psychology of blogging

*** this was written in 2008, posting again with cyber-accusations and criminal actions becoming more frequent.***

Whether Kancha Ilaiah is a fraud or whether saibaba is a god, whether there is brahmanical fanaticism or fanatic anti-brahmanism, there are enough blogs to argue both sides. All these bloggers can argue rather forcefully even if not sensibly. Why is blogging picking up?

Basically the operative element is an anonymous proximity. Even if my photo is seen you  cannot claim to become my friend and try to spend time with me. This safe “use and throw” relationship-of-convenience is the primary attraction of blogs. I can say what I want, and if you decide to register your protest I still have the right and the choice to allow the protest on my page. Those who see my page will be seeing my views and my counters (whenever, and if ever I can logically produce one) and no one will know where and when I am at a loss to explain.

I can still feel I am in a crowd that is talking about things which matter to me. I can protest with dignity or cheapness, be an angel or a devil, talk when I want to and be silent if that is fine for me. I cannot be forced into discussions; ofcourse, I cannot force you into a discussion, except when I dare to spit valueless venom through a personal pathology. These are the conveniences I have noticed and even used in blogs.

The second operative element in blogging is its pseudo-personal space wherein one can become disinhibited. Though your true skin will be seen by others when your blog is posted, you need not hesitate to say whatever you feel like unlike in the real world where you have to observe elementary decency to those who deserve it. Yet, it is only a disinhibited and not an uninhibited behaviour, because deep down you are conscious that your words are going to be seen by someone somewhere.

Masked identity is another courage-boosting element of blogging. You need not talk in your real name.  I know of some people who chose to mask their identity for real and valid reasons, but most of the persons who write in pseudonyms ( and sometimes in anonymity) do so out of fear. Though their words may appear courageous they still have not mustered enough conviction and courage to come out in the open and stand by what they have said.

Why mask identity? Some are like a compassionate medusa, for if their face is seen their critics would turn into stone, stupefied with fear. Some are like clowns who need to have a different identity to make an apparent fool of themselves so that others can have a good laugh. Some are like a silly child hiding behind a table thinking no one can see who and where they are. Whether one decides to disclose her/his identity or not is certainly a private decision that has to be respected and even if not accepted, not discussed.

The problem of wearing a mask is different in a socio-psychological perspective. There are intellectuals who use their intelligence to call themselves idiots, and so too are there idiots who stupidly call themselves intellectuals. Depending on why the mask is worn, and depending on the insightful intellect of the individual, a mask becomes a potent weapon or a poor joke.

It is understandable if masks are worn and identities deliberately disguised in the mushrooming social networking sites. Though these sites can be a forum for healthy and honourable matters, mostly they are used to find a `friend` to flirt. An elderly uncle who tries to wear shorts and T-shirts, ugly dyeing of hair and a false accent in which lies are expressed as values, will never be able to date a young girl with average intelligence. But in the virtual world, the same uncle just has to assume a name, age, occupation and marital status that would bring scraps to his page! But, blogs are not meant for picking up a date. Whether your profile declares you as young or old, spiritual or religious, left or right, no one `falls` for you. Only your views matter. And therefore your identity is never masked or invisible. However sublime your language, however innocent your discussion, your colours will show through the veil.

Blogging has its psychological benefits. Just as how your mind operates in a dramatic performance there are certain mechanisms operating here too. Initially there is identification, then there is the possibility of learning a conflict resolution and finally there is a catharsis. You identify with the character or the cause or the chronicle, you feel you have experienced a similar situation. Then you see the situational conflict resolved in the performance and if you choose to, you may try to use it to answer your personal question. Even if you cannot find a solution to your problem in the performance-narrative it would still be a cathartic relief. You can download feelings from your emotive memory and get the same relief of being happy, sad, angry or disgusted. But are blogs used for this?

Though blogs can be of immense personal psychological comfort, I see some bloggers using it to throw mud (if not spit venom) on ideas that are not consistent with their own values. Blogs are becoming pamphlets thrown on the disinterested by stander. If perchance someone reads and accepts their ideas it is fine, otherwise just some space on space is wasted! However impassionate and objective you may describe yourself, you will tend to lean towards one ideology versus another. If you have not formed your own opinions on matters, these moments would tilt you towards a particular idea if not ideology. The intelligent wearing the mask of an idiot would appeal to your conscience by their pseudo-innocence. You will fall for the game plan. Some vague emotional itch that you have been bearing all along would be scratched and you will not only become comfortable with that anonymous hand, you would start yearning for it.

If we can just be  a little more aware when we imagine that we are awake, we can escape from the dragnet. We would be able to retain our power to choose. We can choose only when we think. And, when we start thinking we cannot be silent. We would start protesting.

This is what had happened to me, and I consequently started  commenting on issues that I felt were concerning me, and the response I got from one blogger was that I have “become jobless”!! Blogging is not a jobless individual’s way of spending time, it is a social obligation to respond to the milieu.

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4 Comments on “psychology of blogging”

  1. rudhran Says:

    though there is a strong lobby for diagnosing net-addiction, perhaps as a sub-set, net-abuse like the confused term alcohol abuse ought to be considered.

    • Poonguntan Says:

      I disagree Monsieur.
      Just because someone spends most of his time in the internet, you can’t say he’s net addicted, can you?
      Yet addiction to social networks is another serious issue of concern, which I don’t want to bring into this thread.

      I don’t need to put a mask when I want to comment on religious fanaticism, or even on obscure nationalism. But the major problem here is one really needs a mask, commenting on nationalism: or what the nationalists call: patriotism.
      I believe patriotism is a serious psychiatric ailment. Why do people have to pick up quarrel on the pretext of nation? After all, everyone is human! It’s one world, one galaxy, one universe, ….
      Putting myself into the internet all the time I’d explored many of science which I never thought I’d. Everyone who blogs sincerely can’t be just put into the category of internet addiction, can they be?


  2. Very true. A perfect analysis

  3. Ashok Kumar Says:

    Dear Dr.Rudhran,
    I remember you from St.Mary’s. I was of the ’71-’72 batch….
    I accidently touched on your blog…I too write… some bits of poetry now and then…I am giving below an extract of poetry written about school and childhood…hope you enjoy it…

    Single Tea to Single Malt

    This can be a story of a City, a People, a Culture, a Language, a Biography, Bad Poetry, Cheap Limericks or Everything.
    ……………………………………………………..
    I was born in a city called Madras,
    in the year 1956. The Year of the Monkey.
    At a time when brahmin bashing
    and pan nationalism was funky.
    A time when you could be roughed up
    for speaking the national language Hindi
    and felt like a foreigner in Madras
    if you were a Gujerati or a Sindhi.
    Language is a sensitive subject here
    any disrespect can raise violence or sneer
    A Tamil can live without his daily food
    but take Tamil away from him
    you have taken away his livelihood.
    He lives of it, he bums of it
    He will cry for it, he will even kill for it
    Movie makers and movie stars
    culture icons and political Tzars
    educationalists and secessionists
    all of them use this trump card
    to rabble, rouse and touch a chord..
    Like it just takes one word called ‘Nigger’
    to get the black man to trigger
    the mention of ‘Thamiz’
    can produce uncontrolled emotion
    pandomenium and commotion
    from 60 million Tamils
    swaying to a band
    like someone was waving a magic wand.
    People in politics
    exploit this sweet spot
    and use it like a dart
    to hit their jackpots
    So I was born in such turbulent times
    and it also explains why I speak hindi today
    in hand gestures and mimes.
    But I am going to tell you a true story
    of all the cover up and the lies
    and reveal to you
    the truth behind history’s X files.

    The Orginal Dravidians- The true story
    Very old is the Tamil’s history and their culture
    believed to have existed
    before the dinosaraus and it’s extincture
    They go back to the Indus Valley and
    to the city of Mohenjo daro
    a place older than Greece, Rome and the Pharoh
    They had personal toilets
    in two tier houses, where men lived
    with their children and their spouses.
    There was public granary, public baths and sewerage systems
    There was a town hall, place of worship and very interesting customs.
    The original Dravidians
    were not short and stocky as believed to be,
    with matted hair and African features
    it was a story made up
    by the conquering Aryans
    when writing their history and their scriptures .
    What the Aryans saw were the
    the Mundas and the Gonds, the Bhils and the Vaddas
    the original inhabitants and their gentry
    and thought them as the dravidians
    of this ancient country.
    The pure Dravidians have Middle Eastern looks
    far from the description in the current history books.
    They were more sophisticated
    than the invading tribes
    proof of it is, they never subscribed
    to animal sacrifices or even prescribed.
    They were a peace loving people
    and never been to war
    with neighbours near or neighbours far.
    From the Meenovans of Crete
    to the Pandiyons of Greece
    the language bound them together
    and they lived in perfect harmony and peace
    till the Aryans came
    and what they saw
    left them in awe ,
    a well developed race
    full of poise and grace;
    They started taking the best from them
    and making it a Aryan case.
    The best they took from Dravidianism
    they later called it Brahminism
    Then the two began to drift apart
    with the Aryans keeping the northern part
    driving the Dravidians south
    by foot and cart .
    The Dravidians finally made home the south,
    preserving everything in palm leaves,
    and by word of mouth.
    The origins of Tamils can be split in two
    One with middle eastern looks and
    the originals from the Indus fixture
    the others of afro origins
    and of the local tribes mixture.
    —————————————————————————————-

    THE SCHOOL….

    My school was St.Mary’s, at Armenian Street.
    That it survived 200 years, itself a feat.
    It was an Anglo-Indian school….
    Where Ponnuswamy and Paulraj
    were friends of Pasha and Parker
    whose parents’, a lawyer or doctor,
    baker or hawker.
    They were rich and they were poor,
    they came dark and they came darker,
    some were fools and some were smarter
    but all fighting for survival in the same water.
    For the serious type
    and the hardened nerd
    many a success story
    has been heard,
    but for the easy going
    and the casual herd
    it was a place so cheesy ,
    a place so bored.
    It brought out the man in some
    And took out the child in some
    I came out Half-Man, Half-Child.


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