TECH TALK: Leisure and Entertainment: Reading (Part 2)

If there is one regret that I have in the Reading department it is on the lack of new Amar Chitra Katha titles. I remember waiting anxiously for the next new title which used to come out every fortnight. Even now, a little ACK reading is a great way to relive India’s wonderfully rich history. ACK was how a lot of my generation learnt our history! ACK stopped publishing new titles many years ago and one can barely find 100 of the 450-odd titles in stores. The visual appeal of comics (be it ACK, Phantom, Calvin Hobbes, Tintin or Asterix) is still amazing.

The real transformation has not been as much on the Reading side as it has been on the Writing side. Because the Internet makes publishing so much easier, a new form of Writing is beginning to make a difference. Weblogs, written by individuals more as personal diaries, bypass intermediaries and reach consumers directly. Much the way this column does. Dave Winer on Weblogs:

  1. A weblog is personal — it’s done by a person, not an organization. You see a personality. It’s not washed-out and normed-up, the bizarre shows through. That’s why weblogs are interesting.
  2. A weblog is on the Web — it doesn’t get printed, it can be updated frequently, it’s very low cost to produce, and it can be accessed through a Web browser.
  3. A weblog is published — words flow through templates, the process is automated, the writer and designer are elevated. There’s also a possibility of using advanced writing tools, and syndication through RSS. In other words, technology applies to weblogs, publishing technology.
  4. And finally, a weblog is part of communities. No weblog stands alone, they are relative to each other and to the world. My weblog, (Scripting News) is part of the weblog community and part of the community of independent developers, particularly those using scripting environments. The same can be said of most weblogs that gain audiences, they connect people together using the Web through common interests.

While Weblogs aren’t about to transform the world of Publishing and our leisure-time Reading entirely, they offer an alternative and an avenue for each of us. Weblogs take us direct to the source and how a person is thinking – and in some cases, what the person has done during the course of the day. It is extreme personal journalism. But it also provides insights which are different and perhaps more down-to-earth than mainstream journalists. Weblogs are an outlet for people like you and me to bring forth our ideas and thinking. So, next Sunday afternoon, try reading someone’s diary! A good starting place is

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.