Prior to last weekend I hadn't even heard of Lakbima. As I live in London that may not surprise you, perhaps you folks that live in Sri Lanka were much more aware of it than I was.
However,this Sunday I'll be reading it online with interest, to see whether there's going to be any reference to the recent events, the bad mouthing, the threats of legal action, the alleged plagiarism and the lack of courtesy. I've even heard a rumour that this Rajpal chap is being blamed for roughly 79% of the energy wasted on Planet Earth.
You know what?
I think many have overreacted to the fiasco, but I understand why. Even though we all have blogs and they, by definition, are out in the public domain and available to all, we all feel protective and possessive over our little pieces of us that we chuck out into cyberspace.
We've made friends through our blogs, we've had arguments with people, we've learned things and had new experiences as a direct result of blogging. Some people look at blogs and bloggers with a bit of scorn, I prefer to take the view that there are all kinds who blog, including geeky twats.
So, even though some blogs get huge readerships and are freely accessible to all, I can understand why people get very angry if they feel that someone has used their blog for their own benefit without first asking permission. I can particularly understand this when the "victim" is a journalist or someone involved in communications, like Theena It would be like someone deciding to busk outside a venue where I was playing a gig.
I received a response from Mr Lakbima after I published my first post on the matter. We communicated via email on the issue for a while and I have been happy to give hiom the benefit of the doubt. I still feel that his actions were wrong, I have told him that but also accepted most of his reasoning. Many will disagree with my actions but that is their right.
For me blogging is something I do for some fun. The fact that someone liked something I had written enough to put it in a magazine is a genuine thrill, it would have been more thrilling if I had got the credit for it, or a link or something. The sure thing for me is that it's not about money, just a bit of kudos. I believe that, should I write anything that the paper wants to publish in the future, any mistakes that were made last week won't be repeated. I remain open minded on this, but I'm prepared to wait and see.
While pondering on the whole thing last night something did occur to me, something I'm surprised hasn't already been mentioned. This whole fiasco has been plastered all over the Sri Lankan blogosphere. From this eloquent and objective looking post on Groundviews to Cerno's posts to Voice in Colombo's well written post here everyone's at it. I've had, and continue to have, my say on it too.
Here's my pondering; if I was the owner / publisher of a new newspaper and I wanted to generate some hot publicity, to get a bit of a buzz going and to create some awareness of my new venture, what better way would there be?
Ask my editor to do something a bit risque. Engage most of the Sri Lankan bloggers, who between them all reach a fairly large readership, anger a few of them, get a few on side, create a huge load of awareness, all by doing something that merely pushes some boundaries without being strictly illegal.
Then, if I were really smart I'd print a big public apology in my next issue. I'd acknowledge my errors, I'd grovel and I'd do everything properly in the future.
And I'd have a load of potentially good writers to use and a load more readers and awareness.