So the buggers have turned even your thought process into a commodity. A thought crosses your mind, you write it down, people read it and comment, and now suddenly, the process is being measured in virtual money. Virtual friends, virtual girlfriend, virtual sex, and now virtual money. So I have nearly 9,597.18 dollars in the virtual bank. That is about Rs 4.5 lakh! What will that get me?
Ah, a lot. A virtual holiday in Paris. A virtual collection of Mont Blanc fountain pens. A virtual car. In other words I will be in Paris but still won't be in Paris. I will be writing with a Mont Blanc but nothing to show on the paper. I will be driving a car but holding only an imaginary steering and sitting on an imaginary seat -- in which case I would fall on my butt and get real. Yes, fuck virtual. Get real.
And the reality is the ugliness of consumerism, which stands on the principle that everything can be sold as long as you market it well. Personally, I have no objection to this principle as long as it is confined to things material -- such as food and clothes and household stuff. You can sell Pepsi or Coke: if people like the drink, they will drink it. You can sell underwear: if people find them to be durable and not find holes in them within weeks, they will buy it. If they find holes, they will discard your product, no matter how sexy the model who peddles it.
I don't think so. The traffic is hardly an indicator of the quality, though it might be an indicator of how active you are as a blogger, which means 1. You write a post, 2. You get comments, 3. You dutifully reply to those comments, thanking them and all, 4. Having read those comments, you go to the commentators' blogs and leave comments on their latest post -- if not out of appreciation, but at least out of obligation, in return for their favour, 5. Go to the blogs of people who have already commented on the recent posts of your commentators and leave a comment their latest posts -- if not in genuine appreciation, at least in the hope of attracting them to your blog.
But the truly heartfelt posts usually have -- sadly, but very often -- "0 comments". The blogger -- be it man or a woman -- pours his or her heart out, but he or she is totally unaware of those five steps to achieving the celebrity status in blogdom. Maybe he or she is aware, but does not want to go through it. For people like them, the blog is an utterly personal space not meant to be sold: if readers come, fine; but they are not going to go out of their way to attract commentators. I can, off-hand, name at least half-a-dozen bloggers who write mind-blowing stuff but who have never bothered about who reads them or who comments.
But soon I learned the rules of the game. I followed the five-point something. Moreover, the journalist inside me told me: "You always write for the reader. So write well, and write in a manner they understand." It began to work. And then I decided to go the whole hog. I registered with Indian Bloggers and Blogstreet and a few others (whose buttons I lost because of the template change). I take Indian Bloggers rather seriously: till recently, it ranked me among the top 15. Today, if you scroll down, you will notice my position is no. 31. (It could be 32, or no. 30, depending on the unique hits on my blog). Nothing wrong in the ranking as long as you take it playfully, but when it becomes inversely proportional to your blood pressure levels, it is a cause for alarm.