Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thoughts on Independence day

Over the last few Independence Days, I have not exactly found myself to be optimistic. See my previous posts here, here and here.

I remember, in school, we should be feel optimistic about celebrating an Independence Day. Since then, things have obviously got better, but clearly, we have a long long road to cover. 67 years later, we are struggling with basics.

While we have removed the shackles from the British, we still need to break our shackles at many levels.

The shackles of corruption - which seems hell bent to sell the country short.
The shackles of nepotism - which means only family members will get anywhere.
The shackles of leftists - which prevent us from getting to the truth of many issues. Including history.
The shackles of media - which has prevented them from reporting what is right.
The shackles of obscurantists - who are tolerated and allowed to thrive at the cost of ordinary folks.
I could go on and on, but this country needs another Independence movement.

However, as always, within this cloud is a silver lining. And the chance for us is now. For us, people like us, who need to step up and do what we can to get this country a better leader, a better government and gift a better future to our children. And unless people like you and me get out and do our bit, this battle is gone.

Yes, we can...this is our best chance

Monday, August 12, 2013

Twitter or newspaper

Are newspapers better than twitter? Let us see. Since the start of the year, I stopped my subscription to all newspapers.

I am an avid reader – and perhaps voracious would be a better word to describe how much I read in a day. I have previously written on this, here and here but I got a response from @anaghh which made me think if Twitter really satisfies all my needs.

Let us do the math. I directly follow about 400 odd people. If each of them follow about 200 odd people, that is a total of 80000. Assuming overlap and reduce that to just 50 unique people that each of these people that works out to 20000 people. Even if it is just 10 unique people that is about 4000 odd people. About the staff of a medium sized newspaper – plus, no admin and overheads.

These 4000 odd people are working for you – just as you are working for them. These 4000 people are your pipeline who bubble up stuff on the internet which they find interesting. So, I follow people with a variety of interests. Physical Fitness. Sanskrit. Politics, right of centre. Politics, left of center. Think tankers. Policy Wonks. Diplomats. Politicians. Finance experts. Market watchers. Media watchers. Internet link curators. Bangalore geeks. Kerala journalists. Assam residents. Uttaranchal residents. Amateur historians. Lawyers. Designers. Environmentalists. Satirists. Etc. etc. Each of those 400 brings something unique to the table (as I hope my followers think I bring something unique to the table).

Notice that I do not mention any celebrities or any celebrity news anchors. That is because I do not follow any such entity.

Or sports. But many of these people tweet about sports any way. So, sports news always finds its way in.

But the larger question is have I got this range from any newspaper?

The two newspapers which I subscribed to most recently had one supplement of pictures of those who attended parties. I don’t need that. Neither do I need gossip.
Then the main pages are filled with headlines most of which are 12 hours old by the time it reaches me.
The inside pages contains murders and other happenings. Not interested.
Then there are features – mostly coming from foreign publications. Thank you. gets me faster there. As does Twitter.
Then there is state politics – again, not really what I want to read in the morning. So, I let that pass.
Movie reviews? Thank you. I prefer the internet.

See the range of people I follow (directly, without an army of editors trying to crunch to interpret their views and fit into 16 pages) – and the range my newspaper had. I see only one winner.

Note: my issue with newspapers is the physical delivery mechanism, not the collection mechanism!