On Blogging…

The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz. He broke the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his weblog in April or May of 1999. “Blog” was accepted as a noun (weblog shortened) and as a verb (“to blog,” meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”). [Wikipedia]

If somebody had asked me what a blog was a few years back, I would have just stared or would have asked whether it was some trick question. Blog, never heard of it…

I started reading blogs during the first quarter of 2000 and the first blog that I read was that of Joel Spolsky. It was the only blog that I read for quite sometime and the posts were too few and far between—may be one or two in a month. Then through that blog, I came across many other blogs, all of which were related to the software profession.

In the years that followed, I used to read the many blogs that were related to the software profession but never thought of writing one. I was busy writing books and didn’t have the time to start another hobby. I used to write only textbooks and professional reference books.

Technical writing is very different from creative writing. Creative writing is meant to entertain while technical writing is meant to inform. In technical writing the key mantras are keep the writing short and simple, use small words, keep sentences and paragraphs short, avoid flashy words and sentence construction, sacrifice style and flamboyance for clarity, etc. If a sentence is a little longer or if it contains a difficult word, the copyeditors will ask the authors to rewrite the sentence for clarity. So after writing a few technical books one will automatically avoid the flashy sentences, gorgeous words and flamboyant wordplay.

When I was in the college and while I was the editor of the company newsletter at Pond’s, I used to write articles—articles in flowery language, using esoteric words, in flamboyant style and in sentences that would have more than 30-40 words on an average. I used to take a sadistic glee in writing sentences similar to the following one:

“Prime Minister, I must protest in the strongest possible terms my profound opposition to a newly instituted practice which imposes severe and intolerable restrictions upon the ingress and egress of senior members of the hierarchy and which will, in all probability, should the current deplorable innovation be perpetuated, precipitate a constriction of the channels of communication, and culminate in a condition of organizational atrophy and administrative paralysis which will render effectively impossible the coherent and coordinated discharge of the functions of government within Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”The Complete Yes Prime Minister by Jonathan Lyn & Antony Jay

But in 2005, I was asked to write an article for a magazine. But when I started writing, to my horror, I realized that, I couldn’t write as I used to. It took great effort to write a decent sentence with some luxuriant words. I couldn’t effortlessly crank up 30-40 word sentences in the unrestrained and resplendent style as I used to do in the early 1990s. I had lost the touch.

After I started writing the books, I had curbed my instincts, my flair and flamboyance for the sake of clarity and simplicity. I am not saying that clarity and simplicity are unimportant. They definitely are. But my vocabulary had gone; I never used a fancy word. My sentences were short and simple. Whatever I wrote used to come under 7 in the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (indicating that it could be easily understood by an average student in 7th grade). While I was glad that I could write like that, I was alarmed at my inability to write something more stylish and flamboyant. So I thought of starting to write for my pleasure, just to satisfy me.

It was then, I thought of starting a blog. First I thought of creating an account with Blogger, but rejected the idea as the control that I would have will be limited. So I searched the Web and found WordPress— a wonderful blogging software. And it was free!

Since I had a website and all the system requirements to install WordPress, I installed it and started blogging. I wrote and posted my first blog entry on the 4th of July 2005. I got a comment for my third post—When I remember my favorite things… The person who made the comment was Silverine. I started reading the posts by Silverine and through her site went to various other blogs. But I refrained from posting a comment. On 2nd August, 2005, I posted a comment on Silverine’s blog for the post Miss Communication. The same day, there was a comment on my blog by Silverine. While she was all praise for the post she chided me for not configuring my blogger userid correctly. The exact words were “…btw your comments on my post don’t lead to this blog. Pls check your links…” Not to offend a well-wisher I immediately corrected the link. That was the beginning of a very good friendship.

During the past 8 months, I have come across many amazing blogs and bloggers. These magnificent men and women and their blogs have enthralled me, fascinated me and entertained me. Their posts have evoked myriad of emotions—they have touched me, moved me, made be angry, and made me think. Some have brought a smile to my face, some have made me laugh, few others had me rolling on the floor with laughter (figuratively), and some have made my day many a day.

I am amazed by the talent and creativity of my friends in the blogosphere—the simple, short and down-to-earth poems, anecdotes, and stories by James, the rare insights of Paresh, the creativity, imagination and wizardry of words of Silverine, the seamless integration of prose, poetry, philosophy and photography by Mind Curry, the rollicking and funny posts (with sprinklings of Spanish and Mexican) by Geo (where more action happens in the comments section), the writing that flows like gentle river (with strong philosophical undercurrents) by Anu, the mastery of the art of writing and clever wordplay by the insane but harmless -poison-, the flamboyant and dashing writings by Anand, the informative posts by Chackochen, the youthful exuberance of Venus, the beautiful ramblings of Thanu, the excellent pictures and words by Suji, the heartwarming posts by Quills, the amazing stories by Sarah, the delightful words and images by Kesi, the clear, crisp and concise posts by Dewaker, the awesome language of Ganja Turtle, the daily accounts of Anita, the inimitable writings of Deepa, the mellifluous music provided by Jo, the excellent posts and photos by Maya, the ‘methodical madness’ by Abhi, the frustrations of Dhanush and many, many more.

Then there are the tags. Tags are sort of confessions where people tell others what they are, what they like, what they dislike and so on. To paraphrase James Hacker, it is a mechanism whereby a lot of people get to know a lot of things about a lot of other people.

Now, I have more friends on the cyberspace than in the physical world. Out of my numerous blog pals, I have met only one person in person. I am glad that I started blogging as it has helped me in interacting with some of best and brilliant minds. I am glad that I have been accepted as a friend and I truly relish the friendship and camaraderie.

From my experience, there is only one downside to blogging—it is addictive. During the initial days, I used to spend the entire day blogging and blog hopping. I used to spend hours doing that and soon I was spending more time on blogs (reading, writing and commenting) than working. Now I have allocated a specific time for blog and blog related activities—one hour a day.


  1. Alexis Leon said,

    May 13, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Suji: Thanks. Feeling a lot better now.

    Geo: Yes 50!. I am as surprised as you are 🙂

  2. chekku said,

    May 9, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Should say yours is one of my fav blogs..although a silent reader with few comments…It is always great pleasure reading your blogs