Inside the Indian Blogosphere
The scope and reach of blogs has proved attractive for Indian
users. Blogs cut across mediums of conversation and with the use of podcasts
and video, these can reach even the illiterate and uneducated masses. By Faiz
is a strong sense of belonging as far as bloggers are concerned; anybody coming
from outside the blogging community faces rough weather before becoming an integral
part of the blogging community. Thats what makes bloggers a strong community.
Many bloggers come from a sound professional background.
The Web and the Internet provide enormous opportunities to publish material
in various media formats, right from text to audio and even video. Incidentally,
the Web, the ultimate destination for blogs, cuts across mediums of conversation.
Options such as podcasts and video blogging can help blogs reach even the technically
illiterate and uneducated masses of India.
It must be noted that India, which is populated by more than one billion people,
is one of the poorest countries as far as its presence on the Web and Internet
is concerned. This is the absolute antithesis of its impression of being an
IT leader of the world. India has less than a lakh Web sites and fewer in terms
of those created in local languages. Realizing the fact that the Web is a universal
medium of mass access for the global village, the poverty of the Indian-presence
on the Web is directly proportional to its economic development or vice-versa.
It wont be wrong to say that a better presence on the Web will directly
bring global attention to the Indian hinterland and its natural prowess.
Blogging in India is catching on fast. Although miniscule today, there is a
realisation that blogging can be a good source of bottom-up information that
we all need, which is something that alternative journalism has failed to provide
so far. Osama Manzar an expert on this domain comments that though things are
at a low level, this unconference platform is a innovative, technology
enabling all and sundry to meet in person to discuss, chat, and do just about
everything just not in the conventional way of organized top-down conferences.
There are about 40,000 Indian blogs, and they can be categorized mostly as personal
blogs, and at best theres the occasional collaborative blogs.
- Making your own communities and socialising
- Having a platform to air your opinions
- To develop a global perspective
- Income generation
- Facilitation of interaction
- Display of aesthetic skills
- Ease of creating content reduces barrier
to creating and hosting content
- Niche content that was not available earlier
is now online
- Blogging ethics/culture promote the Freedom
of Expression and spontaneity
- Quality authors are adopting blogging
Bindra adds, With Windows Live
Spaces bringing together bloggers and advertisers, bloggers have started
depending on the forum for their full time or part-time income.
Blogging can potentially become the biggest opportunity for our country to
showcase its unique strengths. Furthermore, blogging can well be integrated
into the Common Service Center (CSC) scheme of the Government of India as one
of the basic services for the Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) and for Service
Center Agents (SCAs) to use for giving outsiders a sneak preview of the activities
going on at the CSC level. Osama Manzar says, It wont be difficult
as most CSCs have a digital camera and other such equipment on hand. Posting
content on a blog wont be subjected to whether the VLEs have writing skills
or not. Podcasting and video-blogging can fill in the gap.
|Bindra says, Bloggers like to speak out. Indians
also like to write and when this happens in a convenient way, we really
take to it. There were some very interesting findings which were revealed
by the Asian Blogosphere Survey conducted by Windows Live. The Indian
specific figures came from the MSN & Windows study are:
- Indians mostly use blogs to learn about the subject they are passionate
about (50 percent), entertainment (49 percent), current news (42 percent)
- A good blog according to them should be updated regularly (26 percent)
and it should contain good pictures and graphics (22 percent)
- Blogs from business leaders (50 percent) and friends / family (43
percent) are the most interesting to most Indians
Some blogs do make money, and many have grown into
a portal or portlet. Blogging can be personal or corporate, it can be
collaborative, use multimedia to make a point... All these are equally
convincing and alluring.
Disaster blogging is another facet of this phenomenon
that came to the fore during the time of the Chennai tsunami, Mumbai flood/rains,
Mumbai blasts, and so on. Manzar says, In recent times, almost all
the major media houses such as NDTV, CNN-IBN and Business Standard, are
trying out blogging to tap stories and comments from citizens. CNN-IBN
has gone ahead and announced a citizen journalist award.
In Maheshwaris opinion, the factors driving
the usage of blogs in the west will drive blog activity in India as well.
The technology has reduced the cost of publishing.
Mishra says, A reasonably good blog can be hosted on the Net without
any cost towards setting up technology infrastructure. Apart from making
it easy to publish, technology is also making it easy to access blog related
content through specialised blog search engines.
The earliest form of blogging was primarily restricted to technology posts or
personal posts that were meant to be shared with a close network of people.
This has changed significantly over the past 12 months and blogging is on its
way to enter the media mainstream. Blogs are being created around various topics
including but not limited to personal, technology, business, current affairs
Gaurav Mishra, COO, Guruji.com highlights some critical aspects, Vernacular
language blog content is gaining prominence in India with Tamil, Hindi, Marathi
being some of the more widely used languages. Adoption of blogging by marketers
has also meant that there is some monetary incentive available for the top bloggers
to sustain their efforts.
On the whole, blogging is witnessing increased adoption on three frontscreation,
consumption and sponsorship.
Indias Blogosphere is at a nascent stage with only 14 percent of Indias
netizens actively blogging. Its surging forward, however, with nearly
40 percent of the online population being aware of the blogging phenomenon.
Bloggers in India are spending more time online with 87 percent spending up
to five hours per week reading blogs or updating their blog. The Indian blogosphere
is male dominated` (76 percent of bloggers are men). Indias blogosphere
is also fueled by young adults with 54 percent of bloggers aged between 25 and
|The future of blogging is bright in India and in
the near future, India is poised to turn out to be one of the worlds
best blogging communities. To validate this, experts believe that India,
which is populated by more than a billion people, is one of the poorest
countries as far as its presence on the Web and Internet is concerned. Realizing
the fact that the Web is a universal medium of mass access for the global
village, the poverty of Indian-presence on the Web is directly proportional
to its economic development. It wont be wrong to say that a bigger
and better presence online would directly bring global attention to the
Indian hinterland and its natural prowess. As a result the local economy
would get empowered. In other words, blogs can expose the true India and
its strength globally, and the global attention will bring the global economy
to our localized India, strengthening the masses.
Osama Manzar says, I feel blogging has a good future,
but may not immediately act in any major transformational role. One basic
reason is that ICT and its applications in the country are still evolving
and we are still experimenting. Otherwise, blogging has sufficient scope
in India. Owing to limitations of Print and Television in terms of space
and time for information dissemination, the opportunity to get maximum
bottom-up stories by the general public is limited in these two mediums;
whereas blogging through the Web and the Internet as a medium provide
enormous opportunity to publish unlimited material and in almost all formats
of communication - right from text, to audio, video, and in multimedia.
The interesting point of blogging is it can be part of
grassroots lives of villagers, local women, local folk musicians, local
artists, local skilled labourers, artisans, artists, village entrepreneurs,
who can be asked to share their assets and make them blog themselves using
podcast and video technologies and empower them the ICT way.
Jaspreet Bindra- Country HeadMSN India & Windows Live says, India
has seen an amazing surge in blogging in the past year. If 2006 was the year
of speaking outbe it through candlelight protest marches, student dharnas
against quotas, petitions against court judgments or just youth-de-basanti,
then 2007 will be the year of writing it out via blogs.
Blogging has given a platform for Indians to express their views. Ankit Maheshwari
CEO of InstaBlogs says, The Indian IT population and the increasing count
of Internet users in India has also given impetus to blogging. Since blogs provide
a platform for two-way communication unlike traditional media, Indians are shifting
||Indian search engines make it easier
to find Indian blog content
||Tag it and its easier for others
|Creating local language content
||A good way to make blogs a mass medium
The technology behind blogs
Blogging is a technological innovation on the Web with numerous variantsmulti-media
blogging, podcasting, video blogging, mobile blogging, and the like. Audio,
video, and digital photos are integral components of blogging.
The motor behind the expansion of the blogosphere is a move away from code towards
content. Maheshwari says, Traditional media includes a blackboard and
chalk or whiteboard, a filmstrip, slide projector, overhead projector, Print
media and of course TV but they all have one disadvantage and that is the time
required for feedback to be given. A beginner blogger doesnt need to be
a technology geek. There are many open source platforms and hosting sites that
do all the programming on their part and a blogger is put at ease while creating
a blog. So, a blogger just needs to be familiar with the basics such as hyperlinking,
uploading content, images etc. In other words, technology part of blogging
is for the sites that offer the platform not for the bloggers. So, its
too easy for anyone to start a new blog.
From technical standpoint, blogging also include all format of communication
- right from text, to audio and video. Most blogs are primarily textual although
some focus on photographs (photo-blog), sketch-blog, videos (v-log), or audio
As far as elaborating on the technological upbringing of Blogging, Mishra of
Guruji.com adds, Indian search engines make it easier to search content
from India-specific blogs.
Apart from the localised search capabilities, Mishra informed about additional
technological drivers of blogging in India. He says, Tagging of Indian
content as understood by Indians will help make blogs easier to search. E.g.
A Hindi movie post on a blog can be tagged as (Bollywood, Indian movies, Hindi
In addition to this, the ability to create content in local languages and then
make it searchable through vernacular search engines is a plus.