November 26, 2005

The power of the collective conscious

Continuing the series “Hum Blogistani!" we present the fourth article of the series where Chandrachoodan dwells upon the power of blogging, its ability: to take-up causes and follow them up to the hilt.

Chennai based copywriter Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan has been a well-known signature in the Indiblogging community. His posts almost always carry a tint of wit and humour. After blogging incessantly for about 2 years, Chandroo recently pulled the plug and bid-adieu to blogging, which he subtly hints has been “a childish attempt to be popular". But we sincerely hope he would be back.

Hum Blogistani!Long ago, so long ago, there lived a great person. Herman Ebbinghaus. Or not so great. I ain't debating that. Nevertheless, this person did exist. And he did do something in life. What, you might ask. Well, he came up with some thing called the Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting. Big, big words. Very simple thought. No matter what the subject matter is, a given piece of learning is forgotten by more than half its audience in one hour.

Remember this very carefully. In exactly one hour, I will give you folks a surprise test. And we'll prove Herr Ebbinghaus wrong.
That, folks, is the subject of this rather rambling piece. That blogs defeat the Ebbinghaus Theory. A blog, by its very nature, tends to keep issues and learning fresh in the mind of its readers, and by extension the society.

Back in 2003, when I began my own blog, the issues mostly discussed on blogosphere were to do with Congress, BJP's succession plans, politics, scams, Iraq, corruption, death penalty, and bad jokes and PJs. In 2005, we, the blogosphere, are still discussing Congress, BJP and its leaders, politics, scams, corruption and PJs which kill more people than the death penalty. And that can only mean one thing. That we bloggers, rarely, if ever, forget some thing of importance. Or even something trivial.
The reasons for that are many. One; is the bloggers themselves. We all blog or write for we are passionate about it and not because we are paid to do so. Which means, we will only write what we strongly believe in. And where there's belief, there's conviction. Which ensures that the subject we write about don't die a quick death. Second, is the nature of the web and the way blogs are interlinked. Ravikiran Rao has the answer. To quote him,
The blogosphere through its technology and culture gives me a way to find good blogs. The technology part consists of the hyperlink, permanent archives and permalinks. The culture part is the bloggers' bewildering habit of talking about each other, criticising one another and building on one another's posts. The technology and culture support each other. One would not have been possible without the other. Because good blogs link to each other, even ones they disagree with, I have but to find one decent blog and it tends to open the door to a great number of other good blogs for me.

Which, translated to every day English, means that we are an incestuous bunch of people and will keep picking on everybody's thoughts. Which tells you why we hardly, if ever, forget an issue. Take the recent IIPM issue. Over 4-5 months passed since the original JAM story came out, but one blogger didn't forget the issue. Gaurav took up the thread on his own blog. And got slapped with a ridiculous case. Rashmi was libeled. But the blogosphere retaliated. It's been close to two months since then. The topic has anything but died down. And neither will it ever. We bloggers, and the networks we establish, both offline and online, will ensure that enough people are made to know of the tall claims and arm twisting ways of IIPM.

Enough has been said about IIPM. Take the case of Pradyuman Maheshwari and his Mediaah! The first thing I told myself when the IIPM issue was current was that it had the exact same features as that of Mediaah! That of big business trying to squeeze the underdog. And if I, a person prone to memory loss, can remember an issue well into the past, I am sure all of you can do much better.

The other thing that comes into play is the power of syndication and RSS. Whatever you write, you can be sure, will find an audience somewhere. And will stay permanently in one form or another. My own blog is read mostly through the RSS feed I provide. Most of yours too. The XML feed ensures that your words and your convictions are easily syndicated and transmitted. Helping to carry your message across a wider pool and keeping it current.

The way the average blog is structured also goes a long way in making sure what you write stays permanent. At least, as permanent as current technologies allow it to be. I am talking of course, about archives.
Everything you write is neatly tagged, sorted and put on permanent display. Mummified, even. And when the time comes, just one click is all the magic spell you need to revive your mummy and let it wreak havoc on those who want to get away with whatever they are trying to get away with.

Finally, I would like to mention the power of the collective conscious. 'Tis a tricky thing, the collective conscious. Much like god, it is very difficult to prove either it exists or not. But it sure wields, again like the godhead, an interesting and important influence in our lives. If enough people make enough noise about a subject, you can be sure it will be heard even on the far side of the moon. And that's what blogs do. And the more you repeat a certain something, the more you commit it to memory. Also, being part of this nebulous CC helps if you are prone to memory loss. Somebody, somewhere, always knows exactly what it is we all are shouting about and that will only jog your own memory back to life.

So here's to the fantastic ability of blogs and bloggers to take up causes and keep the flame burning bright. Amen.

We invite all Indibloggers to share their thoughts with us. If you feel strongly about the theme of this series, don't hesitate to send us a short writeup at indibloggies at gmail dot com and we would be glad to publish it. Please note that the piece sent to us cannot be cross-posted to any other website, though you may link to here. Thanks!


Lazy Geek said...

This is one the of the finest pieces I've read on this series. Its been structured so well, Mummified even (!!) and it flows to a perfect end that voices for blogging.

CC, truly great job. You don't even write so well on your blog :)

Selective Amnesia » The Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting and why it’s wrong. said...

[...] I originally wrote this piece under the title “The power of the collective conscious” for the Indibloggies 2005, when I was this all-powerful, all-knowing Juror. Fancy title, no? [...]