Couch Talk and the Weird Pleasures of Writing Online
by Devanshu Mehta
I was re-listening to the Sambit Bal episode of Subash’s excellent Couch Talk podcast, where they have this exchange:
Subash– Another issue that has been raised–
Sambit– Raised by whom?
Subash– By a lot of fans on social media is that there are various articles that are published on the cricinfo with byline as ESPNcricinfo Staff.
Sambit Bal– I think it is a very small group of people raising the issue, very small among the millions of readers.
Subash– Let’s say there was one person who raised the issue. If it is a valid issue, it doesn’t matter how many people have raised it. Under that by-line, if it is strictly news story for 3 or 4 paragraphs, it is perfectly alright. But, there have been instances where opinion has slipped into these stories. How do you keep a track of these things?
In my fantasy, they are talking about me. I am that one person.
The Internet is a great place for cultivating an ego through inconsequential events. I’ve been mentioned twice before on Couch Talk in two separate episodes with Jarrod Kimber. Once indirectly for something I wrote and once directly for something I tweeted.
And while I criticize Cricinfo often, one of the high points of this blog’s short life was being mentioned on Cricinfo’s Surfer.
These mentions made me feel good. And then it made me feel a little dirty– why does it make me feel good to be mentioned by uber-bloggers for inconsequential things?
We live in an echo chamber. It may be a good idea to step outside once in a while.
Re-listening to a cricket podcast – even one as fine as Couch Talk – may be another reason for taking a step outside!
Cricinfo does have a strange benign monopolist’s role in the game. I was delighted to be on ‘surfer’ once, didn’t feel exactly dirty, but it felt like I was being thrown (gratefully received) crumbs from the feast.