-Yam Bahadur Dura
A Nepali proverb strikes my mind: ‘man ko baha katai nakaha.’ This can be loosely translated as ‘don’t express what you feel.’ I disagree with this proverb. The basic reason behind this is that it violates people’s right to opinion and expression, which is considered as foundation of all rights. For this reason, I stand against this proverb. Since we are in a democratic society, the essence of the aforesaid proverb seems to be dangerously misleading. Furthermore, every human being is a freedom lover. Any freedom lover cannot compromise with opinion and expression, which are lifeblood of life.
These days, blogging has become a powerful tool for opinion and expression. Unlike conventional media outlets like newspapers and broadcast media, it doesn’t impose any censorship on the content developers. Instead, it facilitates people to express their views freely without any kind of censorship. A blogger himself or herself is the sole authority of the content. It is no other than a respective blogger who can impose censorship on the content if he or she likes to. This has given immense freedom, which is why people love blogging.
Andrew Michael Sullivan (born August 1963) is a British author, editor, and blogger. He is being quoted on ‘IncomeDiary’ website (visited on July 1, 2016) about the importance of blog. His quotation goes like this, ‘A blog allows you to write and publish anything, from anywhere, and have it be immediately available to billions of people all around the world’. His quotation is simple but powerful, and gives the crux of blogging.
The word ‘blog’ is made of two words ‘web’ and ’log’. The contracted form of these words is ‘blog’, which simply is an online log or diary. The act of keeping online diary is ‘blogging’. Those who do ‘blogging’ are known as ‘bloggers’.
A blog is not just an online diary. It’s a big universe of knowledge, ideas, thoughts and feelings. A wide variety of thematic blogs are available on the web, which includes everything under the sun. However, cuisine, travel, beauty, lifestyle, gossip, fashion, music, health, etc. are the most popular themes for blogging in the present day world.
Besides these themes, there are lots of themes like blogging itself, literature, history, culture, and so on. The list blog themes goes on and on. There are lots of blogs that teach foreign languages including English. ‘Rosetta Stone’ is a UK based language blog that teaches Spanish, French, German, English and Italian. The slogan of this site is also very attention-grabbing. It reads, ‘We’re building a world in which everyone can speak, read, and write with confidence.’
The history of blogging is relatively short. Historical records say that Justin Hall (born December 1974), an American journalist, is the first blogger. He created a blog ‘Links.net’ in 1994. He was a Swarthmore College student at that time. According to Cameron Chapman, an American filmmaker and blogger, blogs were reaching the mainstream by the mid-2000s. Her observation is that by 2000s there experienced an exponential growth in blogging. Now blogs are rampant in the blogosphere.
The history of blogging in Nepal is even shorter. Nepali bloggers seem to be entered blogosphere around the time of 1999. Many analysts say that blogging in Nepal gathered momentum after king Gyanendra’s political step on February 1, 2005. In his online article, Tilak Pathak, a journalist and researcher, has shared his experience on how Nepali bloggers became united and started raising voices against the autocratic rule. Ujjwal Acharya (nepalivoices.com), DeepakAdhikari (nepalmonitor.com), Umesh Shrestha (mysansar.com) and Dinesh Wagle are pioneer bloggers in Nepal. Now, we can see hundreds of young and energetic bloggers at the scene.
With the passage of time, new dimensions have been added on blogosphere. Nowadays video blogging is on the rise. Those who do video blogging (vlogging) are known vloggers. They are also called You Tubers as well. It can cater multimedia (audio, video and text) content to its audiences.
Likewise, microblogging is also gaining in popularity. Microblogging sites like Twitter, Tumblr, etc. have given ample opportunities to millions of users to express their views in an instant and smart way. Blogging through mobile device is another development in this sphere. Blogging through mobile device is called ‘moblogging’, which has been helping speed up blogging. On the other hand, social media and social networking sites have magnified blogging.
A blog is digital publication that doesn’t need any pen, paper and printing press to publish any document. This is an important platform to demonstration one’s talents to the outside world. Like traditional (hard copy) publication, a well-choreographed digital publication (blog) leaves far-reaching impacts on its audiences.
Thousands of people across the world have been able to explore their literary, journalistic and other talents through blogging, which has made them stars. Their respective fans and followers remain desperately waited to read their new blog postings. Successful bloggers have been earning both name and fame.
Gina Trapani (born September 1975), an American technology blogger, is one among the highest earning bloggers. ‘The Richest’ website has portrayed her among top-ten bloggers (visited on June 2, 2016). She earns $110,000 per month. She is founder of the popular blog ‘Lifehacker’. Gina Trapani is just an example. There are many more other bright people in the world who have come into spotlight due to blogging.
Mitch Joel (born May 1971), a Canadian music journalist, has written about importance of blogging on his blog ‘Six Pixels of Separation’. He says that search engines love blog. This means a blog content is searchable on the web. He concludes, ‘Whatever you blog about becomes part of our global and collective history.’
People’s presence on the virtual world of the web matters much these days. Online presence is extremely important especially for those who are in career building age. Well-written articles and other creations on the web can add an extra value in a person’s life. This matters much when a candidate is being searched on the web by those who are willing to offer them job and other opportunities.
There is no room for anarchy on the blogosphere. Even though a blogger is free to write whatever he or she likes, not everything cannot be shared on the blog. Nobody can go like an unbridled horse. It’s a blogger responsibility to abide by universal norms of human values. No blogger should forget ethical values while blogging. A blogger should not post such a content that hampers the society and puts a blogger’s reputation at stake.
In his book entitled ‘The Net for Journalists’, Martin Hunckerby, a renowned British journalist, has suggested staying far away from the statements that plunge a blogger into embarrassment in future. He writes, ‘If you go ahead under your name, bear in mind that will likely stay out there, somewhere – so you need more restrain than the average blogger. Avoid saying anything which could damage your future reputation’ (P. 77).
In some cases, blogging comes with a cost. Bloggers are not safe from intruders. They have been paying costs for blogging. They are being manhandled, threatened, arrested, jailed, tortured and even killed in different parts of the world. Bangladesh has become one of the bad examples in this regard. According to ‘Library of Congress’ website, four bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh since February 2015 (visited on June 1, 2016).
Both state and non-state forces have exercised their iron hands exercised on bloggers. Asia seems a black spot for bloggers. A report produced by ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ), a New York based press freedom related organization, says that Burma, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Tunisia, and Vietnam have been keeping a close eye on bloggers and imposed restrictions.
Despite these life-threatening hurdles, bloggers have been continuing their journey. By the way, continuity is one of the important driving force in blogging. A good blogger must be a good time manager led by a strong sense of self disciple and a higher level of commitment. His or her blogging should be supported by meticulous research and hairsplitting analysis. The whole bunch of aforesaid efforts helps a blogger reach a desired destination.
Those who have not started blogging can start now. It’s entirely up to us whether to explore or not immense of opportunities offered by the blogosphere. It is never late to start a good work. Let’s do a small thing in the blogosphere with a difference that can bring us a good fortune. Our small efforts can yield opportunities for us. Vernor Venge (born October 1944), a retired American professor’s statement, seems relevant in this regard. He once said, ‘Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.’
[Courtesy: Sweta Shardul, a yearly souvenir of Madam Bhandari Memorial College, Vol. XIII-2016 (2073 VS), Pp. 82-85, Graphics : Google]