In early 2005, my daughter Sanjukta invited me to participate on Dissemination, a weblog created by her friends. I did so with some trepidation since I was unfamiliar with the electronic forum. Sharing my opinions freely with family, friends and perfect strangers on the other hand, is an old habit. Joining the discussions on Dissemination therefore came naturally to me although I had to temper my exuberance a bit because I was talking to a crowd, a majority of which was in my children's age group. The authors and contributors were a particularly bright lot and the experience was quite interesting. But in the middle of 2005, for reasons yet unknown to me, Dissemination died a gradual and graceful death. That left my blogging fingers itchy because by then I had become quite accustomed to reading and writing comments there. Ethan Leib, one of the main forces behind Dissemination, started blogging on the legal site, Prawfs Blawg and I followed his progress there. I also discovered several other blogs devoted to politics and cultural issues which impressed and interested me. But lacking authorship, I could not express my opinions there without the filter of the judgement of others. I have sent materials which I thought were worthy of publication to Ethan and Brian Leiter who kindly published some of them. It became increasingly clear that if I wanted to say everything that was on my mind, I should get my own soapbox in the crowded halls of the blogosphere. The three people who encouraged me to do so are Sanjukta, Ethan and Menesh Patel. I am also indebted to David Grosz, another Disseminator, who conferred on me my first blog-authorship (which contributed largely to my addiction) and to Anna Levine who taught me how to link to URL's within the text. But the biggest impetus to blogging arose from the unsettling state of the world that began with the 2000 US presidential election and continued with the string of natural and man-made disasters that have beset us since then.
I had considered several names for my weblog. "Periodic Table" was on the top of my list. This elegantly simple and sophisticated catalogue of chemistry is logical, progressive and prescient. It also packs a lot of information and correlating data within an easy to understand and concise format about all the known elements in nature. My aspirations for the blog were similarly lofty. My son Aditya, a chemist and a realist, pared down my ambitions when I discussed the matter of nomenclature with him. He said that he did not like the name which to some readers, may sound a bit pretentious. Heeding the cautionary words, I decided to change it to something simpler, whose promise may not be so hard to live up to and because in any case, I know that my blog is likely to include a lot of mindless blather. So I have chosen a name more suitable for the cirumstances in which I came to be acquainted with the blogosphere.
I cannot predict the fate of Accidental Blogger and the lasting power of my enthusiasm. Hopefully it will evolve with my ideas and the participation of its readers. I have some preliminary thoughts on what the character of the blog should be. It is to be an open forum for general discussions of matters which interest a lot of people - nothing too technical or esoteric. Some cerebral table talk of the sparkling variety. It will strive to be clever but not rude, humorous not obscene, sometimes solemn but rarely glum, often contentious and never rancorous. Except for an occasional political candidate or author, I don't intend to promote, sell or endorse any product or person. Interesting news of a personal nature can be shared by readers and the author. I hope to harness the considerable talent pool among friends, family and perhaps erstwhile Disseminators to elevate the level of discussion. I am not looking for a large readership, only a regular one. Although I am the sole author on this blog, this forum is not about me. I want to tell my side of some stories and want to hear yours.