogs which is much more than what i can say from the front pages of the tabloids of today.


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