OPINION

This Site Is Not Yet Rated

November 20, 2007
Deepti Lamba

The Internet is emerging as a new meta-human entity, consisting of all our millions of interactions, IMs, clicktrails, blogposts, and memories. Those of us with links into this e-self are fast feeling the blurring of identity between our cyberselves and our selves, as it were. The rest, by far still the larger component of humanity, who are not 'living online' find it hard to fathom the intensity and passion with which we invest our online identities, and in some cases, the unconnected are willing to stifle the e-connected.

A few months back I asked an online friend of mine to help me out with some codes on my site. I gave him the password of my site and told him to treat my third child gently. He laughed but knew I was serious.

Today I am fighting tooth and nail to keep my personal site going. Some understand the trauma I am going through to maintain my online identity and others merely consider it to be an frivolous little episode that I am over dramatizing.

My entire life is on my site's virtual pages. I have no visions of grandeur regarding my site but it upsets me to no end when people expect me to kill a part of myself that has sustained me for five long years of living abroad without any family and close friends.

For some, the Internet is a subservient entertainment tool, they see porn, get some news, read their mails, visit a few chats rooms, read some blogs and move on to other things in the external world.

But then there are those of us who have formed lasting friendships online, we are members of communities and have our identities associated with our web pages that may not be avidly read but are precious to us. To be told to wind up and lead quiet lives as we did before the Self Publishing concept came up is akin to killing our very souls.

Even in the online world we are pigeonholed into categories that don't really fit our profiles.

When Google got the 'Flag this site' button on Blogspot I shifted from there to start my own site on Movable Type. My readership suffered and it took me two years to build my Page Rank and re-gain the recognition. It was a long tedious journey and then to make matter worse I found a 'porno' label on my site due to a few 'explicit stories' and classy photographs of nude women.

That's when the trouble started. Not that people or Google took notice of all the non-erotica stuff on my site that outweighed the few pictures and occasional stories but it was these little titbits that had the Scarlet letter painted over my site.

A few days ago on Stumbleupon I happened to read a Stumbler protest that her site was 'R' rated and not 'X' rated as stumbled. I laughed; for most there is hardly any difference between the two - R or X, soft or hard; does it matter? Its all a matter of perception, whether its by artificial intelligence or by regular human beings.

Here is the other twist - Google doesn't give good ads, dumps shitty traffic on sites it deems 'raunchy'. To make matters worse these search engines themselves are becoming keepers of morality.

As of now I am deeply troubled and wondering if at all this really worth fighting for. Wouldn't it be easy for me to just smother the voice within me and be part of the herd? But the very thought of never blogging again or giving up my site brings tears to my eyes. Am I the only one feeling like this? Maybe I am a Drama Queen after all.

Deepti Lamba is a writer, an editor for Desicritics. She can be found at Things That Bang
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#1
temporal
URL
November 20, 2007
10:47 AM

dee:

. Wouldn't it be easy for me to just smother the voice within me and be part of the herd?

no

***

no special effort is required to blend in with the crowd...anyone can do it!

have courage

listen to your inner voice

stand apart

***

i did not know they rated sites

#2
desigirl
URL
November 20, 2007
12:32 PM

t:
i did not know they rated sites
me neither!

Dee:
Wouldn't it be easy for me to just smother the voice within me and be part of the herd?
Don't you dare!! Who are you killing a part of yourself for? Not for someone who understands you, for sure! For they would know what your writing means to you. To expect you to shut yourself off is something too stupid for words. Pls don't stand down.

Last month, I went for a party heavily populated by folks from the blogosphere. Desis, too. (I think I told you this) To cut a long story short, the shit hit the fan due to a great deal of 'he said she said' and I was tarred and feathered by the lot of them for having the gall to stand apart. S then asked me to give up blogging. I said No. No way I am giving in to those bullies.

Granted I am not a veteran blogger like you *koff* but there's no way I'd buckle down to some who don't get it. And nor should you. I know you are battling some real issues here but hang in there, buddy. For what it's worth, you have my support.

#3
Deepti Lamba
URL
November 20, 2007
09:09 PM

Thanks t and DG, its just that its exasperating trying to make some people understand.

#4
Lakshmikanth
URL
November 20, 2007
10:09 PM

Dee,

Your stand is very Roarkian... the part of Ayn Rand that I agree with is.. that art is art; it has its own life and lifetime quite independent from the creator. Its stupid when people try to rate art and/or pass judgement on people who created them.

If there is any joy at all in this world.. its the joy of creation (I hope fellow indians and catholics dont read it as creation of kids), to give that up would mean to give up your means to enjoyment. WHich means virtual suicide.

I say dont care about who or what rates you, if people like to stick around... they would or else let them go their own way. We were not send here to please the world.

#5
smallsquirrel
November 20, 2007
11:33 PM

You should never give up, Dee, and I know you won't. You're a feisty one.... you'll figure out a solution and it will all work out.

In the scheme of things, although this feels miserable, it will be alright. We all learn and grow, and this is just one of those learning moments :)

go out, kick ass and take no prisoners. :)))

#6
blokesablogin
November 21, 2007
01:41 AM

When I first started to blog, my family thought I was crazy to "expose" myself thus online to virtual strangers. This has been a space that allows me to express my thoughts that even I don't get to see outside of my head!LOL! I write late at night when most of them are asleep and not bothered about my typing. Why am I sharing all this- those who don't blog don't understand!! Why do you want to evangelize and try converting them?!

#7
Temple Stark
URL
November 21, 2007
01:54 AM

You are the Puba Empress among mere Drama Queens, if this post is anything to go by. ;-)

Your life is your blog? Seems a little skewed. I think of it more as another child might be the equivalent. And one does not give up on a child unless she / he harms you - and of course, usually not even then. So, even if you had any slight intention of doing so, which i don't believe, don't as you might actually have to write a real book or something. ;-) Right? And that's much scarier.

- Temple

#8
Deepti Lamba
URL
November 21, 2007
03:15 AM

Laks, M.F Hussain went into exile for his art. Censorship is always hard to deal with and we all are hit by it sometime or the other;)

SS, trying to take the middle path but even there one has to take a stand;)

Blokesablogin, they are still the same I am the one who converted to the e-church and they want to bring me back to the light;)And I do get the part that they are scared of the repercussion my blogging may have on the family. Ripple effect and all;)


Temple, it is an important part of my life, important enough to take a stand over. Kids are also part of us aren't they? If we live through our kids we have a problem, similarly if we live through our blogs its unhealthy. My blog reflects my life

Puba Empress? Puba Empress Jacket? The rapper Grand Puba? Dunno Temple, but a few days back I did feel like the Queen of them all;)

#9
Temple Stark
URL
November 21, 2007
08:35 AM

Well to walk a serious stride for a second then, I guess what's not coming across in this is the compelling force asking / demanding you to stop. Without that it comes across as a self-generated internal conflict delivered to others in hope they can find a solution - the very definition of drama queen.

In brief, it's not apparent at all what you're taking a stand against, just "people [who] expect me to kill a part of myself that has sustained me." And without more information it has the vagueness of a conspiracy theory. I'm not saying you are a drama queen, just that ...

... you're The Drama Queen
/jk

#10
Anadiya
November 21, 2007
08:44 AM

Its seems apart from the writer's personal travails the post is relevant since there are those who are at odds with upcoming online world and are stifling the creative spirit.

#11
Temple Stark
URL
November 21, 2007
08:44 AM

>>Thanks t and DG, its just that its exasperating trying to make some people understand.

Not that I want to add to the explanation exasperation ... I figure you're good for real reasons attached to the drama (and figure you wish you weren't).

- Temple

#12
LighterVein
URL
November 22, 2007
04:17 AM

Google doing a Shivsena...thats news. Never knew they rated sites.
Your blogaddicts(am sure you don't know the count) do have your URL anyways..why would they search on google. :)

#13
Deepti Lamba
URL
November 22, 2007
12:08 PM

Good point LighterVein, I have nothing to prove to those who already know;)

#14
Mark
URL
November 22, 2007
07:36 PM

D:

When blogging got hot, a few years back, it was wonderful to check in daily to see the things my friends (and other interesting folks I'd happened upon) were writing about. One day it would be an heirloom recipe, the next a political diatribe, the third a travel story, and so on. The exchange kept the inner muses churning for the writers and made for a nourishing pastime for the reader.

The general purpose or diary blog is largely dead these days. When I turn to my aggregator each day, I'm lucky to find two or three installments. Most blog lay in a state of dormancy or semi-paralysis. Sure, it is sometimes hard to keep it going; but without writers to contribute to the mix, the sense of community quickly falls apart.

Not everything we write on our blogs is brilliant. (Heck, Desicritic Sanjay would say that I have never written anything even approximately half-smart.) But the effort is one work making -- for all concerned.

Keep fighting the good fight.

MBJ
http://memestreamblog.wordpress.com

#15
Deepti Lamba
URL
November 22, 2007
09:17 PM

Mark, thanks for the insightful words. Daily blogging can be tough but cathartic at the same time:)

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