Sounds improbable and impossible at first go.  What is the need? And even if it is required, is it really possible?

Just caught a late night debate on “we the people” with Barkha Datt on whether blogs should be regulated or not.  That got me thinking about the world around me (Blog world, that is).

Before I even comment on the topic of blog regulation, I will add my two bits about the beast called blog-world, that just keeps growing.  Kind of like its parent the Internet, that keeps growing, without any space constraints of the real world.

Kinds of Bloggers: 

“It takes all kinds to make a world.”

And the same is true for the blog world, just as it is for the real physical world around us. 

This is of course not an official categorization, but according to me most people enter the blog world with an agenda.  Unlike the physical world where we don’t really have a choice, about entering the world!

1. The Creative Writers:  Most people in this category are here to say what they are feeling, un-censored.  Also of course to give a voice to their thoughts without requiring the stamp of approval of a publisher.  Bloggers who blog for the creative release that this space affords them. 

2. The Water Cooler Gang:  The gang is also here to say what it feels like/ is in their hearts.  But the reason they are here is not, creative release (Lets face it, all of us can’t be poets and story tellers).  But just like a physical world water cooler group offers relaxation and socialising, this virtual group does too.

3. The Advertisers:  These are the ones that want to advertise their product or service to the general population that lives in blog world.  So we have blogs that will talk about only a service or a topic, on which the author/s have something to offer/sell.

4. The Money Makers:  Yes there are a rare breed that use blogs to make money.  Real money too!  The content of their blog generally focuses on one topic or subject.  The authors write interesting and informative pieces on that subject.  Readers with similar interests become regular readers of the blog.  The reagular readers occasionally click on paid advertising links in the site to get more info on the topic of their interest.  And the blog author gets paid.

5. The Politicals:  I have no better word for this category.  These are blogs by authors who pose as experts on politics or other social causes.  They therefore state opinions and facts (according to them, that is) on their favorite subject.  Now unlike the rest of the population, the authors of such blogs pose as experts and therefore, generally opinion moulders.  Some of these authors may be genuine experts out here to tell us their truth, while others may not be.

Blog regulation:
As I write this piece, the blog world has already multiplied a few times over.  So this categorisation is just a minor effort in putting tags on something that is un-taggable.  Why did I try and do this?  To ask the question:

Do we need regulate the whole blog world?

Its kind of like asking, whether we can regulate the entire human population, about what they say or do not say (even in their sleep)?

You see it is easier to answer this question, if we see the blog world like any other world.   In the physical world it is impossible and also not correct to regulate freedom of speech on the entire human race.  Similarly it is not feasible or correct to do the same in blog world.

However, when that freedom of speech takes on a more responsible cloak of being a public opinion forum (Category 5: The Politicals), then yes like a newspaper in a free speaking world, blogs also need credibility.

It is this need for credibility that is the crux of the entire regulation debate.  Blog world is growing too fast for us to ignore it as just a place where everyone lets off steam.  There are serious people who do want to spread the truth.  And for the rest of the “steam -letting – off” population to listen to them, they will need to garner credibility.  Regulation however does not equal credibility.

How credibility is accomplished for any given blog?  That is a question that I am yet to ponder upon.  Ek baar me ek ladayi!  (One battle at a time!)  🙂