Stories in a Stream

Sixteen users voted on the first poll I ever conducted on this blog. 75% said that I should merge some of my blog into this one.

 

I was crestfallen with the result: I like having a few blogs here and there and writing differently for them. For those of you have been reading my other blogs and possibly voted against (apart from those who have been reading my other blogs and have voted for, only from a convenience point of view) will know that each blog, over time, has developed a character of its own. It is not just the writing style, but even the mood that defines which blog I choose, and when. I have decided I will not merge the blogs.

Those of you who voted for the merger, do not despair. I cannot not respect your verdict. I found a way in which I could write in different places, yet provide a platform where all my blogs (and more) comes together in a single place.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the newest story-teller on the block.

My digital lifestream is now at:

http://atulsabnis.storytlr.com (UPDATE: The service has now shutdown, this URL is now defunct)

and it seems that I have found what I really wanted.

First thanks, without doubt, is to Mahendra, who is so wonderfully involved in social media, he is an inspiration. His is indeed an unquiet mind and I am so grateful for it.

What is Storytlr?

It is a lifestreaming application and I have got all my blogs, photos, and bookmarks aggregated over there. Now instead of subscribing to all my blogs, you could subscribe to stream and get to read all that I write (and click – mouse and shutter alike) in a single place.

Some of you may find that a bit overwhelming, but I hope you will give it a try. Especially, if you are fatigued by subscribing to multiple feeds from my web-presence.

Of course, if you are following me on Twitter you will any way get all the updates.

Now, allow me to Google a similar application which does the same for my non-digital life.

DNA of Sight

A Bit of a Blur

Is there a unique way of how we see things? And the things that we see? I believe there is.

It has been some time that I have been on Flickr; suffice to say I have many buddies there who are excellent photographers. During my Flickr Life, I have learnt a lot about photography, much more than I would have learnt in a formal setting.

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

And nearly as long as I have been on Flickr, I have had a RSS reader. And I have a feed that updates all photographs from my buddies on Flickr. Since I started, with about 7 – 8 contacts, I have 97 contacts. You can imagine that the feed gets updated very fast and becomes voluminous. Sometimes I have more than 300 posts (photographs) unread (unseen).

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colours
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

All things become interesting after a while and you hope to read everything that you add to your feed. The feeds just pile up and you wonder if you are asking too much of yourself or you aren’t reading enough.

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
Brought them all together for one night
I know they’d never match
My sweet imagination
And everything looks better in black and white

Coming back, is there a unique way of how we see things? And the things that we see? I believe there is. And I have learnt it because of my feed reader and my Flickr contacts. With more than 300 posts piling up. I usually quickly skim through all of them. The finger on the down arrow key works with the speed of sight (light?). As I scroll quickly, my eyes are fixed on the area where the photograph is to appear; adjusting for orientation of landscape, portrait, oddly cropped, and badly cropped photos

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colours
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

I can almost always identify the photographer without having seen the name of the photographer in the feed. Perhaps it is a style issue. I doubt it. Many photographers I know vary their styles. I think it is just the way people see things, what they see, subjects, and their point of view. Many of the photographers take photos of flowers, for example. I can, yet, (almost always) identify who it would be.

Is it about signatures?

Do we always know what we sign? Do we know that we sign?

Text in Italics, Kodachrome, by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel.

The Heart of a Conversation

You have perhaps noticed the recent template back-forthing at Gaizabonts. And if you are reading the blog at the site, then you have perhaps noticed that it has reverted to its original. Well, the second original. Or something like it.

In the times of reading blogs off RSS readers, how does it matter – the skin and the template? Unless you choose to comment, you hardly ever visit a blog. (Unless you use RSSBandit, which allows you to even comment from your reader!) Only a half-feed forces you to go to the blog, if at all, to read the other half.

How does appearance matter then? You are on the chat, you are on a blog, on Facebook, or Twittering away or using some such Web 2.0 contraption. No one sees the appearance. The presentation layer is missing. Is that (also) the reason most Web 2.0 sites are bereft of visual design elements?

I don’t visit many blogs at their blog address – this has been the pattern for sometime. However, I read more blogs now, than I did before. Only since I have moved to the Mac, I have started visiting blogs, if I have to comment, i.e. (RSS Bandit folks, you listening? We need a Mac version!)

It is almost easy to believe that people don’t read your blog anymore. Almost easy to believe that your readership index is lesser than before.

I doubt, if that’s the case.

The comments, you say, the comments must be indicators of readership. Yes, to an extent. But most of the times there isn’t much to be said. After a while, you get used to a person’s writing (or get bored with the sameness and such). Either way, there isn’t enough motivation to comment, especially if you know that a comment like, “wow, wonderfully written!” won’t be quite appreciated. Obviously, I am not talking of topical blogs where every other person wants to be heard and has a right to express with gay abandon.

Recently, Amit confessed that his Fine Imbalance needed a balancing act, he called it “TLC for the blog”. Then there is the dilemma that most bloggers go through which was well captured by EU, when delirium struck! The last three comments on the post by Abaniko, Jolvin and The Phish are very interesting in this context. Phish suggests a theory that boredom is the one that breaks the backbone of the better bloggers. In a way, lower readership and lesser comments are a good sign for a better blogger – they are perhaps tidings of the good times that once were?

Elsewhere, motivated by the thoughts of some bright folks, I went down the route of extending the thought of enabling conversations, through technology. Wishful-technology-thinking, you might call it. While the technology itself may be made available to ensure tracking conversations, human will is at the centre of it all. How often you visit a blog, how well you read a post and therefore how well you respond is key.

Most of us think we don’t know how and what to respond – a factor of how well we read and relate to what we read. If we know the blogger well, we might take comprehension for granted – that we understand what the blogger is saying. Like EU says:

I like people visiting my blog. Making blog friends is killing the interaction on my blog. I don’t like that.

Attention spans are shrinking, and though it shouldn’t be the case, our ability to ponder over a thought and respond well, is diminishing even further.

Here’s to better conversations, whether in a coffee shop or a cyber cafe!