At the Fireplace: Blogs in Perspective

3 min read · Posted on: Apr 24, 2010 · Print this page

Hi folks, this is your friendly Granpa… It’s a chilly night out there and we’ve a nice warm fireplace inside. So grab your cup of hot chocolate, wrap yourself in a warm blanket and sit next to my armchair.

Fireplace - Copyright

Back in my good ‘ol days there were lots of people who called themselves Writers. When I say Writers, you might think of bespectacled young chaps hunched over a word-processor, punching out words on their Macbook draped in hand-knitted scarfs and wearing comfy flip-flops. But no, I am talking about good ol’ pen and paper blokes who toiled all day beside a mountain of crumbled paper overflowing from their wastebins. When life was hard and every word was measured and well thought out. Their prose was water-tight and flowed from line to line like a swift arrow of unbroken thought.

There were two kinds of writers, though - Fiction and Non-fiction. The former were always popular. People loved to get trapped in their colorful web of imagination. They would get lost in far-away worlds of fire-breathing dragons or colourful unicorns. But the non-fiction writers had it tough. Every word of their’s was picked on and taken apart. “What is your reference for this?”, the critics would clamour. “Prove your claims”, the technical ones would demand.

Despite all this, the technical writers, the journalists or the biographers wrote volumes and produced great works. In fact, the critical audience made them write impeccable and widely researched bodies of work.

Time rolled by and the Internet happened. Now, don’t get me wrong, Internet wasn’t a bad thing at all. But, soon everyone realised that they could be and later, would be - a Writer. Nobody bothered to label themselves as Fiction or non-Fiction. Both genres would be intermixed in the same, so-called, blog-post in the interest of a greater subscriber base. After all who wants a recital of dry facts. Sprinkle some controversy and hyperboles, mix them well and let’s make merry - was the mantra.

Soon, technical writing was not worth the… err… bandwidth (?) they used up. Hearsay became random tit-bits which became fun-facts and later authoritative references. Nobody, checked the authenticity of what was written or passed around. Eventually, nobody regarded the technical writers as well as they did. Some poor ol' timers like me found it difficult to survive by technical writing alone. So, we switched to better jobs.

“So what did you switch too, Granpa?”, asked the little attentive one with a glint in her eyes.

The Grandpa gave a long sigh and answered with a sour look, “Well, I write jokes for Reader’s Digest”

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Arun Ravindran

Arun is the author of "Django Design Patterns and Best Practices". Works as a Product Manager at Google. Avid open source enthusiast. Keen on Python. Loves to help people learn technology. Find out more about Arun on the about page.

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