There are two troubling aspects about "the IIPM" vs."the Bloggers" episode.
I had written about the first one in my last post on Alternative Perspective yesterday, which was about preserving the sanctity of the grassroot democracy and freedom of speech of the blogosphere.
But the other is an equally important aspect - about the response from the blogger community:
Needless to say, this episode has brought many bloggers together. They are writing - expressing their concern, outrage, dismay, solidarity, anger - and geting connected. DesiPundit and SambharMafia have done a remarkable job of tracing the blogs, postings and news about the issue and compiling them at one place.
So why is that a troubling thing?
for two reasons:
I had once made a posting about the Primitive Processes on Internet. Given the nature of the medium, it is so very easy to get carried away by it. I mean, when the only 'human' interface is with a terminal, it is quite easy to slip into solipsism, and fall prey to one's own fantasy and impressions (even if they maybe, by and large, correct). This is more likely to happen in interactive forums - mailing lists, online group, and across connected blogs - since each posting only reconfirms what one believes in.
So if the concern is about finding the "real" facts about IIPM (and if they are different than what is given in their advts), there is actually no attempt (or at least, no report of such an effort) in that direction. It would be far more "real" thing to do (if one is staying in a city with IIPM campus), to actually go and talk to the students or faculty there, have a look at their infrastructure, get in touch with any of their alumni (a partial list is available at: http://www.iipm.info/placements.html) to find out if their education was worth it or not.... and share that on one's blog.
After all, one can't form an opinion about the worth of an institute and its education, based on just its hyper-ads, the behaviour of a few who may have vandalised Rashmi Bansal's blog, or had created those ridiculous "IIPM blogs" overnight...
...in any institute, one will find a few immature people of this kind.
When an issue of personal concern gets framed as a fight against someone (not against something), then one becomes vulnerable to casting oneself in the image of one's "adversary" (in this case, in the image of what one perceives as "wrong" with IIPM).
Two examples of why I find this as a real and possible danger in this unfolding of events:
- I read some suggestion in a blog about why not to "googlebomb" IIPM, (which actually will be an act very similar to those very objectionable comments in Rashmi's blog).
- I found this through a posting on Dilip D'Souza's blog: the use of Wikepedia to highlight the controversy.
While there is an apparently sincere attempt to keep this in-construction IIPM Wikepediia page objective and neutral - but the fact remains that the motive for constucting this page is a controversy, where the builders of the page have "stand"
...Somewhere, The Virtual needs to visit The Real - both either to verify or to disconfirm it, and to remain grounded in reality.