In spite of the last post, I’m a bit ambivalent about Vir Sanghvi’s column.

On one hand, I am in complete agreement with the rebuttals that I have read – Lekhni, Amit, Rohit. Rational and well articulated.

And yet, over the years, that’s almost 7 of them, I can confidently say that blogger cliques have always been around. They may not have been formed with that intention, but over a time frame, many have developed that way, and this is a phenomenon I see on twitter too, where ‘followers’ tends to be taken literally. Will I name any? No, simply because they are cliques, and these days, cliques to mobs is a single click conversion. Heh.

Simplistically put, many news channels and newspapers started out as a means of expression. Those who produced good content realised that many were paying attention to what they had to say. They looked around and noticed that there were others of their kind too. Mutual acknowledgment was a bit difficult because of business considerations, but they still stuck together, broadly, in terms of stances towards issues. The adoption of the medium rose, bringing new audiences. Somewhere, the quality of content became iffy. Sometimes because it had become a business, and sometimes because the content creators lost objectivity and started dictating norms, because they believed their audience was THE only audience that mattered. Of course they had measurement tools. Heh. (Just a small detour to say that even media planners trash the TAM and IRS/NRS methodology, yes, go on, take a poll)

And then the web happened, and became a force to be reckoned with. It brought with it, blogs, which took less than 5 minutes to create. Some of the creators spent exactly that much of time. But others stuck on. Time and effort brought them recognition, and even some fame. They looked around, saw others of their kind. There were hardly any business consideration, linking to each other became the norm. The audience was being built all this while, and unacknowledged, a herd mentality too. Personal branding crept in. In many cases, the quality of content might have dropped with time – rehashed content using previously successful templates, link-baits, these are just online manifestations of things we see in newspapers and television. But though the posts were not as funny as they used to be or not well thought out, the audience stuck on, it was after all, a cool community to be in. There’s nothing wrong with it, its human nature to seek out kindred souls. The unfortunate part is the increasing intolerance for contra-views among many bloggers. You can see enough comment wars if you look around. At some point, perspectives became dogmas.

And then came twitter, and microbloggers. It became all the more easier – from the simple RT to #followfriday and lists, there are multiple tools available, to build audiences, and cliques. And as I’ve written before, we on Twitter are famous for mobs. :)

So,  my point is Mr. Sanghvi, relax. We’ve seen it all before, its only the medium that has changed. The people remain. This too shall give way to something else. If all goes according to the way it has before, in a few years, you can chuckle over post like yours by some blogger, who thinks someone in what is then the new media has been judgmental to a senior blogger. Heh.

Meanwhile, the good part is, the web makes content production and distribution very easy, so you can ignore people if you personally think they’ve ‘lost it’. You will always find a contra-voice, it might be brow beaten sometimes, but it exists.

until next time, sanguine 😉