On Bloggers' Meets, Collablogs and more...


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

It was one of the DBM-II's meets that a reporter from TOI attended
and wrote about in today's city supplement. Though the article doesn't mention a name, he has been identified as James by Tarun Pall, the host. The fallacies in the article are fairly obvious and ridiculous:

"
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 hosts."

The reporter apparently did no homework: DBM-I had been covered by both TOI (here) and HT (here) in the past. The then editor of Indiatimes, another Indiatimes employee and a TOI reporter had even attended one of the get-togethers at CCD in CP. And this wasn't "the 3rd Annual Delhi bloggers meet". Tarun Pall was also misquoted as claiming that those who attended are "the elite bloggers of India." You may read his response here. His post is cuss-ridden and gets a PG rating.

Note: Codelust talks about it
here.

Blog meets or Bloggers' meets, rather, the "Official" Bloggers' meets in Delhi are organised by two different groups.

This one (referred to as DBM-I) was first to it, and according to the blog they maintain, the first meet was held on the 13th of January, 2004. They also run a mailing list on Yahoo!, which (in my opinion) is mostly inane. There have been instances of infighting and some mails have been so puerile that I prefer to stay at least an arms-length away, though I do log in every now and then to poke fun. (You have no idea of how much a fan-mail a timely *Yawn* can generate!)

I have met some really interesting people at the DBM's. My first was on 19th of June 2004. 21 people attended and we had a lot of fun, largely due to alcohol and a provocative Q&A session. Since then, things there have been in gradual decline and like me, some of my friends have now decided to read, but not post.

Another group (DBM-II) was started a few months ago by Vulturo of Desipundit and Shivam Vij of Zest. The group seems (relatively) interesting and was intriguingly tagged Mumbai-style. My grouse against them is that the scheduling of the bloggers' meets is ad-hoc (one was overnight), and somehow the information never gets around. I always learn about their get-togethers after they take place. Put up a subscription mailer guys, unless you're selective.

The ownership of the name "Delhi Bloggers Meet" was a bone (Woof!) of contention between the DBM-II and some members of DBM-I, but after a few unpleasant exchanges, they both decided to be indifferent to each other. I couldn't care less, either. A bloggers meet had been excuse to meet or make new friends, or just talk about books, writing, blogging, the economy, advertising, the media...things that I used to blog about, and things that friends in college didn't seem up to discussing.

I think bloggers, bloggers groups and blogs in general have started taking blogging too seriously. I've seen agendas being set for bloggers meets, and then being completely ignored; why have agendas in the first place? Some people (self included) have begun to think twice before posting opinions that might go against popular (blogger) opinion. Herd mentality will kill the self-monitoring nature of blogging.

It's because bloggers have become activists and are now in the spotlight, that they're in a position to stake a claim to fame. Some collablogs will find themselves in a position where they can take advantage of situations, and of battles between Bloggers and MSM or companies. When it becomes a business, you lose sight of the original cause.

Addendum (11th Nov): Legal notices can also be just "formal threats" and the party sending the notice can robbed of an escape route if the issue becomes big and their bluff is called. While they deserve it, this also means that those who were issued the notice are doomed to doing the rounds of courts since cases in India can be stretched indefinitely.
Sometimes, neither party is to blame for popularising the issue. Not that I'm sure that this has happened, though.

In case you didn't realise it, "Blog Trackers" can be selective too. This issue has reached bandwagon proportions, and unless there's a development that your regular blog trackers are ignoring, or I find that I disagree with a new direction that the herd seems to be taking (or is being taken in) - there shall be no further updates. Most opinions being tracked, however, seem monochromatic and hence redundant.

Please note:
1. If you're mentioned and you have a problem with it, let me know. It is not my intention to malign.
2. There's more to this post than just DBM-I vs DBM-II. Read between the lines. Read the last few paragraphs. Further comments on DBM-I vs DBM-II may please be mailed to those whom you want to respond to. Or you have your blogs. I don't like moderation, but I'm not going to shy away from it.

Updates:
1. The DT journalist (allegedly, Ranjan Yumnam) has posted his opinion and the article here. Whether he is the reporter in question is as yet unconfirmed. I could just as easily start an anonymous blog and defend the story.
2. The following people have since posted about the incident:Saket, Shivam, River, Mandar. Also up on Desi Pundit. No use. Everybody's doin it.
3. Interesting: A Ranjan Yumnam had also contacted DBM-I, but received no response from them. Harneet, who didn't respond, tells all in "stink operation". The journalist can't claim to be ignorant of the existence of the other group. Not that he does, though.


Tags:
23 Comments:
Blogger harneet said...

"The ownership of the tag "Delhi Bloggers Meet" was a bone (Woof!) of contention between the two groups.."

i have objection to this. why are you blaming the whole group here?

November 09, 2005 10:27 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Point taken: you're right. The entire group didn't object. Quite a few (self included) didn't give a damn. I've made changes.

November 09, 2005 10:38 AM  
Blogger Straight Curves said...

I think bloggers, bloggers groups and blogs in general have started taking blogging too seriously.

couldn't agree more here

November 09, 2005 11:48 AM  
Blogger shyam said...

The duo who had attended the CCD meet was not from ToI or DT for that matter. It was the then editor of Indiatimes and another chap from the same place. Though they belong to the same stable, the last one is a different entity from the other two.

November 09, 2005 11:48 AM  
Blogger shyam said...

Whoops, I forgot to add that I agree with all the points made, nice post :)

November 09, 2005 11:51 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Smits: That's exactly why this blog has, so far, not been issue based. I'm sure as hell not going to let it become serious.

Quick! Gimme a silly question to answer.

Codey: There were three of 'em: two guys and a girl. VK was one. Another was a chap who called himself an odd-jobs man at Indiatimes. The third, P, said she's a reporter. Memory refreshed, I shall edit.

Thanks. :)

November 09, 2005 9:33 PM  
Blogger Ankur said...

the only thing that i see is that the DBM-2 does not care to inform anyone from the DBM-1 grp abt the bloggers meet,,,i think they know that atleast 100 ppl are members of the yahoogrp from del..a mail to the grp/moderator might have lead to greater attendene there....whats the point of a meet when u dont want to inform the people whose meet it is to be supposedly...Sorry to sound biased i see a sense of insecurity and some ego hassles with the DBM-2 grp.

November 10, 2005 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Sanjukta said...

@Ankur, forget it yaar...every body (self not included)is all 'good good' 'happy happy' in this 'sweet sweet' close knit family of delhi bloggers...don't say sorry you are biased, Just say sorry you are passionate...
@Nikhil,"Since then, things there have been in gradual decline"...ever wondered why?
"some of my friends have now decided to read, but not post"...the point?

November 10, 2005 1:28 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Ankur: If I hadn't logged on to the DBM-I list once a fortnight, or if Harneet hadn't informed me of the get-together, I would have missed the last DBM-I meet. I’m glad I went, though.

To paraphrase Maugham - Let's not make issues of situations: I think Vulturo and Shivam post about the meets on their respective blogs and invite everyone. I suggest you can track their blogs for updates. Do inform me about the next meet. Unless there’s a concert or a read-meet, I just might go.

I really don’t want to belong to either group, if you know what I’m saying. No groupism. It’s a f’in eerie co-incidence that winamp just randomly switched to Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Love the lead guitaring in this song...

November 10, 2005 1:44 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Samyukta: Though implicitly, the post answers both your questions.

November 10, 2005 2:08 AM  
Blogger Hum do Harami do said...

sheeesh! your biggest problem Nix is your um reluctance to give offence. LEARN!kvltblog.blogspot.com

November 10, 2005 3:21 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

HDHD: How many times have I told you to f'off?

Hmm...I guess you're right. *Chuckles*

November 10, 2005 3:43 AM  
Blogger Hum do Harami do said...

Well....not even once. And i've deserved being told that at least 20 times :p

November 10, 2005 11:39 PM  
Blogger Ankur said...

nikhil pondering over ur post,,i got 2 more questions in my mind-

1. what is the objective of DBM2 grp..i mean what was the bone of contention with DBM1 to start the DBM2 grp?

2.And why does a timely yawn evoke a fan following??--Maybe coz its the easist thing to do,,i can imagine people yawning at the idea of the bulb by edison,,when he was trying different elements for the filament..

November 11, 2005 1:18 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Hi Ankur,

I'm staying away from the DBM-I vs DBM-II issue; there's much more to this post than just that. As your friend implied, and she was right - I'm not passionate about either. That doesn't mean that dislike people in either group.

Also please read between the lines. There are two ways to get my point across: straight talk or satire. I tried satire for months and it didn't work. So here's some straight talk to get you thinking.

Mail nixxinATgmailDOTcom or gimme a call. I didn't mean to upset you, man. Chill.

November 11, 2005 1:34 AM  
Blogger shaun said...

what do i say... The meets are always announced on Saket and my blog, on Desipundit's and TTG's. If you don't read us what can I do? We'd really like to have Harneet, you and others attending our meet but why do we HAVE to post about it on some mailing list or a doingdelhi blog? And if bloggers in delhi meet, would we call it Jhumritallaya Bloggers Meet? As for Bombay style, I have explained that before, but you clearly don't consider my blog worth reading, which is fine I suppose.

November 11, 2005 4:25 AM  
Blogger shaun said...

Oh yes, and I will definitely land up for one of your meets one of these days :)

November 11, 2005 4:27 AM  
Anonymous Vulturo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 11, 2005 8:17 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

Saket: Your post was for Ankur and Sanyukta. Please mail them directly. I have a copy in my mailbox in case you need it. I don't like moderation, but I can't have this turning into a DBM-I vs DBM-II battleground. The called the two DBM-I and DBM-II to avoid confusion in the post.

Shivam: You seem to imply that I belong to DBM-I: I don't. I got when I feel like, I don't when I don't. It's like any other party.

Secondly: I'm not accusing you of anything, and I missed the bloggers meets because I didn't check your or Saket's blogs. I don't read most newsy blogs. I would, however, like to meet you guys. Gimme a call the next time you're at Sarai.

Also, please don't make assumptions: I've not criticised the fact that you called it Bombaystyle or Mumbaistyle.

November 11, 2005 10:11 AM  
Blogger harneet said...

dude, i don't think you should've deleted saket's comment. if that goes, the comments by the mailing list members should also go because they started it all over again. but then, wasn't it natural that this would come up once you've written about both and the 'differences' we've had?

:-)..

still, i think a simple message requesting people to not post on that subject, anymore, should've been enough.

November 11, 2005 10:31 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

You're right. Saket - I apologise.

I reiterate: Any more comments on DBM-I vs DBM-II will be deleted.

This is what had been written by Vulturo:

I didn't think I wanted to get any more involved with this mindless business this goes out anyway to Ankur (and implicitly to Sanjukta):

1. what is the objective of DBM2 grp..i mean what was the bone of contention with DBM1 to start the DBM2 grp?

Because WE CAN.

Don't you, STILL get it? There is something like individual freedom, and if you don't like the concept, I'm really sorry for wasting my time commenting.

And sorry, we do not call ourselves "DBM2" or anything. We like to call the meets we hold simply Delhi Bloggers Meets.

Why?
1. Because they are held in Delhi
2. They have Bloggers in them
3. They are meets

Do your math.

I trust that no one misconstrues, that if certain bloggers meet up in Delhi it doesn't necessarily mean that they 'officially represent' the Delhi blogosphere (or anyone else for that matter, apart from representing themselves individually)

November 11, 2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

Nikhil, you make some very valid points here, and I've discussed the herd mentality etc on email with you too. But while it' s true that groupism in the blogosphere has reached depressing proportions (which I suppose happens in every field eventually), in essence bloggers ARE a disparate bunch of people. Clubbing them together or making any kind of generalist statement about them (even "bloggers...have started taking blogging too seriously") causes problems. I think one has to recognise that by its very nature the blogosphere will include people who take blogging seriously (like I do, incidentally - often more than my regular job!) as well as those who don't (In the same way as it will include rabid left-wingers and rabid right-wingers AND self-righteous fence-straddlers).

More on this later - will calll you sometime once I'm back.

November 12, 2005 2:57 AM  
Blogger Nikhil Pahwa said...

It's becoming more and more political in nature, Jai. This "incident" was nothing, and as we speak, has become (or been made into) an "issue".

I know we'd decided to discuss this after you return, but I felt the need to say something; I shouldn't have generalised, though.

Anyway, we'll talk once you're back and have time. Have fun. Cheers

November 12, 2005 4:34 AM  

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