Googled forever !

It was 1995. We were passing out of our MBA class and getting a job offer was top on everyone’s mind.The problem was how to know what company’s to approach and also how to approach them all at once.Some bright kid came up with the idea of email.What’s that ? all of us thought.Don’t be surprised sending a message through a computer and not through your friendly neighborhood post office was still something weird.I won’t say we were alien to the concept but it was a concept at the end of the day.

Emails were sent out and each day we waited closely by the side of the only computer with a dial in connection which was set up in the Dean’s office.Some companies did respond back and for the first time I got convinced that folks do exist in cyber space and our ’email’  just doesn’t get lost into oblivion.

Once this miracle happened it threw a challenge as to how do you find more email addresses of more companies so they don’t get deprived of our managerial talent.So we set ourselves a task of going and meeting ‘potential’ managers and then taking their email ID’s to start the dialogue.It sounds primitive alright but believe me in those days of vsnl.net.in it was the most happening stuff you could do.We did back up all electronic communication with physical ones just to be sure.After all sending out emails was more a measure of our smartness than a means of getting a response.

Finally I found a job but my tryst with tech ended quite unceremoniously as the company I joined was a government organization. They had some 486 desktops but they were mostly there to keep the 4th grade employees gainfully employed.Each morning or sometimes each week the plastic covers were removed in a ritual only to be put back in place after the customary cleaning had been performed.Seeing this ceremony everyday I got curious I asked my manager who put these ‘ things’ here if no one knew what to do with them and he came up with an equally interesting explanation.According to him these things were procured under a UNDP grant so that the idle funds could be utilized.If this was not done there was a lurking danger that the funding would get reduced by that quantum.One day I got really catty and so I unveiled the shroud on one of the monsters to see what was inside. I quickly realized that the only trick it could show was a ‘welcome to UPEC Ltd.’  screen which zoomed in and out gyrating while it did so.

I might be failing in memory here but it was sometime around 1998 that hot male Sabeer Bhatia sold his innovation to Microsoft. Till hotmail the only way you could communicate via email was through your organizations email or through an email provided by your Internet service provider. What was exceptional about hotmail was that it was web based and so it freed you of the clutches of the organization and ISP. By 1999 everyone who could switch on a computer had an email account. A web based email account meant an ability to communicate without the barriers of time and space.For the very first time it also gave us an option of faking/hiding our cyber identities and having multiple ones if we so desired.

The web based  and cheap hotmail opened a world of opportunity for those in the export business and even I got the idea of exporting some stuff out on my own to a friend in the US. Email was not the driver but it was a motivator, an enabler -If I could communicate almost for free across 16000 kms there was something to be done about it right. My luck didn’t shine and my fledgling ideas died their natural death but I still know of a few friends who would owe a large part of their success to hotmail if not all of it.Of course Sabeer became a millionaire leaving all of us awed, inspired even feeling cheated as to why the hell I didn’t get this simple idea.Its been happening ever since first with google and now with facebook.The only respite on the facebook idea is that I have taken refuge in a moral high ground of not looking at pictures of females while sloshed out of your mind.If my character is the price I have to pay for not being able to invent facebook the so be it.

I can clearly recall that till about 2000 Internet explorer was the only popular web browser and it was almost magical to see the globe at the top right corner of your computer screen go round and round once you pressed the ‘enter’ key.Some smart ass told me that the faster it rotates the quicker the website will load itself and I always used to get confused and ask myself ‘ faster than what?’. I knew that faster meant faster than itself but each time I though I had figured it all out the website would load faster even if the globe was moving slow or vice versa so that my calculations would fall through. Then one day a geek friend of mine  enlightened me that speed is not the only thing and it depends a lot on the how ‘ heavy’ the content of the website you are loading is. Now what’s ‘ heavy’ about something that shows on your computer screen I wondered.And thus began my endless race to keep up with all the mysteries of the ‘ INTERNET’ which I still seem to be running to full strength of my intellectual stamina.

Sometime around 2000 someone gave a 100000 $ cheque to 2 young guys out of stanford.No one knew at that time that how ‘search’ would get much bigger than mail.Curiosity has led the way to human civilization and this was no different. An angel investor wanted to know where his bet on the google boys would take him and suddenly the whole world wanted to know where all they can go on google. The ability to search websites for most relevant information gave the power to WWW as we knew it. Everyone had figured out by 2002 that things will never be the same again except the google team in the valley who were still trying to figure out a way to make money without being evil.

Unaware of the strife on the west coast here was me happily typing away in the box at the top end on an empty page finding out everything from flights to hotels to jobs to cures for allergies…….Wow with this new genie I was omniscient and so was everyone else across the globe.I am convinced that google was the turning point of our relationship with the internet and what it could do for us.The websites and the information were there but without a trusting way of knowing if I am looking at the best possible  information , one piece of it was as good as the other.

My next big association with the internet happened when I was at a low point in my life and career.Things were not looking up either ways and I needed to reinvent probably re produce myself before I lost my sanity.Someone told me about blogging and wordpress.My posts offered me a medium to express myself to the unknown, to think and write about stuff I never thought I would think or write about.In fact I never knew I had so much or even anything to say.Initially I would post something and look at stats every day sometimes twice or thrice a day.I used to wait for comments from strangers.Somebody had to clip the wires around them and reach out to me from cyber space.They did until one day when I realized my catharsis was complete and stats were just a set of numbers.Still my blog is and perhaps will remain one of my closest friend ever.

In between the world changed many times over and we started doing almost everything on the net.So much so that we were ‘skyping’ each other from one bedroom to the other !!!

Finally facebook happened and friends, colleagues, acquaintances and even adversaries got a new lease of life. Dead relationships got exhumed although some skeletons remained in the closets.

My status today is not the house or car or the designation  it is a line or two in the rectangular box next to my smiling  picture on the fb page.That’s how the world knows me and that’s what I keep updating.My physical existence in a 6 foot frame today is perhaps much less precious or popular than my digital footprint reaching out to places and people who were otherwise completely out of bounds.

When I look back the last 15 years and ask myself if I have gained more or lost much because of my relationship with the wi fi the answer is never black and white but a shade of grey just like the screen of my laptop…..

Advertisements

My best Posts in 2 years…

Phono-graphy

दिल में बसा रखी  है तस्वीर ए यार , जब जी चाहा गर्दन झुकायी और देख लिया

I have a picture of my beloved in my heart, I can look at it when ever I want to

Looking at some of the old ‘family photographs’ taken by my ancestors in the early part of 20th century I wonder if people had any different notion about capturing memories and beautiful moments which happen around all of us all the time.In those days it was perhaps a much awaited event when the photographer will come home, people will dress up in their best clothes and he will click and bring a copy may be a few days later.It was quite the same when our ‘class pictures’ were taken when I was in school.A friend posted one of these on face book from may be when we were in class 10th or something and I was so disappointed to see that I was not in the picture.I can’t recall but may be I fell sick or something on the eventful day but what was heartening to see were the happy shiny faces of my friends some 20 years back.

Things have changed and they have changed for the better.The Camera phone has enabled all of us to be photographers all the time and to capture life as it happens without any strain on our schedule or our wallets.It’s a simple process – You find something interesting just aim and press the button,If You like what you see, store it or else just press the delete button which conveniently shows up at the bottom.The best part is that you don’t have to wait for the result.You can immediately go for another one if you feel that you could have captured it better.

The ability to capture life on the go is such an godsend for all of us who have been sentenced to a nomadic life that it’s difficult to imagine how one can cope without the portable pocket album of pictures of kids and family.In a faraway land in a stale hotel room environment just open your phone and start going through the pictures and videos of you and the kids splashing water on each other in Goa. Your heart will warm up and a smile is sure to get pasted on your lips.

For Bloggers the camera phone is the ubiquitous cameraman reporting all kind of events with you as the photo journalist.Almost all pictures on my blog have been taken by my camera phone at the airport, in the train , market , mountain and valley.Like a true partner your camera phone is always ready when you are. Its contribution is so great that it gives you ideas for blog posts – state of Chikankari workers in Lucknow, Urban rural divide as seen at a rural hyper market in MP, The beauty of waterfall in Goa and a photo feature on Churches in Bangalore as seen from your car window.Its all there just because I had a camera phone handy.

One word of advice though – special things are special and life is a one way journey.You miss a beat and you loose the rhythm so never ever go for a cheap camera phone which is not able to reflect the depth and color of your emotion.Look for stuff that is at least 2 mega pixels with a good quality lens and zoom.

You can have just one cameraman with you and it better be good.

My blog is 1 year old

I celebrated my blogs anniversary on the 30th November 09 but kept awfully busy the next 15-20 days so could not get time to even celebrate this glorious moment.

Through the year I have got a lot of encouragement not only from fellow bloggers but also from the public at large – folks who do not know me and still care to read my writing and comment on it from across the world.Cheers !

Actually the people I know including some who claim to  be quite close have been a big disappointment but it doesn’t matter.

Few numbers just for the heck of it  :

1. Total number of hits – 33349

2.Visitors from across the globe as per clustermaps

3.Google page rank of 2 ( not too impressive but not too bad either for a personal blog)

4.Alexa rating of 3.5

5. 47th rank among all blogs posted by Indiblogger a forum for Indian blogs

6.I have a total of 210 posts in 6 categories and 416 comments

7.Last but not the least the value of my blog is $ 1175.00 , so I can sell it for Rs 50000 to anyone of you ( if you want that is)

Well what do I say ? its a great feeling – something I created ,something my very own ,something very personal has taken a form that not only acts as a sounding board but is also a true and original friend.

Today I promise my blog that I will come back to it at least once a week and post something.I have stopped looking at the stats anyways so it is easier now.

Blog as if it will never be seen

I was reading the book ‘Predictably irrational’ when it suddenly hit me.Why the hell do I bother about blog stats.To care about comments is fine but to think too much of cold numbers which may or may not have face to them is madness.

Let us have a peek into my irrational behaviour.Since morning I look at the blog stats twice and by afternoon I am worried that no one has even looked at my blog today.When I click the refresh button as if out of nowhere a number of views appear.This is the point when my blog was on Alphainventions reading cycle.Now out of these views there could be chinese,peruvian,saudi and russin bloggers who have no choice but to look at my blog since it is on thier computer screens.As some of the posts are in English they may even try jumping from one post to another to find something of interest but will certainly leave the blog,never to come back again.

Have you ever counted how many people you met in the market ?How many people looked at you while you were shopping?How many joggers passed by you while jogging in the park ?Or who else came to watch the movie  ?

It is irrational therefore to keep submitting your blog and Alpha inventions or Condron in the hope of getting more readership to increase page views.But we are predictable bloggers and will continue to do it again and again.One day we may get a 1000 page views and the other day we may get just 50.

That’s the way we are programed or wired I should say – to measure everything.Even our performance on blogs which are meant to take us away ‘from these things.If your blog not have adequate number of hits or commenst you start getting a feeling of being wasted and a secret voice says don’t do this.This explains the thousands of blogs with just a couple of posts.

You will find 100’s of posts and commenst about ‘How to increase blog traffic’  and how to use technology make your blog better and more attractive but very few which will give you tips on how to post exceptional or unique content .I even came across a personal blog that wanted to make money through adsense the very first month of coming into existance.It may have been an experiment but I found it quite interesting.

For now I have a promised to myself that I will not look at my blog stats for the next 1 month.

But promises are meant to be broken.Are’nt they 🙂

Final take on Alpha inventions,Condron.us and WordPress

Both search engines entice you to mention them in your blog so you can get more traffic.

I did just that and found that my blog got more than 5 thousand views last two days but no comments.Most views were from Alpha Inventions.I am sure my fellow bloggers have something to say about a subject that relates to them as well.If it were 6000 humans looking at their computer screens seeing my blog atleast one would have commented.If not on this post but may be on another one.I am just talking probability and psychology here.

I asked myself a question.What am I looking for – just a number on the Blog stats counter or people actually seeing my blog,reading the contents and commenting on posts that interest them.

I am also looking forward to build a community of sorts where I can post and immediately get comments on my thoughts and writing skills from people who know me and whom I know albeit from the internet.As a beginner its important for me to get an honest feedback which will help me to improve in all humility.The more critical the better.

Everyday I get 15-20 views from wordpress though thier tags.I find these most useful as I know what people are looking for and how my blog is helping them get what they want.I also go back and see the featured blogs through a backtrack link and find a lot of blogs that interest me.If I like something I post comments else just read and enjoy.

Final take :

Alpha Inventions – Increase blog views and stats.Contribute to Alpha creations rating going up.Mutually beneficial in a more practical way.Don’t expect any comments or serious blogging as most blogs keep reappearing or have nothing that interest you.May be you get Lucky sometimes.

Also,the tips offered when you register in the reading cycle are quite useful.

Condron.us – Good for random browsing on topics that interest you.Search is a useful tool that helps you connect to the right blogs.Quality of search is much better and therefore improves chances of viewing more relevant blogs and also finding bloggers with similar interest.You will not get lots of views but a steady stream of inetrested folks.You can expect some comments..

WordPress/tags – By far the best way to build a blogosphere of your own.Slow but effective.As you are tracking back the tags there is no question of finding stuff that is not relevant.The same link was used to find you so it cannot misfire and you will find almost all blogs relevant.You can pick and choose the good ones.If you leave a comment ,you can most certainly expect a visit and  a comment as the person you are trying to connect with has a common interest because of which you found them.You can keep adding folks to your blogroll and inform them about it.Slowly you will have a lot of good stuff on your blogroll plus may be some bonus in your book marks section.And if you are good enough you may be on 20 other blogrolls once again getting traffic which is not just a number but bloggers with same interests as you.

So take your pick and keep punching.

To each his own is the mantra !