Blogs and our cops

A surprising number in my peer group (senior citizenry) believe blogs are a waste of time. They subscribe to the line, I nicked from Vivek’s blog , ‘Those who can, do; the blokes who can’t, blog’. (nice line to be put on t-shirt or customized coffee mug). Vivek kumar, who hosts The Other Side, doesn’t seem a ‘can’t’ kind of guy, does he? In a recent post he writes about blogger  Amit Verma who might just do it – join politics, I mean. ‘From waste, to waste’, says my friendly neighborhood cynic.

He hasn’t heard about  blogs by the folk holding a day job or working in shifts, such as a New York cab-driver, a British bobby, a forensic expert, a London ambulance driver or a maths teacher. I know of a senior consultant in Bangalore hospital who runs a healthcare blog. And then we have diplomat who does a web column for Rediff. Mr B S Prakash, India’s Consul General in San Francisco writes on varied topics such as a dosa joint in his town, about his tour of the US with Dr Kalam, Silicon valley, the allure of an MBA and on other engaging  topics. Mr Prakash’s Rediff column evokes scores of comments, not all of which are flattering; many criticising him for his initiative to step out-of-the-box to blog, instead of playing a pre-conceived role of a sarkari babu in pin-stripes     

Nearer home, Krishnagiri district collector, an IAS officer, is a proactive blogger who has used the web medium to further his back-to-school initiative to enlist unschooled children in schools and cut down school dropouts in the district. In Karnataka police chiefs in three districts run blogs as a single-window source of police-related information to the media. The blogs, which mostly carry items of reported incidents of crime, do leave much to be desired in terms of input.

I read in the Udupi police blog about their online complaints feature. If a cognizable offence is made out in any complaint received online, FIR would be registered after receiving a signed hard copy of the mail from the complainant. The  blogs may not make the police functioning any more transparent than the district police chiefs choose to make them. But the very idea of having a departmental blogsite, I guess, is a necessary first step towards a more open police administration.

The police blogs that are in place in Karnataka – Udupi, Dakshin Karnataka and  Chitradurga , though it hasn’t been active for over a year now, – prove that there are, in our police force, some doers who blog as well.

That their out-of-box web initiative has yet to evoke much public response or create a critical mass of interactive readership could be frustrating. Not every one can be Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor, who runs a blog with a wide following. Not long ago, when Jeff blogged about his bad Dell laptop, he recieved comments in hundreds from other frustrated customers, forcing the company to take note of the blogger’s complaint. As an upshot Dell strated monitoring blogs for complaints and even set up a blog of its own, to interact with customers in an ‘IdeaStorm’.  

A vast majority of blogs, however, gets to be known mostly through the links in other blogs and the good old word-of-mouth communication. It is guesstimated that there are over 70 million blogs out there; and some 120,000 are added every day. A needle in the haystack would be easier to trace in this scenario.             

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One Response

  1. GVK,

    Thanks for the kind assessment 🙂

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